As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your child. It’s tough to know sometimes what the best things are to help them with their issues. Thankfully there are lots of tools available to help children with ADHD. One such tool is service dogs. But is a service dog the best choice for your child and your family? There are many things to take into consideration before you make such a commitment. Here are some things you should know before you get one.
How Can a Service Dog Benefit My Child?
A service dog can do many things to help a child with ADHD. It can especially help with the hyperactivity aspect. Dogs can be very calming, which can help a child that has hyperactivity issues. Taking a dog for a walk or doing other activities with the dog can provide a release of serotonin and be a way for the child to burn excess energy.
Having your child take care of the dog also encourages them to establish routines — something that can sometimes be difficult for a child who has ADHD. Creating routines can sometimes be stressful and overwhelming for a child with ADHD, so it’s important to help them set up these routines initially. Help them to break down caring for the dog into smaller tasks so it doesn’t seem like such a big, overwhelming thing. There are lots of things that the child can do to help take care of the dog, such as feeding it, walking it, and giving it baths. Setting a set schedule with your child with dog-related tasks can help them to get in the habit of making schedules and routines for other aspects of their lives.
You Need to Find Out if They Qualify
Like some other disabilities that have certain requirements to qualify for service dogs, there are requirements your child must meet if they are to get a service dog. For example, in order to qualify for a service dog, your child must meet an age requirement. According to some websites, they should be at least twelve years old. They also need to have a confirmed diagnosis by a licensed doctor. They should also be committed to participating in the training program for the dog for at least one hour a day. This is important because it will help to make sure that the child understands how they can use the dog to their benefit. It also helps to build a bond between the child and the dog.
Different Breeds, Different Benefits (and Drawbacks)
Size matters, especially when you’re talking about a dog. Both the Great Dane and Mastiffs are fascinating breeds, but can you imagine them living with you in a cramped apartment? Some dogs, like the Chihuahua and the Maltese, are small and cute. While these dogs work good in small spaces, they don’t do well with young toddlers who haven’t discovered how to handle a pet properly. You don’t want the dog to get hurt because an innocent child isn’t old enough to be gentle. Smaller dogs and little children don’t often mix well.
However, it all depends on your situation and the age of your kids. If you’re looking for a small dog for your kids, Pomeranians interact well with children and other dogs. They even do well with cats too. They’re a cuddly, spirited, ball of fun, and they come in beautiful color options. You must decide what size dog you want, and then you can focus on the dog that fits into the size category you’ve selected. Read the history of the breed and do your homework, especially if you want to make an informed decision.
Your Daily Lifestyle Will Change
One of the biggest considerations when adopting a dog is your lifestyle. It’s often hard for a family that works long hours to try to train, take care of vet visits, and take them to grooming appointments. You need to consider the best dog for your everyday life. Some pups are hyper, while others tend to be more docile and sleep a lot. When considering breed and size, also consider your busy life and the pup that works best with it. Do you really have time to devote to a pet, or will they sit in a cage for eight to ten hours each day? Is there a doggy daycare nearby that can help them to be socialized? Make sure you can fit the pup into your daily grind.
Remember when your child first started to walk? You had to put up all your breakables, make sure the plants weren’t within reach, and barricade the stairs. Living with a new puppy is like a baby. They love to get into the trash, drag your shoes through the house, and chew on anything and everything. Having a couple of baby gates around to keep them in a designated area is advisable in the beginning.
Are You Ready for Another Commitment?
Are you sure you’re ready for a dog? Be realistic about your expectations. Most children aren’t ready to take on the care of a pup, and they will need your help. A dog is a lot of work, and you must make sure you’re prepared for that commitment. That pup is counting on you to be with them till the end of their days, and it can be a decade or more.
Do You Have the Patience?
Patience is important when dealing with dogs, especially if they are young. Puppies are adventurous, and they love to get into everything. They will chew on shoes, make messes on the carpet, and bark non-stop. When they’re teething, it’s not uncommon for them to chew on the flooring or anything else they can get into their mouths. You must be loving, patient, and kind during the first few months of their life. Things will get better, but it’s going to take the time to go through these stages. They are very much like a baby when they come home. It’s up to you to train them and put up with their shenanigans until they outgrow this phase. However, once they settle down and become mature, you have a friend that will stick close and protect you to the best of their ability.
Now that you’ve figured out what to put on your checklist, you can be much more prepared to get a service dog for your child. You should consider adopting or rescuing a dog as many are patiently waiting for homes, and they can be a perfect match for your family. By being properly informed and prepared, you can make sure that you are ready to bring a service dog into your home.
For more great information on how you can help your child, read some great tips in one of these books!