How Owning a Dog can Help your Child’s Development
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Beneful for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
Have you considered owning your own dog and wondered how it could help your child? In our experience there have been so many positive results from having a dog, but this decision is certainly one that should be closely considered. Here are some benefits we have noticed from having a four legged pal in our home.
Teaches your child responsibility
If you decide to get a dog the first requirement may be that your children help shoulder some of the responsibility. Children will develop confidence and empathy when taking care of a dog because they will think of things like making sure the dog has water, food, and if the dog has been out to go to the bathroom.
Day to day tasks required to keep a dog happy and healthy can teach your child empathy as they look outside their own needs and think of another’s.
Successfully caring for a pet can also build confidence in your child as they learn that they can help tend to the well being of another living thing. We have included taking care of our dog as part of our children’s daily chores.
A friend of mine was just telling me the other day that cleaning up after the dog has become one of her sons favorite household chores. How did she manage this? She rewards him on the daily with a chocolate covered almond for picking up the poop. She laughed out loud as she told me because she said it was kind of like training a dog. He loves this chore so much and has such a sense of accomplishment from it that he asked for a new pooper scooper for his birthday!
Pets can comfort your child in a way that words never can. It has been proven that pets can lower blood pressure, reduce stress levels, lower recovery times, and actually lengthen ones life.
On numerous occasions our dog has been able to lend comfort and a listening ear for each of our children when it seemed like no one in the world could understand.
Helps develop physical skills
Your child can develop fine and large motor skills as they scoop food to fill up the bowl, pour water into a bowl, or take the dog for a walk.
“Pets provide an impetus for running and practicing motor skills,” says Sheryl Dickstein, Ph.D., Director of Humane Education for the ASPCA.
Of course you can adjust the level of physical exercise and need with the breed of dog as well as the age appropriateness for the child.
Helps children get outside
Kids with dogs will spend more time outside as they walk the dog and take time to play with their dog. If you decide to get a puppy or young dog you will find that the dog is much happier and destroys your things a lot less in the process! My kids are so much happier when they get outside and having a dog can make it that much easier to do!
With technology as a ready distraction is seems we are always in need of another excuse to get the kids outside. I love that the new Pokemon go app is actually getting more kids outside and one of the best results I’ve heard from it is people actually volunteering at local animal shelters to take dogs for walks as they go.
You’ve got to think that’s resulting in positive feelings for everyone involved!
Beneful has just launched its 2016 Beneful Dream Dog Park Project to help support healthy lives for both pets and their owners. Since 2000 they have created and maintained multiple parks all over the United States and are continuing to create more. You can support their cause by donating to their go fund me page here.
I love this project because there are cities all over the country that may not have a place for their owners to create fun, special memories with their pal where they can really stretch their legs and make some noise! Some of our happiest memories have been created while taking our dog Poppy to our local dog park, on a boat to the lake, on a hike or out sledding with us. He is always willing to go on an adventure with us.
Breaks down social barriers
Whether your child is extroverted or introverted an animal can help break down social walls and bring people together. Have an introverted child? She may come to life when others ask to pet the dog or hear more about their animal. Have an extroverted child? You may find that she can find new ways of bringing people together when taking her dog for a walk. Of course either scenario is best when an adult is close at hand to assist in new relationships and interactions.
Creates healthy relationships with animals
Children that are around animals in their home will create a better understanding for ways animals should be treated as well as gaining confidence in being around other animals.
I’ve come across multiple children who have had a great fear for dogs simply because they don’t understand them and worry about being around them. Having a pet in the home opens up conversations a out proper treatment and respect of animals and their space.
Pets simple bring happiness to the home. Interaction with animals has been proven to raise levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are the chemical building blocks of positive feelings. We have loved having our dog of ten years in the home and love to play fetch, hide and seek, and chase through the halls of our home. He makes a great snuggle buddy and is always stands guard when a new baby is welcomed into our home.
Poppy has just turned 10 and I cannot imagine our lives without him. We have created so many memories together and I joke that having him as “my first baby” gave me the confidence to be a mother because I was able to be a mother to him first and keep him alive and happy!
Unfortunately he is getting older and I know we will inevitably be saying goodbye to him sooner than later. This will afford me another invaluable parenting moment as I can discuss life and death with my children on a lighter scale when understanding the cycle of life. As a child losing a beloved pet was my first introduction to the lesson of loss and I am so thankful that I was able to learn those steps of love and grief as a child.
But for now we will enjoy this crazy little puppy of ours and we just love him dearly! He is our number one companion and gives us so much love unconditionally!
If you would like to support Benefuls effort to create more dog parks for our sweet pets please donate here.
Enter for your chance to win your own Beneful Dream Dog Park ‘dog park pack’ by telling us about your furry friend in the comments. You might also like:
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