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Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
06-28-2013, 06:53 PM, (This post was last modified: 06-28-2013, 06:56 PM by Rube.)
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Rube Offline
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Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
Young children often beg their parents for a dog, without understanding how much care and attention is needed.

I heard recently from a parent of a little girl who keeps asking for a dog. Both parents are out at work all day, and they live in an apartment with no outdoor access.

There is no way, in their present circumstances, that this family can own a dog. They might consider asking an elderly dog owner if the little girl could assist with walking and looking after the dog.

Another idea was to take the girl to a dog shelter, where she could watch the work of the volunteers, and she would begin to understand some of the regular needs of a pet dog.

How would you deal with a similar situation?
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07-01-2013, 12:57 AM, (This post was last modified: 07-01-2013, 12:59 AM by cliverederson.)
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
Well, I would say that still isn't necessarily true that there is "no way that this family can own a dog". At the time when I first wanted to get a dog, I lived in an apartment, worked 8+ hours a day, and didn't really have anywhere to take a dog to go to the bathroom. I lived in a bad part of town at the time, I wouldn't have wanted to walk my dog too far anyway. So I researched what my options were, I found chihuahuas could be pad trained and not need to be taken outside and they're small and don't need much exercise per day. They can be fed by leaving kibble out and they nibble along as they're hungry. Also, they don't shed much which was a nice plus. Granted, I would still drive her to the park or a grassy area to run around somewhat often, but I do think there are options for your situation. A small dog could run and play fetch a little around the apartment, I did that daily, and her pad training allowed her to use the bathroom whenever she needed to while I was at work for long hours. Sure, it's not as fantastic as a dog getting to run around in a yard whenever it wants, which luckily I can provide for my dog now, but I think it's a darn sight better than being in a cage in a shelter. But that being said, if the family feels a dog can't work for their situation, it shouldn't be forced either and end up with the dog being neglected or back in a shelter.
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07-03-2013, 12:28 AM,
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Rube Offline
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
(07-01-2013, 12:57 AM)cliverederson Wrote: I found chihuahuas could be pad trained
Is pad training the same as training a cat to use a litter box? I'm not quite sure what a 'pad' is, but I can believe that a chihuahua can be left in a small apartment if it has some way of relieving itself.

Some dogs fret and pine when left alone for long hours. However much the owner loves it, an animal can feel unhappy when it is isolated. Maybe keeping two chihuahuas would be a better option.
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07-11-2013, 02:22 PM,
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
(07-03-2013, 12:28 AM)Rube Wrote: Is pad training the same as training a cat to use a litter box? I'm not quite sure what a 'pad' is, but I can believe that a chihuahua can be left in a small apartment if it has some way of relieving itself.

The pee pads are like 2ft x 2ft big and they're basically just a flat thing off cotton and a plastic-y bottom, kind of like the consistency of like a plastic bag, but a little more heavy duty than that. I generally do a mixture of letting mine go outside to potty when I can, but also she'll sneak off and take tiny little pees throughout the day, I think she's just very used to peeing whenever she wants at this point. I have lived in an apartment with a roommate with a larger male chihuahua, and we went through pee pads way faster, also males life their legs to pee so it's harder to keep them on the pad. We used to make an area of 4 pee pads when we had our 2 dogs together, I wasn't a big fan of it honestly. With mine, a pad lasts about 1-2 days only, but I've noticed she's very good about not stepping in her own pee spots, so that helps them last a little longer. They don't always hit the pad perfectly, so I actually made a little cardboard box with like a 3 inch edge she can jump into it, so she stays more centered on the pad, if that makes sense. Then I lined the bottom of it with a garbage bag just in case too. I did this because I have my pee pad in a carpeted room and I don't want to risk her peeing too close to the edge and getting it on the carpet. Hope that helps! Feel free to ask any more questions you have!
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07-11-2013, 03:05 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-11-2013, 03:06 PM by haopee.)
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
Paper training is great, but nothing is better than taking them outdoors and allowing them to do their business outside. Paper training is definitely advisable to those who live in an apartment and are unable to come home early. However, this does not mean that they are not to take the dog outside because dogs still need their exercise and walks.

Back to the question, I think it's fine for children to have responsibilities. But if the parents aren't able to supervise them and they're very young, it's rather not advisable for them to give their child a puppy.

A good test for children in order to determine whether they are prepared to take care of a pup is to give them a book to read or have them do some research on how to raise a puppy. Once they know enough, ask them to make a guide book (or notebook) on the important points to raise their dog for the next 3 months.

Also, it will help a lot if you could find them a neighbor's dog they could help walk. This will show them part of the everyday routine of a dog owner. After all, it's a lot easier to show them why they can't have one now than to explain it to them.
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07-12-2013, 05:11 AM,
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nafretiti Offline
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
Having a dog is a big responsibility, often the children will be good at taking care of them at first but then eventually get lazy and don't want to do it anymore. They need to learn that it isn't a part time job and they will more then likely have that dog up to 15 years, it's possible. Anyways I would have them maybe volunteer at the shelter or have them dog sit for their neighbor or something to give them that experience. Books and movies are also good in helping them understand how much work it is to take care of animals, let alone why it isn't good to have one in an apartment. I know some people do have them in Apartments but not everyone can have them there, I did at one time and well it wasn't pretty I owe like $800.00 for my dog messing up the carpet which I'm upset about but will live. Have the child learn that they also need to probably potty train, and do some actual dog training like commands of sit ,stay. etc.
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07-12-2013, 01:07 PM,
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
I actually don't really suggest a chihuahua for a home with young children. They can tend to be really nervous animals, and I imagine being around children could be nerve wracking for them. It's true that they can be trained to go on a pad, but they are a more difficult breed to train than people sometimes assume. A lot of them will pee when they get either excited or scared even if they are paper trained. There are a huge number of chihuahuas in the shelter system in California because everyone thought they were a cute animal to stick in your purse, but didn't consider that they might pee there.

