Has your little one been asking for a pet? – A pet of the four-legged, furry, “arf-arf” variety? I know your knee-jerk reaction may be to say no; but you’d be surprised to find that there are some actual benefits to making a dog a part of the family.

Of course, your kids having a dog will come with the obvious benefits of increased physical activity due to all of that running and walking that come along with playing with Fido; but did you know that dogs can contribute to children’s educational development? It’s true!

According to Richard Peterson, Vice President of Education for Kiddie Academy (a national educational child care provider) a dog can serve as a living, breathing teaching tool.

Living with a dog can be extremely beneficial for children’s educational development. In fact, many Kiddie Academy classrooms include visits from R.E.A.D. Reading Education Assistance Dogs or therapy dogs to help us teach lessons about community helpers, character education and literacy.

Mr. Peterson offers up five awesome benefits of having a dog:

Learning how to properly put things into sequence is an important skill your child needs to practice in order to master reading comprehension. Dog ownership actually offers real world examples. For instance, your child understands that to take the dog for a walk, I first need to be properly dressed, call the dog, clip on his leash and then walk outside.

You can easily reinforce the lesson of sequencing by talking about what happens if you miss a step in the dog walking process. For example, if the dog isn’t on his leash before leaving the house, he may run outside be hurt or get lost.

benefits-of-having-a-dog-3Understanding why things happen the way they do is a life skill every child ends up developing over time. Deciphering cause and effect relationships is a task that your child will practice throughout school and, of course, throughout the rest of their life.

A dog can easily offer daily demonstrations of cause and effect in action. For example, I left my homework on the floor and as a result, the dog chewed it up. (Contrary to popular belief, this is not at all an excuse a teacher will accept. lol)

Dogs are brilliant at teaching the character trait of empathy. Pets, in general, often sense our moods and offer a soothing presence in times of stress. This makes them great role models for children!

Whenever you get the opportunity, point out these canine behaviors to your children and encourage them to think and talk about how they can incorporate those actions into their own lives.

A family dog is a four-legged science experiment! Think about it. Whether you’re exploring together how wild animals became domesticated, or the non verbal communication skills they employ, your dog can provide countless science lessons.

Something as simple as measuring the proper amount of food to give to the dog is an everyday application of math principles.

By design, dogs pay close attention and learn about their environment in order to survive. Listening and following directions is also important to your child’s school success. Children can test the application of listening skills by teaching simple commands to their dog, such as sit and stay.

Spot can also be the perfect audience to keep a child’s secrets and listen to their stories. 😉


Do you know of any other ways that having a dog can positively affect your child’s life? How about some fun dog stories? Let me see them in the comments!




  1. March 31, 2014 at 10:50 am — Reply

    All of us can learn unconditional love. Dogs teach us that they love us, no matter what we do. They don’t make us earn their love; It just pours out of them so exuberantly. Not only does that teach us to love others this way but to understand God’s love for us.

  2. C. Lee Reed
    February 21, 2014 at 4:08 am — Reply

    I think that children (and adults) can also learn…to quote Mufasa…the "circle of life". Inevitably, our pets pass away and while it's a hard lesson, it teaches children understanding of our short blessed life here on Earth. To be thrilled that we get each day. And after the untimely passing of a few pets, they are better adept at handling the passing of a family member. Great post. What would our life be like without animals?

    • February 21, 2014 at 6:27 am — Reply

      VERY good point! Loving the Lion King reference. lol. Thanks for adding that thought! 🙂

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