How A Preschooler Helps With the Family DogBeth Anne Ballance
We adopted our dog back in late 2006, just a few months into our marriage. She was our first baby, taken to obedience classes and the dog park and fed premium dog food. When we brought home our human baby boy, we took great care in making sure our dog was still loved as a part of the family. We introduced them and she put her nose to his little forehead — it was love at first sight. Since that moment, the two of them have nurtured an incredible love-hate relationship between human and dog siblings.
He loves her when she runs with him in the backyard but hates her when she pushes him down the stairs. She loves him when he drops scraps from the table but hates him when he tries to tackle her. Typical sibling stuff.
Now that he’s well over 4 years old and their relationship is established, we’ve started passing some of the “dog chores” on to him.
- He feeds her every night
- He makes sure she has enough water
- He brushes her coat
- He helps us bathe her
- He helps us remember her medicine after dinner
- He learned to make her sit and speak and how to properly give her a treat
Since we’ve started this, their relationship has bloomed. Because he is now the treat and food giver, she sits with him while he reads to her. She lays on the floor by his bed while he falls asleep. And he takes so much pride in caring for her and contributing to the family. Even better, we’re actively teaching him that dogs are family.