Res-Pet! Teaching Kids Respect For Your Pet

It may not be something that crosses your mind right away, but treating your pet with more than the adequate amount of respect is something that is worth teaching your children when they are young. It's astonishing to see how many people treat their pets with a below-average amount of respect. And while it may sound like common sense, the amount of abuse that animals suffer is, unfortunately, very widespread. It's important to teach your kids respect for everyone, but here's how you can teach them respect for your beloved pet.

Get your children involved in the pet's care.   For every pet in the home, whether it is a dog or a cat or a parakeet, the fundamentals are all the same. It's important to have your children involved with the care of your pets on every level, from the health and hygiene aspects to picking the right leashes, as well as the social interactions. This includes establishing boundaries and giving the pet commands, which is vital with a dog so that the animal respects your child similarly. While it can be a very difficult thing for your child to start commanding orders at the pet, there are things that can help with this process such as whistles, online learning tools and things like bark collars.  Respect goes both ways, and it's important for your child to be involved in the care of the pet on a personal level.

Teach physical respect.  This is important to teach young kids as soon as possible that the family pet is not a play thing in the conventional sense. There are plenty of videos online that show children sleeping on top of dogs or climbing over them and generally mistreating them. Dogs are very patient animals but one unfortunate play hit could push the dog over the edge and could result in a serious injury to the child. This is something that you, as the parent should communicate, and just like young children would not hit or play with people in this respect, they need to apply the same attitudes towards the dog or the family pets. The best approach is to look at what the child is doing and if there are common themes, for example, pulling their hair then try to replace this with a gentle stroke.

Discuss showing lots of affection. This is a different thing when it comes to animals as children will repeat what is being done to them so if you kiss your child a lot or tickle them, for example, then they will repeat this but to the animal. However, this can lead to issues with specific animals because they do not like to be kissed on the face, and this could also result in the dog biting the child. For instance, replace this with stroking or petting and explain how the dog likes to receive affection.

Much like we try to establish boundaries with our children, the same needs to be done with the family pet. The relationship with your dog or family pet is something that can teach your child a lot about respect.

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