When a family decides to get a pet, even if that pet is a present for a child, the ultimate responsibility for the welfare of that pet lies with the parents.
However, this does not release the child from all responsibility for its pet’s welfare. There are several things a child can and should do for its pet. Doing them will reinforce the bond between child and pet and teach the child to consider the pet’s welfare.
Children can be taught to measure out the right amount of chow to feed the family pet.
They can empty, wash out and refill the pet’s water bowl – every single day.
They can begin to teach the dog to walk on a lead – in the garden at first. A few treats or small pieces of cheese are great training aid. If there is another, adult, dog in the family this can be a help in training a pup to the lead. Let one person walk the older dog ahead while the child follows with the pup on a lead. Very often the pup will want to follow the older dog, which makes things much easier.
Best of all, encourage the child to spend time playing with the pet. Usually there is no problem when the pet has just arrived in the household but there may come a time when the child “forgets” to go out and play with his/her friend. Do not let the pet be neglected for new toys: nothing can ever equal the companionship of an animal and playing/exercising together is good for both child and pet.