1- He didn’t want to go through the sad moment when your pet gets too old and passes away. He was constantly telling us the story of when he was little and had a German Shepperd named Leo.
He was telling us stories of Leo “stealing” a sandwich from his hands. He loved Leo but eventually, Leo got old and passed away. That, I suppose, had upset my father a lot.
2- He was realistic about us (kids). He knew that once the initial excitement of having a dog was faded, all the owner’s responsibilities would have been dropped on my parents.
He wasn’t wrong because, at some point, my brother brought home an orphan stray puppy claiming that he would look after her. My parents, of course, were not happy about it but eventually welcomed the puppy into the family. As you can imagine, my father’s prediction was right. My brother brought the puppy home and all the responsibility of having a dog dropped on my parents.
Always remember, when kids say they want a dog they mean: “We want a puppy to play with (until we lose interest), we would like to cuddle with him or her and… That’s it!”
If you get a puppy, remember you are not getting a dog for the kids but a dog for the family.
Maybe your kids are an exception to the rule and they may look after the dog properly. Still, for modern days kids, if they are not mature enough, spending time with a dog more or less means having the dog next to them while they are glued to their tablets or smartphones. It’s a sad reality many of us have noticed.
If those are like your kid, remember that you will be the one that walks, feeds and looks after the dog. As long as you are ok with it your nerves are safe.
It is not my intention to be harsh on kids. But, until they reach the age where they can understand that a dog is not a toy, everyone including the dog is better off without this experience.
A dog is a dependable being that demands time and dedication.
The dog does not belong to a person in particular but to the whole family. This means that everyone must be on the same page about the rules set for the dog and everyone must be happy with the idea of having it in the house.
Also, consider your kid’s age. It happens to be a case that major dog attack victims are children below 5 years old. This is not because dogs enjoy preying on kids but because parents leave kids unattended around their pets. Kids of this age tend to behave in all the wrong ways possible around dogs. They tend to grab and pull the dog, try to ride it or hug it, I even saw toddlers slapping dogs. And a classic: kids trying to get the dog’s bowl of food while the dog is eating. The last two cases of dogs attacking children in Italy that I have heard of have happened because of the last example. The kid who was left unsupervised grabbed the dog’s food.
All these videos of funny dogs and babies are not that funny if you can recognize all the signals of distress given by dogs while parents are laughing.
Sure, many dogs are very tolerant of this type of disrespect and would never dare to lash at family members. But, keep in mind that certain behaviours are disrespectful of the dog’s ethics.
The dog may be giving clear signals of distress such as yawning and chops-licking and signals of avoidance such as looking and walking away. If you “push” the dog in this situation, remember that you are “playing with fire”.
In conclusion, it is possible to combine kids and dogs as long as they are both equipped to be around each other. A family dog is called like that because it’s a family affair, not an individual business. Never ever live small children unattended with the dog and give your dog a break if he or she displays signs of distress.
Yet, if all the family is engaged in the dog, your pet could be the first form of responsibility for a kid.
If you are familiar with these situations, please, feel free to leave a comment below. Your personal experience may be useful to others.
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Also, if you like the topic of dogs, please check my book ‘Before You Get a Dog’ by Simone Burani. You will find the essential knowledge written in simple language to have a great time with your pet.