By Suzanne Alicie
As a parent and pet lover, you want your child to appreciate, respect and love pets the way you do. This could lead you to help them look for an opportunity to work with pets in some way. Many preteens and teenagers have jobs involving pets, such as pet sitting and dog walking. These are wonderful learning opportunities and provide children the chance to get to know a lot of animals rather than just the one or two you have at home.
However, there are certain things you must consider before you select or approve of any opportunity for your child to work with pets. As a responsible pet owner and parent, you know your child better than anyone and can judge whether a job working with animals would suit their temperament. Not all children are equipped to handle working with pets. This is not to say your child doesn’t love animals and want to work with them, but as a parent you must fairly evaluate your child’s suitability for the job they are interested in.
Responsibility – While it may not seem to be such a big thing to have to remind your child to do their chores, when it comes to working with pets they need to know what has to be done and do it without being told every step of the way. The people they are working for need to know they will be there on time, that they will take care of their pets and that they can rely on them to handle the responsibilities entrusted to them.
Decision Making Skills – If your child gets a job as a dog walker and encounters a loose dog on the way, what will he do? The decisions your child makes in certain situations can affect not only his safety but the safety of the animal he is responsible for.
Dedication – When your child gets a job as a pet sitter, he may not want to get up early to go feed and walk the pet, but it is important that he does it. If your child is not committed to doing a good job, the pets he is supposed to be caring for could suffer.
Patience – Many times pets are like children. This means that they each have different personalities, habits, routines and behaviors. It also means they will push their boundaries when they encounter someone new. Just like children with a substitute teacher, a dog or cat will attempt to get away with things that are not normally permitted because your child is not recognized as an authority figure to them. Patience and the ability to control frustration and anger are very important skills for your child to have at this point. If he becomes angry and attempts to punish the pet in some way or behaves carelessly, he could be bit or scratched, and could possibly lose control of the dog he is supposed to be walking and put the dog in danger.
Support and Backup – When your child gets in over their head with a pet job, are you going to be there to help them out if they need it? You have to make sure your child knows it’s okay to admit that they can’t handle something and will allow you to provide some backup.
Working with pets is a wonderful way for children who like animals to become more in touch with their favorites. However, it could also be a disaster if the child does not have an affinity for animals and has no urge to work with pets. This is why you can’t push your child into this sort of work just because it is something you feel they should enjoy. If the child really has no interest in working with animals, then their pet job will be seen as a chore and they certainly won’t perform to the best of their ability.
Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.