Dogs & Children Activities

Here is some info from Yahoo's pet page about making sure your pet is involved with your life, especially for those with children.

As a member of the family, your dog is certainly loved - but perhaps there is room for improvement in the ways that commitment is expressed. Take some time to reexamine, with your child, the most important gifts that families and dogs can give one another. Here is a list of suggestions for activities:

1. Review with your child his or her dog-related responsibilities. It is understandable that busy schedules interfere with the best intentions, but it does help to make a list and accommodate the dog’s needs to everyone’s busy days. Depending upon age and ability, children can take responsibility for: letting the dog outside or in for bathroom needs; exercising; feeding or grooming. If any of these has presented a problem, now is the time to discuss solutions. Probably the most time-consuming chore is regularly exercising the dog, which can be limited to weekends if the child is interested.

2. Consider a new “extracurricular” dog activity for your child to participate in. This might include an evening or weekend class in obedience training, agility (great fun for children as well as dogs) or breed shows. Take your child to sit in on a local class during this week, or attend a local or regional dog show. Register together and make the commitment to try a new venture that both child and dog can enjoy.

3. Volunteer a few hours at a local animal shelter. Animal shelters provide a wonderful introduction to volunteerism for children, who can assist the staff, help with cleaning kennels or taking homeless dogs for walks.

4. Read a dog-related book or browse the internet together with your child. Learn together about dogs by surfing . Tackle a topic that you and your child would like to know more about, such as the history, care or behavior of dogs.

5. Schedule your dog’s annual veterinary exam during this week. Your child can participate in important decisions (Will laboratory tests be needed? Should a heartworm test be performed? Is this a good time to schedule a dental cleaning?). If there is interest, a “behind the scenes” tour may be possible if arranged in advance.

6. Suggest a dog-related project for your child (or ask him or her to come up with some ideas). Some examples: repair or refurbish the dog’s accessories, such as the dog house or fencing; deal with a nagging behavior problem such as jumping up or running away. Challenge your child to come up with some creative solutions - and then help to apply them.
Of course, even a fraction of these activities would easily fill up one week of time, but the payoff - a re-energized bond between child and pet - will last much longer.