• Pets and kids go together like peanut butter & jelly; they are great playmates, guardians, and confidants. But, children must learn proper handling and discipline, and pets must learn self- control so that they do not play too rough.

• Children must be supervised and taught that dogs are beings, not dolls or toys to dress-up or handled constantly. Teach children not to tease or rile up the pet unnecessarily. This includes chasing around the house, which can scare a pet, who may snap or try to scratch if cornered or frightened.

• Make sure your children know that it is not the pet’s fault if a dog chews up toys that are left out. Keeping doors shut & toys in toy boxes can help minimize damage. Make sure the pet have their own toys, and keep them in the same place all the time (like in a basket, or in the dog’s crate.)

• Children like the idea of caring for a pet, but the daily work of feeding, bathing, brushing, and cleaning up after the pet is not really suited for them.

• Recognize that the initial enthusiasm will wane quickly, and the true responsibility of caring for the pet will fall to the adults in the household. Young children should not walk foster dogs, as, even if the dog is easy to walk, the child cannot really handle any encounters with other dogs or cats that are bound to happen.

• Children should not play unsupervised with foster pets. For smaller pets, teach proper handling (pick up by the body, not the limbs), and limit interaction.

• Children need to be taught that a puppy’s mouthing is not biting, and that the puppy is not trying to hurt them. Perhaps most importantly, children must learn to properly discipline the foster dog/puppy (a sharp “no” or squirt with a water bottle). Children may think that squirting the pet is fun, and need to learn to only use it sparingly. Children often react to a dog’s bad behavior by hitting or trying to kick the pet, which is unacceptable.

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