Dogs and children: the benefits

You might worry that having both a dog and a little rugrat is a bad idea. Yes it’s going to be double the work and it’s going to add a fair amount to your monthly outgoings, but there are heaps of positives too.

Not only are there some extra cute Insta stories to be gained from having a tot and a pooch together, it’s actually really beneficial for your child’s development.

We’ve summarised below some of the many positives, and provided a list of the top child-friendly dog breeds.

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Responsibility

Enlisting your child’s help to take care of your dog is a great way of teaching them how to be responsible. Taking them out for walks together come rain or shine, getting up early to feed them and cleaning up their mess teaches children about responsibility and instills the importance of routine.

It’s also a good way of teaching your tot that they’re not actually the centre of the universe; there are other members of the family who need to be loved and looked after too!


Respect

Dogs are pack animals so they enjoy being surrounded by family, but just like us they have their boundaries and they do need space. Children with a pet quickly learn when to play and when to be gentle; a skill that they can easily translate to other social situations like school, or with their siblings.


Social skills

The bond between children and their family pet is often one of the strongest around; check out these harassed hounds who would do anything for their kiddie companions. Having a pup helps children understand the value of both making and maintaining true friendships.

Moreover, having a dog will improve your child’s social skills through the interaction they have with both the pooch, and other dogs and their owners when out and about. Having a furry friend can improve confidence in shy children, acting as an icebreaker in social situations.


Confidence

Unless their owner is assertive, most dogs just won’t listen. Teaching your child to use simple commands such as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’ will massively improve their confidence, while teaching them respect at the same time.


Safety

A dog can make a child feel safe. They can check under the bed for monsters and will bark at intruders; it’s in their nature to protect their owners.

By having a dog at home your child will learn how to be safe around dogs, and through regular visits to the dog park they’ll learn how to be safe around other dogs. The RSPCA has loads of helpful tips and videos on child/dog safety – check them out here.

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Health

Not only can cuddling a pet reduce stress, loneliness and anxiety, but kids with dogs get out for more walks, runs and physical play time.  Plus, all that rough and tumble outside does wonders for their immune system.


What are the best child-friendly dog breeds?

According to Pet MD, there are 3 key things you need to look out for when considering buying or adopting a family dog; an agreeable temperament, an appropriate size in relation to your children’s age and whether their energy level fits with your family’s routines.

Our friends at Good Housekeeping have created a list of the top 20 child-friendly dog breeds (beware: cute picture overload).

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