October 01, 2007,
S.M. asks from Spokane, WA on July 20, 2007
A Dog for a 6 Year Old?
I have been thinking about getting a dog like my daughter has been asking for, but she just turned 6 and I was wondering if that is old enough to care for a dog of her own. I have looked in to breeds and I am thinking that a black lab would be a good one for a growing kid to have. I would like her to be able to clean up after it and feed it on a daily basis. Do any of you think that is too much to ask of her, or is this a good age to start with a pet... I am just at a loss right now, any advice would be great!
She is good at taking care of the Tortoise that we have. She is in charge of feeding him twice a week and soaking him in warm water once a week in the summer... but he is easy cause he sleeps for 4 months out of the year. At her dad's she has fish and birds that she feeds and cleans up after when she is over there.
B.H. answers from Seattle on July 27, 2007
Every child should have a dog! My 3 yo has a dog that he feeds and waters daily and he loves the responisbiility! But poop detail and other grooming things fall into my lap, which i knew when we got it.
M.C. answers from Spokane on July 22, 2007
i know i'm repeating what others have already said, but yes--in the end--mom ends up taking primary care of the animal. 6-years-old is a lot to ask for the level of responsibility of taking care of a dog. maybe you could gradually get to the dog thing. start with a plant. you bring out some seeds and help her plant her own. you show her pictures of what it will look like and create a chart for when the two of you water and fertilize the plant together.
as she gets older... perhaps at 8-years-old you start looking at fish. you create a chart for when the fish needs to be fed and the bowl needs to be cleaned and you clean the fishbowl together.
then at 13 or 14-years of age, you begin looking at dogs. btw--golden retrievers are excellent family dogs too. :)
whatever you do, i highly encourage babysteps to teach your daughter responsibility as well as providing self confidence as she sees what she is able to help achieve. good luck!
C.D. answers from Seattle on October 01, 2007
I personally think 6 years old is a good age for getting a dog depending on the child and the breed. We have 2 mix breed dogs and they are wonderful with my daughter. Strangely enough, I normally prefer bigger dogs but my babysitter bought a toy pomeranian and I have ended up really liking him. This has been the BEST dog around my daughter. He is extremely gentle around her and puts up with alot of her rough housing. I honestly think there is a special place in heaven for that dog for putting up with half her antics. I think it helps that he was a puppy and brought up with her but MAN have those 2 bonded. I even bring him home some weekends with me because they have a hard time being separated. I was not a big pomeranian fan until he came along. He is very hyper but small enough that it is alot more manageable for a smaller child. He is also the perfect size for carrying around and snuggling with. My daughter adores him and actually talks about him in her sleep. Pomeranians are also extremely intelligent and protective. Brody (the dog) has blocked my daugther in and snarled at people he did not know too well getting too close to "his" baby. Good luck with your choice!
K.L. answers from Spokane on July 22, 2007
A dog is a choice for the entire family. I love my 3 dogs and couldn't imagine life without them. My 4 year old daughter feeds them everyday, lets them out potty, and even helps me clean up poo in the yard. My son who is almost 3 loves helping. They fight over who gets to feed the dogs. And they are both good "poop hunters" as they would say! LOL. I think it's great to teach her responsibility, but in the end just know that you will be doing most of the work. Thats just how it ends up! But if you want to add to your family, a black lab is a wonderful dog. Mine is 4 years old and is truly the best dog ever! Good luck!!
A.P. answers from Bellingham on July 21, 2007
Don't get a dog unless you want one. In the end you are going to be the one who has to look after it. Too many dogs end up in the pound because kids lose interest and the parents don't want to take care of dog anymore. Sometimes going to the animal shelter is a good way to adopt a pet because then they will know something about their personality before you get the dog. They will be able to tell you if they are good with kids or other pets. I disagree with some of the people who are saying that one breed or another are bad with kids. I was a dog groomer for a long time and I have met some very sweet and calm pit bulls and rottweilers, and some very mean and vicious lhasa apsos. In general labs are great family dogs but are high energy and any dog that is bored can have behavior problems.
K.E. answers from Anchorage on July 20, 2007
A dog would probably be to much responsibility for a 6 year old to manage on her own. However, depending on the maturity of your daughter she could probably hand a specific task, such as feeding the dog or making sure the dog always has water. As long as you realize ultimately the bulk of pet care will fall on you I think having dogs is a great experience for kids. It teaches them responsibility and respect for other living things. My son (almost 2) loves our dogs and as a result of being around them has learned to "pat nice" and be gentle with other living things. Labs make great pets. I had one right after college. However, they are extremely high energy and require a lot of excercise, especially a puppy. If you don't have a large fenced in yard, labs really need a good, long daily walk and your daughter won't be large enough to control a grown lab on a leash for a few years.
S.K. answers from Anchorage on July 25, 2007
I agree with all of the other moms. I think every kid should have a dog, so, get one as long as you are OK with the fact that you will do most of care giving. It could still be a good time to teach your daughter responsibility, try to get her involved with the feeding or the yard cleaning, but don't turn it into a battle. We have a 3.5 yr old and he loves to feed the dogs before bedtime and to help with "poop patrol" in the yard, but he never does it without me suggesting it first.
Also, if you decide to get a dog, please consider the pound. Mixed breed dogs tend to live longer and are less likely to be riddled with health problems. If you are leaning toward a lab, the pound is always full of lab mixes, and usually even a couple of pure bred labs.
FYI, currently, pure bred labs are having trouble with their ligaments in their legs. If the ligament goes, the dog requires a several thousand dollar surgery, and once one leg goes, the other is likely to go in a couple of years, especially after compensating for the injured leg..............so, again, a lab mix would be less likely to have this problem.
S.T. answers from Seattle on July 21, 2007
A black lab is a great choice for a family dog, but please don't get one thinking your 6 year old will be the primary care-taker. If YOU don't have time for a dog (daily walks, playtime, training classes, etc), then do NOT get one. I can't tell you how many great young black labs end up at shelters because parents thought their kids would care for them, but didn't and the parents already have too many things to do! They are happy fun dogs, but they are also big goofballs that do tend to be a little too exuberant for little ones......is your daughter the rough and tumble type, or is she quiet and gets scared easily? Temperment matching is important. If you decide to get a dog, please make sure to get it spayed/neutered and into puppy classes ASAP..it will pay off in the long run! If a dog seems too much, good starter pets are guinea pigs or other friendly rodents. I urge you to go to a shelter...the staff can help direct you to a perfect match for your family and there are some great dogs/cats/small animals there that need homes! Good luck!
C.Z. answers from Seattle on July 21, 2007
I agree with Kara. The bulk of the responsibility will fall upon you and your daughter (at 6 years old) should only be expected to help out. It is important for children to have pets, not just to learn responsibility, but for the love and companionship that you share with a pet. Dogs make great pets because they love unconditionally and are always loyal to their owners. I really think every family should own a dog and that all members of the family should have a hand in caring for it.