Pets Can Teach Children Valuable Life Skills

February 9, 2010

By Julia Williams

Bringing a pet into your home – and your heart – offers so many benefits. Laughter, love and joy are three wonderful things I have an abundance of, thanks in large part to my three cats. Pets provide companionship to the lonely, and they can be great teachers for children too. Encouraging children to take an active role in caring for a pet helps them learn important life skills and lessons, while also learning about responsible pet ownership. Here are eight essential skills the family pet can teach your children.


Giving children age-appropriate chores related to feeding, grooming, and cleaning up after the family pet helps them understand what it means to be responsible, dependable and conscientious. Taking care of a pet teaches children the importance of being reliable, since the pet is counting on them to provide what they need. At the same time, tasks like bathing, brushing and grooming can deepen the bond between pet and child.

Patience and Consistency

House-breaking a puppy or a kitten can teach children to be patient, because young animals do not learn everything they need to know overnight. Some pets are slower to learn than others and thus require more time and effort, but consistent methods are a vital element of training success. Having your child help with the pet’s house-breaking and other training helps them learn that patience and consistency will pay off in the end.

Goal Setting and Perseverance

Children can learn about the process of goal setting and achievements by being involved in training a pet, be it for house-breaking, performing tricks or obedience training. When they put in the persistent effort these things require, they’re not only rewarded with a well trained pet, but an increased sense of pride and self worth at what they have accomplished.


As pack animals, dogs do best in a household where there is a pack hierarchy and an established leader. Although that person should ideally be an adult, you and your dog can teach your child what it means to be a good leader, one who your dog willingly and happily follows.


Having a pet in the family opens the door to a wide variety of emotions that are very important for children to discover and articulate. Pets can help children learn to express feelings of love, compassion, caring and concern. And experiencing the sadness involved in saying goodbye when a pet passes away, helps children learn to deal with loss.


Although kindness is not exactly what I would call a “life skill,” I’m including it because, of all the things pets can teach children, I think it might be the most important. Children who are taught to be kind to animals grow up to become compassionate adults who treat both humans and animals with kindness and respect throughout their lifetime. That, in my opinion, is a priceless lesson to learn.

So you see, pets can teach children a great many skills that will help them grow up to become well-adjusted members of our society. When you add in the pure delight pets can bring to a child, it seems unthinkable to let them grow up in a house without one.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!


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® Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Pet Foods.

Share this:

Share Your Thoughts

  • WordPress
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Very cute! I work with dogs and cats and I think a lot of people don’t remember how much work a puppy can be when they get a new one and are really unprepared. They are expensive, I had someone come in with a dog and we told him how much it would be for grooming and how often it would have be done and they were shocked. They didn’t take that cost into the purchase and said it wasn’t something they could budget for. I kind of felt bad, but things like that and vet bill (unexpected ones too) are a cost to owning a pet many never think of. These are great tips and advice !

  2. One of the most valuable benefits about teaching your kids to be kind and respectful to animals is the positive impact on your own relationship with your child. Again, leading by great example in teaching them about this very important relationship in life between man and animal will help create some very thoughtful and respectful children. You will see these wonderful qualities spill out into other areas of their lives and social interactions.

  3. Anonymous says:

    i think that this is true and if you have bad children or lazy children you should give them something to achieve in life, let them feel confident in something that they’ve done and learn to love and not to be cruel and have some structure in theire life,also learn to be nice and not only care about themselves but to be free and help out other people

  4. Anonymous says:

    i think this is totally correct

  5. Anonymous says:

    I so agree