Year after year, children everywhere get excited about the birth of Jesus. Many homes celebrate by holding a birthday party for Him and give gifts in the spirit of what they would bless Him with if they were standing in His tangible presence.
While children don’t quite completely comprehend the entire reason for the season, they do understand the giving and receiving of gifts. One that is most commonly asked for is a puppy. While it is easy to gift people, especially children, with dog merchandise such as dog teddy bears or dog shirts, the idea of gifting them with an actual real life pet pup is more daunting to think about.
While most parents are aware the addition of a pet will more than likely be their responsibility, it is debatable whether or not they understand all that responsibility entails. Below are some pros and cons of allowing junior to have a dog.
Pro: Stress Reliever
The world of a child can be as stressful, if not more so, than ours. From the time they wake up until the time they go to bed, they are faced with instances of intense problem solving, what probably seems to them as constant disappointment (Mom and Dad say no an awful lot,) and daily social battles. This can leave your little one feeling unimportant and downright exhausted. Dogs tend to be very selfless.
They will always be happy to see your child and will provide hours of entertainment. Dogs are the perfect living journal for any teenager, as well. Having a puppy sit down with your child, or you for that matter, and watch a movie while he/she pets him will not only give them a sense of purpose but will keep their blood pressure low. It will also help to release endorphins which happen to be your body’s natural happy hormones.
Con: Training Required
Here’s where most parents opt out. If you are considering buying a dog for your child, depending on the age of your child, you will probably be doing most of the training. It’s important to know what exactly you’re getting yourself into. Say for example you adopt an australian Labradoodle into your family, how exactly do you plan to train them? Puppies teethe and, in the process, they are likely to get a hold of your favorite shoes, your hat, furniture, pillows, and whatever else they can sink their teeth into.
If you don’t require the patience to cater to the youth of a dog, owning one is not a good idea. The worst of it will be the potty training. Dogs are animals. Using the restroom is as natural to them as it is to you and me, but unless your dog is best friends with Sam, from the movie Bruce Almighty, they don’t require the ability to use the facilities like we do.
This will lead to multiple accidents. Your carpet will get stained. Your house may not smell the best for a while. Four to six months is the average time it takes to completely house-train a dog.
Another benefit of adding a dog to the dynamic of your family is that they offer great protection. Even if they are a smaller breed, they make great alarm systems. For a child who is constantly bullied, a dog can offer back up when opposition presents itself in the form of a snot nosed pest. This can bring a sense of confidence your child was not familiar with before.
A dog also makes a great security force in the unfortunate event of a break in to your home. They can serve as great smoke alarms, as well. Their over developed sense of smell can give you added minutes to escape a potentially fatal house fire.
Another great factor that aids in protecting your child is the fact that dogs seem to have a very keen sense of character when meeting new people. If a stranger, or someone you may even know very well, are carrying an invisible sign that says danger, your dog is very liable to see it and alert you to the threat.
Con: Added Cost
In general, no pet is cheap, but dogs can and will put a small dent in your finances. They have to have the necessities of dog food, vaccinations, grooming, and protection against fleas and ticks. Dogs need their own shampoo, toys, puppy pads, and place to sleep.
In some communities, it is the law that all dogs must be kept on a leash when outside the home. Then, there are things like treats, crates, doggy clothes, having them spayed or neutered, and having to make lodging arrangements for your dog when you are away.
The latter are optional, in most cases, but usually utilized by most dog owners. There will also be unscheduled trips to the vet and possible repairs to your home and furniture, as well. All in all, the first year of owning a dog can cost you over $1,000.
Getting a puppy for your child can be a great investment all the way around. Just make sure that you and your family are aware of and ready to put in the time and money it will take to make the transition from puppy to member of the family.