It can be very easy to train your child to take care of a pet. The best way is to start small and then escalate, which is usually the best way to teach your children anything. This can be done with many small pets and no one pet is better than another as long as you achieve the ultimate goal which is to make sure your child can take care of a pet on their own.
The first pet we let my daughter have was a small beta fish named Beta Bob. The best thing about starting off with a fish is that they are really very easy to maintain and of course no smells and very little expense. Food is very inexpensive and a small glass bowl can be bought for very little or even nothing if you have something laying around the house to use or can get a hand me down. My daughter learned to feed on a schedule, clean and add fresh water to her fish’s bowl, and to make the small aquarium welcoming to her new pet. This was a small first step but an important one that she mastered in no time.
The next animal we allowed her to care for was a cat. Luckily, she already knew how to treat animals from being around them at both of her grandparents homes. She had already been around dogs, cats, and even many exotic birds. She used the lessons from her fish to feed and water her kitten on a schedule but had to depend on us at first for training her new pet to use a litter box and cleaning it at the appropriate time. She also made the kitten’s area very appealing by adding toys, scratch posts, and other amenities. This was the pet we thought would be the easiest transition from a fish and it worked but I could assume that a puppy would also work in this instance.
Overall, not only does having pets make my daughter very happy but it is a very good life lesson in caring for another life form that depends on you for existence. There are still times that she would rather do other things like TV, video games, play with friends, or just goof off but she is starting to understand that other responsibilities come first. She has also learned time management by planning around her chores, playtime, and pet care. This has been a great life lesson in responsibility, managing time, and caring for a creature depending on you for survival.