How to Creatively Teach Kids about Dog Responsibility

As families continue to stay at home during this lockdown, many have brought home new dogs, and for good reason. Times are tough, and dogs can ease kids’ anxiety, help you see problems in new ways and just bring smiles to people’s faces.

However, dogs are also a lot of work. They require quite a lot of time, responsibility and financial resources. If your kids have been “dogging” you for a new furry friend, but you’re on the fence, you might try asking them to show a little bit of responsibility first.

For example, try this “doggy” bank printable. Like a piggy bank, but with a dog, it features chores and other household tasks on coins. As your kids complete the tasks, they can color in the coins. You can also write down your own tasks on the blank coins.

Doggy Bank

Although many of these tasks aren’t directly related to dog ownership, the idea here is that kids can prove that they are serious about the responsibilities that come with owning a dog. After all of the coins have been colored in, your family can go pick out your dog.

Excluding the initial purchase or adoption costs, owning a small dog in the first year can cost your family more than $1,400, according to the ASPCA. For large dogs, that number is more than $2,000.

If owning a dog is outside of your family’s budget, consider another pet. Plenty of other pets can also bring the same amount of joy to your home.

To help kids grasp exactly how much different pets cost, encourage them to use this pet budget tracker. It shows them graphically how much different pets cost, from those on the lower end of the scale (ferrets, guinea pigs and birds) to those on the higher end (dogs and cats).

Pet Budget Tracker

Explain to them how much your family has to work with, and illustrate it on the budget tracker. This will help them understand the different costs of pets and get them thinking about responsible budgeting and money management.

Download these printable activities to teach kids about the costs and responsibilities of dog ownership, and check out the new dog owner checklist if you do decide to bring home a furry friend.

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