The other day I was down at the dog park, and one of my friends said, “You know, my little guy just loves your blog!” The little guy in question is about 11 years old, and I have to say that it never even occurred to me that people that young might be reading my humble scribblings. So this time around, I decided that I wanted to do something for the kids. And I know that one of the biggest issues kids have a lot of the time is the fact that they want a dog, and their parents are resisting the idea.
Well, climb on board, kids, because your buddy Ash is about to tell you how to convince your parents to let you have a dog.
Okay, here’s what you’re up against: you desperately want a dog, but your parents keep telling you “No.” You’ve begged and you’ve groveled, and it’s getting you nowhere. Now, I have to tell you that if the issue is simply that your parents hate dogs, you might as well just give up now, because you’re never going to win. However, hardly anyone hates dogs. So your job is going to be to get all your information together, and show your parents why the benefits of having a dog are very much going to outweigh the advantages of not having one. There are 15 ways of doing this.
Let’s get started.
1. Set the Stage
Tell your parents how a dog is going to change your family dynamic. First of all, you’ll be spending more time around the house if you have a dog, and that also means you’ll be spending more time with your parents. Point out that it will be so much more fun having a backyard barbecue if you have a dog to throw a ball for. Paint a verbal picture of cozy nights spent at home in the winter with your beloved dog at fireside. You get the idea.
2. Point Out That You’ll Get More Exercise
Are your parents worried about you becoming one of those little pudge-muffins who does nothing but sit inside, playing video games and eating? Are they always telling you to go outdoors and play? Tell them that if you have a dog, you’ll be spending more time outside getting exercise instead of sitting around the house eating all manner of crap.
3. Tell Them You’ll Become Mentally Unstable if You Don’t Have a Dog
Listen, you know how to Google. Kids are born online these days. So do a bit of research, and find articles that illustrate how having a dog can benefit a person’s mental health. Your parents care about your mental health because they don’t want to have to be looking after you when you’re well into your 30s. You can use that!
4. Flog the Safety Angle
Are you a latchkey kid? Do you often have to come home from school and look after yourself because you have nobody else there? You could be prey to pedophiles, robbers, and even alien invaders! But if you have a dog, that dog will protect you, which your parents, who aren’t at home, are not doing. So the very least they could do, if they care about you at all and don’t want to find your body in a dumpster somewhere, or even worse, never found (the alien thing again), is let you have a dog.
5. Play the “Responsibility” Card
Okay, so up until now you haven’t been able to put your clothes away, get your homework done on time or even get up in time to catch the school bus. But your parents need to know that if you have a dog, it will go a long way toward teaching you responsibility. After all, the dog has to be walked, and fed and played with.
Just my opinion, though – this one can be a slippery slope. If you’ve been pretty irresponsible up until now, your parents aren’t going to buy this angle. So before you play the “responsibility” card, display a bit of responsibility. Clean up your clothes and make it to the bus on time. Then your parents will say “Wow, my kid is really growing up, and just might be ready for a dog!”
6. Choose a Breed
I know, you’re saying “Huh? I just want a dog!” But if you say “Mom and Dad, I really want a Rottweiler because they’re so smart and protective,” or “Mom and Dad, I want a Standard Poodle because it’s one of the most intelligent dog breeds,” or “Mom and Dad, my perfect dog would be a Golden Retriever because they’re so loving and loyal,” you’re showing your parents that you’ve really thought this out.
Do your research, too. Tell your parents about the benefits of the breed that you want, and talk about any special care requirements or health issues your chosen breed might have. If your parents know that you understand the breed, and the ways that it will be a good fit for your family, trust me, they’ll be impressed, and you’ll be that much closer to getting your dog.
7. Make a Plan
The last thing you want to do is go into this with a “Mommy, buy me a solid gold statue of Pikachu” approach and thinking that it’s just going to happen. Your parents work hard for their money, so you’re going to have to tell them how much your dog is likely to end up costing them. Find out what your breed of choice is going to cost. With some breeds, show quality dogs can cost $10,000 or more, and even pet-quality animals can be in the thousands.
So, what you want to do is take an approach like, “Dad, I’d love to have an English Mastiff, but even pet quality dogs can cost more than $3,000. If I contribute, can we afford one?” Go into this with an idea of what is affordable for your family, and work out a plan to make it happen.
