Saturday, July 28, 2007

Walking the Imaginary Dog: A Parenting Tip from BlogHer '07

I come to BlogHer '07 for technical information, and I end up with a great parenting tip from Laura, a pet insurance actuarial, blogger, mom to two, and great conversationalist.

If your child wants a dog, BEGS for a dog, and you don't want to shoulder the entire responsibility for a pet, test the child's promises to "take care of the dog." Make an agreement. If your child will wake at a specified earlier time and then "walk" the imaginary dog (10 to 20 minutes) every day for 21 days that you will then begin seriously considering getting a pet. I'd make it a month of walking because that's how long it takes to establish a habit.

Most parents see the brilliance in this approach immediately, so I won't elaborate. If, on the off-chance, your child makes it 30 days then you can see their level of dedication is atypical.

Of course, if you do get a dog you will most likely be its primary caretaker, but this lays the groundwork for the child to take on age-appropriate responsibilities for the dog as soon as it enters the house.

Laura suggests caring for the dog water as a great early task for kids. That would entail daily water changes, monitoring of the water level, and a weekly bowl cleaning. Isn't she clever?

Back to the BlogHers.

If you need amusement, may I recommend lolcats? Or a lolcats generator?


Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea! As my husband is the one asking for a dog, maybe I'll use this technique on him....

adrienne said...


Make it 4 months and he has do some odious poop-scooping equivalent task every week.

...and I repeat, "realize you will still be the primary caregiver for the dog."

Anonymous said...

Nice! Thanks for the hat tip. Great to meet you at the conference.


Anonymous said...

Oh, this is a good idea. And perfect for frugal parents. It was nice meeting you at the conference - now I'm off to find the barf post. ^_^