I think they should talk to the children and explain why they aren't currently allowed to have a dog. I also think the idea of having the parent help the child walk a neighbor or friends dog is a good idea. I know that the shelter in San Francisco has a youth program so you could probably check there. I live in San Francisco and I regularly bring the kids to the SPCA and they are usually willing to let them pet a dog or two if they aren't too busy.
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07-21-2013, 09:12 AM,
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cliverederson Offline
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
(07-12-2013, 01:07 PM)Jezebella Wrote: I actually don't really suggest a chihuahua for a home with young children. They can tend to be really nervous animals, and I imagine being around children could be nerve wracking for them.

Yeah, that's probably a good point. Mine is really friendly and I tend to forget that isn't exactly the norm for chihuahuas. I wasn't necessarily recommending a chi specifically though, I'm sure there are some other smaller breeds that can be pad trained as well, although I'm not too knowledgable offhand. I think it could be possible to get a smaller breed and use pee pads, and even play with them indoors. If the alternative for the dog is being in a cage at a shelter, I still think that's way better.

And Haopee, I agree about them going outside being ideal. I try to take mine out to potty and just walk around the yard or play fetch etc often, but I like the pee pad as sort of a supplement, like if it's pouring rain for example. Chis don't need that much exercise which is why they're good apartment dogs, but I try to make sure mine stays stimulated.
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07-23-2013, 02:10 PM,
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
Unless the parents want to care for a dog, it is probably a better idea not to get one for that young of a child. If she is very young, she won't be able to do all the necessary cleaning and changing of pads, and feeding that will have to be done; and after a few weeks of having a dog, a child usually gets tired of taking care of them, anyway. And if she gets a puppy, then it needs to be house trained as well.

I would try getting her something like a hamster, and see how she does at taking care of that first. That way, she can learn responsibility for having a pet, and it would be something that CAN live in an apartment, and also one that a child can care for, and play with. Hamsters are intelligent little creatures, and make great pets, and maybe it would be all she needs to satisfy that longing for a pet of her very own.
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07-24-2013, 11:05 AM,
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mscuban Offline
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
(07-01-2013, 12:57 AM)cliverederson Wrote: But that being said, if the family feels a dog can't work for their situation, it shouldn't be forced either and end up with the dog being neglected or back in a shelter.

You hit it right on the nail. Parents should not give in to giving children a dog or cat just to make them happy. If the pet ends up being neglected, the worst thing you can do is end up making your child suddenly understand why Bobo has to go back. Your child will cry and the pet suddenly has to relearn to adapt to a new family.
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08-06-2013, 01:46 AM,
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
Usually children are just carried away by their emotions when wanting their own dog. I have to agree that at first they will show how much they love taking care of it. As time passes by, they eventually get lazy, especially when cleaning the dog's poop. Then they begin to hate it when it starts eating their homework. I know because we had to return one dog they insisted on having back to the original owner. It was their uncle who gave it to them.
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08-10-2013, 01:02 AM,
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
I have the same problem right now because my son wants a second dog. We have a noisy dachshund who we love very much and my son has asked if we could get a companion for him. I made a promise that as soon as a second dog can be accommodated we will go out and get one. We can't get a second dog now because it would be a riot but because my son wants ne, we are moving into one of the houses that we are renting out so we can accommodate a second dog.
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09-07-2013, 12:26 AM,
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
There may be some no-kill shelters in the area that may let her help out with some of the daily duties. It kind of depends on her age though, they may just let her hang out there if she wants. It's a great idea for people who can't keep a dog at their own place, because you can get to know the animals, but you also know they are being cared for when you can't be around.

I volunteer from time to time at a local cat shelter that frequently has kids there to hang out and play with the cats.
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09-24-2013, 02:35 AM, (This post was last modified: 09-24-2013, 02:37 AM by glitteringfuzz.)
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
This sounds like a predicament I was in as a child. Smile I just did not understand why my parents could not buy me a dog! I just knew I could take care of one all by myself! (RIGHT.) Kids know everything and can do everything, right? Oh, to be a kid again!

I think taking your kid to an animal shelter and letting them see the responsibility that goes into taking care of an animal is a great idea. And if they just need a cuddle fix, I know around here you can go into pet shops and ask to play with one of the puppies. This is good because the puppies get attention and your kid gets to satisfy that need to snuggle. No purchase required! Hopefully there is a place like that close by. You just have to worry about the battle and begging at the end of the trip, but you could always bribe by saying, "stop asking if you can have a puppy and I'll bring you here again next weekend!"
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10-25-2013, 01:14 AM,
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
It is always a complicated situation when it comes to explaining young children why they can't have something they want, no matter what it is. In my case, I live in an appartment and I still have a dog, though I have enough time to walk it in the morning and night so he could do his needs elsewhere than inside the house. In my opinion, animals are very important for children development and all that, though not always possible. I didn't have a dog when I was young, even though I always wanted one. About taking care of it, it shouldn't be the children to do most of it, as they are probably not mature enough to take care of a dog, other than giving him affection and going with their parents to walk him, but if the adults cannot take care of the dog, then it's all about explaining that dogs need especial care that they can't give at the moment.
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12-16-2013, 06:30 AM,
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RE: Explaining to Children Why They Cannot Have a Dog
You have to really be certain that your family is not ready for a dog before you tell your children that the time is not right and that they can not have a dog. If you just do not like dogs then okay there is nothing you can do about that but if that is not the case and you are worrying about walking, feeding and possible vet care the dog may need then you have to be honest with yourself about if you are ready for it or not because it is a big responsibility.
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