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Blondie Clayton

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Obama Family: Dog Tips for First Time Owners
by Blondie Clayton   
Not "rated" by the Author.
Last edited: Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Posted: Wednesday, January 07, 2009

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Owning a pet is a great way to keep children grounded as you prepare them to take their place as adults in our society.

More than the decision as to what type of dog, small or large, mutt or pure bred, buying a dog for children is much bigger than that, even for the two children who will occupy the White House.

Michelle Obama has reiterated over and over about keeping her children grounded. Well, what better way to keep your children grounded than to purchase a dog?

 Many people look at a dog as just a cute, cuddly addition to the family until the reality sets in that the cute, cuddly, ball of playful fur needs the same care as a child. That is where poor Rover finds himself out on the street or in some shelter.

Choosing a pet for children should be with a goal in mind. The best goal is to teach them how to nurture something other than themselves.

From the day you decide to buy a pup, the children should be included in the decision, including selecting the food, collars, toys and vet.

Upon their arrival home, supervise where to place food and water and how much to place in the dishes. Talk to them about when little Rovena goes potty on the floor, or carpet, how to lead her outside as a habit until pup gets the message. 

Prepare yourself as a parent to co-parent the new pet until the cuddly one is trained to signal when nature calls.

If there is more than one child, a parent can create a list of daily tasks, like feeding, walking, grooming (brushing) and cleaning up behind little Rover or Rovena. After the daily tasks are completed by the child who is responsible for that day, either child can interact with the new pet.
When it is time for your new pet to go to the groomers or doctor, everyone can go. If there is more than one child, monitor whether each is pulling his or her weight. In that case you set up a schedule listing the child’s name, the task and/or day.  This keeps the child(ren) on track with their daily tasks.

Children who manage the responsibility of taking care of the family’s pet at a young age,  are well on their way to learning to serve others. 

In the process, if there are several children taking responsibility, you will see the one who is excited and eager to participate but as the task is repeated from day to day, that child will either step up to the plate, begin to avoid or refuse to do their part. This is a great way to identify and correct the areas your child might need to work on.

Great teaching moments for a parent.  If you, as a parent, are not prepared to oversee, guide and teach, it is probably better to leave the pet at the store to go home with some other family.

So as the Obama family settles into the White House and considers a pup for the girls, if they allow the girls to be responsible for the upkeep this is a good way to keep them grounded, in spite of the attention and many White House servants eager to take over the responsibility of walking, feeding and training their pet.

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