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On the Job Training – Doggie Duties

Often parents mention “Learning Responsibility” as a top reason for owning a pet.  I think this is a terrible reason for owning a pet.  However, learning responsibility is generally a side effect that cannot be avoided.

Here are some things that you could expect, or at least encourage your kids to learn as they take care of pets (some of them may apply to plant care, too, if you have no pets)

  • Others depend on you. Whether it is for food, bathroom, or walks, pets (and eventually coworkers and bosses) depend on you to do your job.
  • Being Consistent.  You can’t skip, you have to do it every day.
  • How to motivate.  Using positive rewards works on people, too, not just animals.
  • How to lead.  Teaching a pet tricks, how to obey, how to trust; all of these things are great practice for dealing with real people in a real workplace.
  • How to love.  It sounds like a crazy skill to bring to the workplace, but loving others is the best way to work peacefully towards a common goal.

It may seem like forever before your kids learn the responsibility of taking care of a pet, but these are lessons that will stay with them for a life time.

What have you learned from having a pet?

Meatless Monday – Doggie Biscuits

We have had all kinds of dogs: Deaf dogs that could hear the can opener from a block away, picky dogs that would not eat people food unless it was sliced American processed cheese from the wrapper, and now we have a dog that won’t eat treats at all.  How do you train a dog that won’t take treats? 

But that doesn’t stop us from trying every kind of treat available.  And yes, that gets expensive.  Especially since we end up giving the rest of the box away after it has been rejected by our Dog-Food-Only dog. 

Instead of buying treats, I thought it would be smart to make some. I found this great site: http://www.bullwrinkle.com/Assets/Recipes/Recipes.htm and they had recipes for every kind of treat you can imagine. 

What a great way to get my kids into the kitchen, and teach them a thing or two about money at the same time.  Treats can be as fancy as you want to make them, and they are still way cheaper than what you can get in the store. 

I thought I would round out this Dog series by adding a great recipe for dog biscuits. 


Milk Bone Dog Biscuits
 

3/4 cup hot water
1/3 cup margarine
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3 cups whole wheat flour
 In large bowl pour hot water over the margarine. Stir in powdered milk, salt, and egg. Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for a few minutes to form stiff dough. Pat or roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into bone shapes. Bake at 325 degrees for 50 minutes. Cool. They will dry out quite hard. Makes about 1 1/4 pounds of biscuits. Costs around 30 cents per pound. 

Kids could play with this like play dough, before baking.  Roll out the dough, cut it into shapes, and then bake it up. 

What is even better, these would make great gifts for that person who has everything (or at least a dog).  These could also be made and sold, creating a job potential for kids. 

 
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Time is Money

Quick.

Run around the house and change all your clocks.

$0.10 for every clock you find that needs to be changed.

Don’t forget the car and the Microwave.  (Hint: Spring Forward)

On your mark.  Get set. Go.

Job Vs. Chore – Doggie Duties

Our dog is a family dog.  He belongs to everybody, which means that the responsibilities are shared between all of us.  But some responsibilities don’t have to be done every day, or even every week, so to me, those are the things that made it on the job list.

But we have a small dog.  A big dog may have a different list.

Chores:

  • Feeding
  • Watering
  • Walking
  • Brushing
  • Bathing

Jobs:

  • Clipping/cutting hair
  • Trimming nails
  • Scooping poop

If our dog was bigger, we probably wouldn’t bathe him as much, but then we might have to scoop poop more often.

Unfortunately most of the things on the job list are more appropriate for older kids, so ours will have to wait a couple of years before they will be making money from dog jobs.

Our Dog Runs Away

I am not sure whether or not to take this personally.

We thought we had everything figured out.  We would wait to get a dog until we had our fence up.  Well, Shadow can fit through our fence.

Taking 3 kids around the neighborhood yelling for a delinquent dog is one thing.  But we are just months away from having a newborn. 

We have already invested in a more detailed dog collar, one that includes cell phone numbers and street address.  But all that does is help people return him to us after he wanders.

Now we are looking to invest in some higher tech security measures.  Like Chicken wire.  That just screams tacky to me, but we may be getting desperate.

Or there is the electric fence option.  I think it sounds mean, and more expensive.  But it would work even if our gate was left open.

I would take whatever works.  But what does it teach our kids, especially about money?

Tell me what you think.

Free Dog

We were so excited when we first got our dog.  He fit all the things on our list, the top 3 being he didn’t bark, he was “hypoallergenic”, and he was already potty trained.

We thought we were ready for a dog.

We had a fence.  Our kids were getting old enough to help out.  We were home during the day to keep him company.

Apparently there is more to taking care of a dog than that.

I grew up with dogs, how could I not know about the hidden responsibilities of dog ownership?

I’m not saying we would ever give Shadow back.  I just wished we had considered these other points before taking on a big responsibility.

  • They still have to go to the vet.  Even if they are not sick, you still have to get shots and stuff.  It’s like having another kid.
  • Even the best dogs chew on stuff.  We have been quite fortunate in the small number of toys that have been destroyed.  But still…
  • We can’t go away for the weekend.  Well, we can and do, but now we have to find puppy care.  If we weren’t so cheap, we could take him to “puppy summer camp” but instead we have relied on generous friends. 
  • Small dogs still poop.  During the summer, it wasn’t an issue: small dry and discreet.  But now that our snow is starting to thaw, we can see the value in shoveling a puppy trail a little bit further from the door.  If only…
  • You have to groom them.  Part of the joys of being a “hypoallergenic” dog is that they don’t shed.  Which means you have to  clip their fur.  Now normal people may pay to have this done, but we do it ourselves.  The big problem is that our dogs fur is so fine, you can’t use normal clippers on it.  We have to use scissors.  It takes forever.
  • Some dogs get sick.  We have been lucky to have only dealt with an ear infection so far.  But I know that many dogs may have some serious health issues in their life.  After my parents dog died this last summer, I realized that I had never really considered the implications of what would happen if our dog got really sick, like cancer or even arthritis.

When we decided to get a dog, we added a category into our budget every month to cover things like dog food, and license fees, now I am wondering if we need to set aside a bit of cash to cover unexpected things for our dog.  Wouldn’t it be great if the vet was covered under our health insurance?

So if our kids ever ask for another dog, I am going to have to review this list and make the decision with my eyes wide open.