It’s important to teach children to respect animals because the ideal scene of a child playing and bonding with their pet doesn’t always go as planned, especially with children under 3 years old who can be more rough and might pull their tail or accidentally drop them.
Some children naturally relate to animals with kindness and affection, while others need to empathize with animals and understand that they are living beings with needs and feelings. They must comprehend that animals are not toys. Here are the keys to creating that empathy and instilling respect for animals in our children.
Set an Example: Show Respect for Animals
First and foremost, we must behave the way we want our children to behave. They need to see that their parents treat their pets with respect, kindness, and affection. Children learn by imitating the behaviors they observe at home. Subconsciously, they think, “This is how you treat a pet” when they see us interact with animals. Therefore, show them how you treat the puppy, let them observe your interactions with the dog, during baths, when giving treats, allow them to participate and watch how you pet and show affection to the animal.
Involve Children in Pet Care
To help children understand that the pet is a part of the family and that it requires proper care, it’s important to involve them in the care routine. They can help with or participate in tasks like baths, brushing, walks, playtime, trips to the vet, checking ears and paws, filling food and water dishes, rewarding good behavior, and giving love and affection. Teach them what to do if the pet misbehaves without resorting to violence.
Respect the Pet’s Rest and Personality
Children should understand that pets have their own personalities, just like people, and their moments when they need to rest. For very young children, adult supervision during play is essential. Teach them how to handle the pet gently and kindly, explaining how to hold them and pet them without causing harm.
You can create a designated area for the pet to rest without interruptions from the little ones. Knowing the temperament of each breed and animal is crucial. You can find complete profiles of all small dog breeds, which explain each breed’s character, helping you choose the perfect pet for your lifestyle.
It’s essential to praise and encourage your child when they do things right. Rewarding desirable behavior motivates them to continue learning and doing the right thing. Knowing that the pet is happy to be with them and that their parents are proud of their responsibility is a great stimulus. The affection and love the puppy provides if they feel loved and respected by the child are the beginning of a special bond.
Instill Anti-Animal Cruelty Values from a Young Age
Lastly, children must be made aware of animal cruelty and why it is wrong. When you see examples of cruelty on TV or hear stories, make it clear that such behavior is condemned. Express your stance against cruelty and ensure that they understand it’s unacceptable.
Stories and Films to Empathize with Animals
In our dog profiles we explain if it is a dog suitable to live with children and many more aspects that we believe may be of interest to you.
In addition, you can consult our Blog to discover many more aspects that may be related to your pet.