8. Deal With Your Parents’ Concerns
Your parents, when you ask them for a dog, are most likely going to be concerned that they’ll be the ones who are ultimately responsible for the care of the dog. They might figure that you’ll start off with good intentions, but eventually hand everything over to them.
So, what you should do here is show your parents that you are ready to take on the responsibility of a dog. Show them the walking route that you’ve planned out. Find someone (a sibling or a friend) who can look after exercising the dog if you’re down with the flu or have a commitment that prevents you from walking the dog. In other words, show your parents that you are very serious, and committed to the idea of having a dog.
9. Buy Toys
You get an allowance, right? Well, one of your parent’s biggest concerns about having a dog might be that the dog will chew up furniture, carpets and otherwise destroy the house.
So show your parents what you have saved from your allowance, and tell them that you’re going to use it to buy toys for the dog so that he will have things to chew on that won’t result in total destruction in the house.
10. Buy Towels
No, I’m serious! You’re saying “Towels, WTF?” But another thing your parents are going to worry about is dirt being tracked into the house. So buy some towels, and tell your parents that they’re for you to use when the dog comes inside so that you can clean off his paws.
Oh, and by the way, if you can hold out a stack of towels, and offer up this information with a pleading smile, your parents would probably melt. I know I would, and I don’t even like kids!
11. Find a Vet
Call around to vet clinics in your area, and interview vets. Rigorously. Don’t ever assume that just because someone has “DVM” after their name, it necessarily means that they’re a good animal doctor. You’re going to do this for two reasons: first, because you want the best veterinary care for the dog you’re planning on getting, and second, because if you do this, it will impress the living snot out of your parents, and they’ll be that much more likely to let you get a dog.
12. Deal with the Money Issue
If you’re anything like I was as a kid, you probably don’t have a whole lot of money, and you’re constantly asking for a raise in your allowance. So I’m assuming that you don’t exactly have a whole pile of money set aside, and if your parents aren’t willing to shell out, the whole dog idea might appear to be dead in the water.
Don’t give up hope, though. Getting a dog doesn’t necessarily have to mean a huge financial outlay. You and your parents might be surprised at how many dogs are in shelters, just waiting to be adopted – some of them are even purebreds.
If you do need to raise a bit of money for an adoption fee, you can always work a bit for it. Get a paper route or do odd jobs in your neighborhood. You could also save up the money that you get for your birthday or at Christmas.
13. Be Prepared
You know how this one works: you have your parents pretty much convinced that they should let you have a dog, and then they start with, “What happens when we’re on vacation?” Cut them off at the pass with this one. Investigate local boarding kennels or dog sitters so that you can say, with full confidence, “Mom, he’ll be fine. We’ll just send him to [insert name of boarding kennel], or have [insert name of dog sitter] look after him.”
14. Show How Responsible You Are
Let’s face it, if you’re not pulling your weight around the house right now, your parents have no reason to think that you’re suddenly going to man up when it comes to a dog. So start looking after the basics: keep your room clean, offer to help with dinner, volunteer to mow the lawn. In short, do whatever you can to convince your parents that you’re the type of person who is ready for the responsibility of a dog.
Oh, and by the way, you’ll earn more points if you don’t make mention of what you’re doing. Just let your parents look at you and marvel at what a responsible, helpful person you’ve become.
The other thing you should do is make sure to get good grades in school. The way this works for you is that it shows your parents that you can work well under pressure. You’re diligent and responsible, and you can be trusted with a dog.
15. Use the Cute Factor
I’m probably going to be hated by parents everywhere by letting you in on this secret, but since this is “Just for Kids,” I’m going to do it. Your ace in the hole is the “cute factor.” This is where you say, “Oh, come on, Mom, come on Dad, just come with me and see the puppies – they’re so CUTE!”
You know what? They ARE. And it’s a hard, hard heart that won’t respond to that cuteness.
The Final Word
I don’t like kids all that much and I’ve never made any secret of that, but I do like kids who love dogs, and want dogs. So if you’re one of those kids, I hope that these suggestions have helped you to find ways to get your parents to let you have a dog. Keep in mind, though, that it might not happen overnight. So be helpful around the house, and show your parents that you’re responsible and committed.
Try not to nag. I know that’s hard, because I know what it’s like to want a dog more than anything. Be patient, but be firm in letting your parents know that you want a dog, and you’re ready for one.
I hope that you get the dog you’ve been dreaming of, and I hope you’ll come back here from time to time.