How to Get Kids to Help with Dog Chores

The idyllic mental picture of children dutifully feeding, walking and caring for the new family dog is but a dream for thousands of parents. Children promise the moon in order to get the dog, but after the newness wears off, their parents are up to their ankles in dog chores (and doo-doo) while their kids play video games.

It's easy to get frustrated. While your children shut themselves in their room, something must be done to keep the disappointed dog from getting the short end of the stick. These five tips should motivate the kids to pitch in:

1. Name it: Create a chore chart that renames typical dog tasks. Feeding turns into Chow Time. Walking is Doggie Do time. (Kids will find this funny!) Training becomes Tricky Fido. These tasks sound like fun instead of work. makes it easy with this printable chore chart.

2. Claim it: If you make your own chore chart, list the tasks for the day at appropriate times with a box at the side to be initialed when finished. Each week, divide up the chores democratically instead of assigning them. Empowering your kids to make their own decisions and choose their chores helps improve their attitude toward the tasks.

3. Teach them well: Kids will enjoy teaching the dog tricks much more than the same old sit and stay. Try the basic "Shake" or "High-five" prompts when the dog wants something you have, like a treat or new toy. Go for "Roll Over" when the dog is tired, so he’ll lie down willingly. Be patient and set easy goals so kids can celebrate small victories.

4. Age-appropriate: Your preschooler may adore your canine gentle giant, but don’t let him volunteer to walk the dog alone. Steer the little one toward the Chow Time chore. Measuring and pouring food into the bowl is an important task that the dog will certainly appreciate.

5. And the winner is: At the end of the week, review the chart and offer a reward for jobs well done. These could be movie passes, a sleepover or just a favorite take-out meal (with dessert!) for your little employees.

Tackle this problem with determination and patience, and your workload should get a little lighter. View the printer-friendly downloadable version of the Chores template

Do your kids help out with dog chores? Let us know how you motivated your troops.