Many parents wonder if their 10-year-old is old enough to take care of a dog.
The answer is yes – as long as the child is responsible and has been taught how to properly take care of a dog. Responsibility is key when it comes to owning a pet, and it’s important that both the child and the parent are on the same page when it comes to taking care of the dog.
There are many ways to help teach your child responsibility when it comes to caring for a dog, and we will discuss some of them in this blog post.
How to Know if your 10-Year-old is ready for a dog
You will know your 10-year-old is ready for a dog if they have been asking for one consistently for at least six months and are willing to help with the care of the animal.
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If your child can display responsibility in other aspects of their lives such as
- keeping their room clean
- keeping up with their homework
- quickly responding to other tasks asked of them
- listening to and following instructions
- being observant of other feelings and body language
If they can do many of these things then they are likely ready to take on a lot of the responsibility that comes with dog ownership.
For example, my 10-year-old daughter has learned to do her laundry completely on her own from washing to drying to folding and putting it away. Whereas my 13-year-old daughter still struggles to do this consistently.
Because of this, I know that my 10-year-old may be a bit more mature and ready to handle the care of a dog or puppy more than my older daughter.
Note: Each child is different as well as each dog so the amount of responsibility given to the child to care for the dog should be dependent upon the maturity of the child as well as the behavior of the dog. Even adults need help with training a dog so don’t expect a 10-year-old to be able to do it all on their own.
Steps to take before bringing a dog or puppy home for your child
Before bringing home a dog, sit down with your child and explain what owning a pet entails. Make sure they understand that they will need to walk the dog, feed it and give it water every day.
Your child can learn more about dogs by
1. Going to the library and checking out books about dogs
2. Researching online: YouTube videos by Zack George are some of my favorites
3. Asking people you know who have dogs
4. Take an online class just for kids like the one I personally teach that is a comprehensive 5-day puppy/dog care BootCamp!
Make sure you set rules and guidelines for taking care of the dog and stick to them! Reward your child for following through with their responsibilities when it comes to taking care of the dog
Before getting your child a dog, you should also consider how much time you have to care for the animal. A puppy requires more time and attention than an adult dog.
You should also think about whether or not you are willing to invest in obedience training. Dogs that have been properly trained are easier to care for and less likely to exhibit problem behaviors.
What Dog Should a 10-Year-old Get?
When it comes to choosing the best dog for a child, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The best way to find the right dog for your family is to do some research and visit a local animal shelter.
Adopting a dog from a shelter is not only cheaper than buying one from a breeder, but it also gives you the opportunity to learn about the animal’s temperament and personality before taking him home.
How to help your 10-year-old take care of a dog
If you have decided that getting a dog is the right decision for your family, congratulations! You are about to embark on a wonderful journey. Just remember to take things slowly at first and be patient as your child learns how to care for their new furry friend.
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to teach your child responsibility. This will not only benefit them in taking care of a dog, but in every other area of their life as well. When it comes to taking care of a dog, there are some key things that your child need to be ready to do.
Your Child can help with these things and eventually with practice do them on their own.
- feeding the dog
- walking the dog
- brushing the dog
- bathing the dog
- help with training
- teach it tricks
- learn about proper care and nutrition
Just make sure you set rules and guidelines for taking care of the dog and stick to them! Reward your child for following through with their responsibilities when it comes to taking care of the dog. This will help them to learn that taking care of a dog is a big responsibility, but one that can be very rewarding.
Note: Have patience – it may take some time for your child to learn how to properly take care of a dog, but they will get there! In the meantime, enjoy spending time working alongside your child to reach this goal together!
It’s important to set realistic expectations and to work in incremental steps so that your child doesn’t get overwhelmed and want to quit or give up. Even if they have wanted a dog for a very long time it can still be a big responsibility to take on and it can take time to get used to the change.
Ways to help your 10-year-old be successful taking care of a dog
- Let them know that they need to take their dog for a walk at least once a day, or more if possible
Not only is exercise important for a dog, a walk can help your child have a regular time to bond with and connect with their new pet.
- If you have a backyard, allow your child to play with the dog in there. There are many fun games that your child can learn to play with their new pet that will not only help to train their dog but can also help them build a friendship.
- Encourage your child to be gentle with the dog and to respect its personal space. Learning how to read their dog’s body language and respond appropriately is a huge thing for a kid to understand. This will give them practice for all the relationships they will have in their lives human and K-9!
- Create a schedule for taking care of the dog so that your child knows when it is their turn. Working together to take care of the dog at first then gradually giving more of the responsibility to your child as they bond with their pet can help it be a successful endeavor for you both!
- Set rules for taking care of the dog and make sure that they are followed. These rules should be very well communicated even written out and known before bringing a dog home. There should be consequences a dog is a big commitment and it should not be neglected.
- Make sure that you praise your child when they are doing a good job taking care of the dog. Noticing and commenting on your child’s attempts to care for their dog whether it be a success or a failure will help them see that you have faith in their abilities to learn to care for their pet.
Problems you may run into when you get a dog for your child.
10-years old is still pretty young for a child to take on all the responsibilities of a dog or puppy, but it is a great time to start learning and a prime time for a kid to bond with a dog. By the time your child is 12 or 13 they should be able to take on most of the care of your dog.
- Your child may not be able to handle all of the responsibilities that come with taking care of a dog, especially at first.
- You may need to help your child out or take on some of the responsibility yourself
- If you have a new puppy it can be difficult to make it through the nipping and teething stage. You and your child can help your puppy to stop nipping at your child by:
- Give your puppy plenty of appropriate things to chew on.
- Make sure your puppy doesn’t see your hands or feet as a toy.
- Redirect puppy nipping to appropriate things
- Take my online class to get more tips and tricks and personalized help.
Have patience! It may take some time for your child to learn how to properly take care of a dog, but they will get there! Thanks for reading and we hope this blog post was helpful.
While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.