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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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.


  • Feeding
  • Watering
  • Walking
  • Brushing
  • Bathing


  • 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.

Outside Jobs in the Winter

Our house in the winter

Despite the blue skies and sunny weather we still have a lot of snow outside.  During the summer, there is an endless list of jobs that can be done, but that list gets significantly shorter when all is covered in snow.

I just have a short list of jobs, that I would love to add to.  If there are some jobs that you can think of, please tell me.  Miss Love enjoys being outside and is always looking for work.

This is all of I’ve got:

  • sweep the front porch (especially after a fresh snow)
  • pick up recycling (the wind and my bad aim are not a good combination)
  • shovel the walkway (it turns out they won’t deliver mail if you don’t)

I have debated adding walking the dog to the list.  It would only involve walking back and forth in front of our house and the neighbors a bunch of times.

It seems like one of those things that should be a chore, since he is everyone’s dog.  But he keeps running away wandering off, and it may just be a lack of good exercise. 

Right now I am at the point that I would pay somebody to do almost anything that keeps me from having to call up and down the street looking for our dog.

What do you think?