If your children persistently ask for a dog, you’d should really consider getting them one! In fact, there are scientific reasons dogs are great for kids. Yes, kids need a dog… it’s good for them.
Are you ready to choose the right dog for your family? Bringing a new dog into your life is a very big decision, but it could be one of the best decisions you ever make!
As a mother of a young adult and a 11-year-old, I have observed how owning a dog has positively contributed my kid’s life. I myself had lots of pets growing up. I can honestly say, owning pets has taught me a lot about life. Now there is research to back this up.
Teaching your kids empathy and love is important. We all know that. I believe I have a close relationship with my kids. I can also say, I am so far from being a perfect mother. One thing for sure is that I have always made sure my boys feel loved. I am one who is very transparent and affectionate with my boys. It was how I was raised so it’s natural for me.
It turns out that owning a dog can help teach this. Not surprising huh? Researchers at Kent State University looked at 99 children ages 9 to 11 who owned pet dogs. These children answered questionnaires about their relationships with their dogs, parents and friends.
The study found if one type of relationship was strong, it’s likely the others were, too. In general, children with strong bonds with their dogs also had strong bonds with their parents and best friends.
It’s suffice to say that a positive experience with a pet leads to being more empathic and cooperative with a parent, and that positive experience with parents leads to being close to the pet, friends siblings, etc.
The researchers also watched how the children interacted with their dogs. They found that those who had more physical contact with their pets had better relationships with their mothers — but not necessarily with their fathers (or friends).
“Given that mothers play a bit more of a role as a haven, as the one to go to for comfort, than dad, perhaps that’s why we found that effect,” Kerns says. “The close relationship with the mother might be more of a model for closeness with others, including the dog.”
This month I wrote about why every women should have a dog. Let’s face it, dogs a great pals and having a dog by your side or your child’s side is beneficial. See what kids say about their dogs.
If you want a a confident child, give them a dog Giving a child a dog with responsibilities, raises your child’s confidence. Studies have proven that children who have an attachment to their pet have a stronger attachment to their environment and community, making them more comfortable with who they are.
Emerging readers often feel more relaxed reading aloud to a pet.
Spending time with pets can ease the acquisition of language and improve oral competences in children. Conversing with animals helps children fighting stutter.
Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys in particular to “parent play” -to practice being caregivers. When Lucky was young he used to sleep next to the crib until Alex went to sleep. He would then proceed to Jake’s room until Jake was fast asleep. Our room was his last stop. He has always shown his love for us and in turn, my boys have learned how to nurture him especially in his old age.
Studies report associations between childhood attachment to pets and caring and friendship behaviour, compassion, and attitudes towards animals.
Having the love and companionship of a pet can make a child feel significant and help them develop a positive self-image. In fact, according to an excellent review of 22 studies of the impact of companion animals on child development. The authors concluded that growing up with pets is linked to higher self-esteem, cognitive development, and social skills.
Living with a pet as a child builds the immune system. In fact, just a brief pet encounter can invigorate your disease-defense system. In one study, petting a dog for only 18 minutes raised immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels in college students’ saliva, a sign of robust immune function.
Playing with a pet can even be a doorway to learning for a child. It can stimulate a child’s imagination and curiosity. The rewards of training a dog to perform a new trick, for example, can teach kids the importance of perseverance. Caring for a furry friend can also offer another benefit to a child: an immense joy. As you can see with the video above… our new puppy stimulated Alex’s imagination!
Pets can help children with learning disabilities learn how to regulate stress and calm themselves, making them better equipped to overcome the challenges of their disorder.
Having a dog brings the family together and helps the family bond among siblings.
Cuddling with a dog reduces stress, anxiety and loneliness.
At the University of Florida, 100 pet-owning families came to the university’s lab with their pet dogs. The children underwent a public speaking task and a mental math task, which are scenarios that are known to raise feelings of stress in their kid’s lives.
The kids that participated in the study were between the ages of of 7-12.
After taking the kids saliva samples and testing them for cortisol levels, the biological maker of stress, researchers found just how important the relationship with pets really are.
Caring for a pet animals provides children with the experience of taking responsibility for another living being. Doing so, may support the development of empathy, and has been shown to relate to more humane attitudes later in life.
Several studies show how children who live with pets have a more developed emotional intelligence (EI), i.e. the ability of effectively understand, manage, and express one’s feelings and interpreting those of others. This is considered to be a key factor for a better quality of life.
The death of a loved pet is a painful process, yet it can be a real learning experience. “The way in which their parents and others near to them deal with the situation will have an influence on how children cope with death in general throughout their lives,” write Endemburg and Baarda. “At the other end of an animal’s life is birth.
The attachment between humans and animals is often so strong that it is common to mourn in a way that is very similar to the feelings and behaviours associated with the loss of a human family member.
A dog can be a best friend to a child. Children feel comfortable talking to their dog and showing compassion and love.
I hope after reading this you feel confident that dogs can make a positive impact on kid’s lives. If you make a decision to get a dog, make a commitment to keeping the dog. It is another great lesson in life. You don’t give up on people or animals.
Good luck with your dog search and let us know your dog pal stories!