We all want to give our children the best childhood we can.

Growing up with a pet can be one of the most wonderful experiences. It can teach responsibility and compassion. We want our children to share great memories of hanging out with the family dog, playing fetch in the backyard, trips to the cottage, swimming in the lake and bedtime snuggles.

 Your child will promise to walk, feed, brush and train the puppy and will never ask you for anything else – ever!

The reality is, as the adult in the family, it is your responsibility to raise this puppy. The bulk of training and care falls solely on your shoulders.

Your  6, 8 or 10 year old cannot and should not be the sole provider of walking, feeding, bathing, training, etc. It is an unrealistic expectation and sets both parties up for failure. Yet, I come across this on a fairly regular basis.

 Depending on age, there are many different things your child can and should do. It’s important to keep your expectations of both the puppy and child in mind.  There are some great resources available directed at bringing a new puppy into a home with children. (www.livingwithkidsanddogs.com)

 I see many 8-12 year olds walking dogs; neither one is happy. Walking is a job to be done under the supervision of a parent so the child learns not to drag the puppy and the puppy learns to walk politely.When expectations are set too high, everyone suffers. The pup gets frustrated as do the child and parent.

 If you truly want your kids to have the wonderful experience of growing up with a dog, accept that you will be the primary caregiver. Teach your children how to participate in age appropriate care so nobody loses out.