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Using Pets as a Teaching Tool

By Suzanne Alicie

As a pet owner, you know that animals are entertaining, comforting and fun to have around, but did you realize that a pet is also a great teaching tool? There are several ways you can use your pet to help teach your children, either as a home schooling parent or just basic behavioral lessons.

Pets can be used to teach your children responsibility. Knowing that they are responsible for feeding, watering and giving attention to the pet will help your child establish a routine, and maintain day-to-day chores.

Pets can be used to teach children how to be kind, to protect those who are weaker than others, and basic empathy and compassion. Many times children who are used to playing with adults and other kids their age may not have any idea how gentle they need to be when playing with their pet. Sure, some dogs can take being tackled, but most run the risk of being harmed if a child plays too rough. Teaching your child to adapt their behavior in order to accommodate and respect the difference in stature, ability and personality will carry over to their interactions with other children and adults.

Pets make great teaching tools for home schooling parents. Learning about your dog’s metabolism, body structure and traits are just a few of the things you can integrate into your lesson plans. Think of a cat’s eye and the difference between that and a human eye; your children can learn so much about anatomy, bone structure, and other animal/human differences when you use pets as a teaching tool.

The nutrition that pets need is another way to use your pet as a teaching tool. Children will learn the differences between their food pyramid and the foods that a dog or cat needs to be strong and healthy. CANIDAE Natural Pet Foods provides detailed ingredient and nutritional information on all their products; you can use these labels to compare different formulas and to determine what is best for your pet.

With pets in the home, children can learn lessons about healthy fears that will serve them throughout their lifetime. The behaviors of dogs and cats when they are frightened, angry or cornered come with physical indicators. The raised hackles on a dog serve as a warning that children need to understand in order to avoid being bitten; the same goes for the hiss of a cat. There is a big difference between a phobia or unreasonable fear, and a healthy fear and the instinct of self preservation. It is important that children learn these things early in their lives.

These ways that pets can be used as educational tools are not a complete list by any means. Children with an affinity for animals will find their own educational and behavioral lessons from caring for their pet. A responsible pet owner is one who can see all the benefits of having a pet to love and care for. As adults and parents, we can help teach our children to be responsible pet owners in the future.

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