Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - 49

Chapter 3

the abilities of a puppy. It is a good idea to obtain a puppy from a breeder who
raises dogs for the specific purpose you have in mind.

ChiLDren anD petS
Almost all children sooner or later will beg their parents for a pet; most
will want a dog because of its playfulness. When contemplating bringing a
new pet into the family, parents should consider the age and maturity of the
children in the household. Many professionals believe that a child should be
three years old to be considered mature enough to act responsibly around a
pet. Children younger than three years old would not be able to handle a pet
gently without direct supervision. See Figure 3-4.
However, many children will quickly lose interest in a pet as it ages or once
the novelty wears off. Others will not have developed the self-discipline required to take care of the needs of the pet every day. Parents must either make
sure the child cares for the pet or themselves be willing to assume these duties
if the child doesn't follow through. A short-lived cage pet such as a hamster
or gerbil may be a good choice for your child's first pet. If the child learns the
basic care and behavior of this pet and demonstrates his or her ability to provide consistent care, then he or she may be ready for a more-demanding pet.
Children can learn things by caring for a pet, such as responsibility, social
skills, respect and compassion, and coping with loss.

responsibility

Courtesy of Carolyn Miller

Responsibility can be learned from taking care of a pet. This, in turn, develops one's self-esteem and self-worth. By caring for an animal, children
learn to be competent individuals. These characteristics can be reinforced by
praising children for the way they care for their pets.

Figure 3-4

for a pet.

Children can learn many things from caring

Small Animals as Pets

49



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition

Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover1
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Cover2
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - iv
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - Contents
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vi
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - vii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - viii
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - ix
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - x
Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xi
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Small Animal Care & Management - Fourth Edition - xxii
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