How To Take Care of a Dog: Age Appropriate Dog Duties for Kids & Teenagers

Owning a dog is an excellent way of teaching kids to be responsible, as well as giving them the joy of totally reciprocated love and devotion from their furry friend!

There are lots of things that kids and young adults can do to help out with caring for the family dog that really don’t feel like chores at all. However, if you find that older kids lack the motivation to do the jobs, offering them extra pocket money is usually a great incentive (even though you probably don’t need to spend more money)!

We’ve put together this guide on what doggy care jobs are suitable for kids of all ages. Why not sit down with your children and talk to them about what jobs would be good for them to do?

Don’t forget, petting your pup every day is an essential “job” that needs to be done by someone!

Up to 2 Years

Even the youngest tots won’t want to be left out when it comes to caring for their beloved furry friend! And getting a very young child accustomed to being around your dog will help your youngster to develop a lifelong love of animals.

With that being said, we typically recommend introducing your toddlers in a controlled environment.  Some dogs are tolerant of children and some dogs are not.  You should never leave your child unsupervised with your dog, and introduce them to each other slowly.


Two to Four Years

  • At this age, learning how to pet your dog safely is your child’s first job.
  • Young kids tend to grab and pull at a pet, especially its fur and tail, which won’t be pleasant for your pup and could result in a nip for your child!
  • Show your child how to gently stroke your dog, while keeping their fingers clear of sensitive areas such as your pup’s eyes, ears, mouth, and bottom!
  • Now that your child is learning to speak, another “job” is for them to learn how to say their dog’s name.

Age Four

  • At age four, your child should know how to pet the family dog safely. Encourage your child to use the dog’s name as well.
  • Now, you might want to teach your child how to brush the dog too, always under close supervision and very gently.
  • Let your child give the dog a treat by dropping one onto the floor and allowing the dog to pick it up.

Age Five

  • At age five, you can teach your child how to walk your dog by holding the leash. Don’t let your child hold the leash by themselves yet though! Why not buy a leash with an extra loop that your child can hold as you both “walk” your dog?
  • Your dog loves treats! Teach your child how to safely give treats to the dog, using a flat, open palm.
  • Let your child brush your dog for a few minutes with your help.
  • Encourage your child to pet your dog every day.

Age Six

  • By age six, your child will be able to call your dog by name. Now you can teach your child about some of the commands you use with your dog such as “sit” and “stay.” Be sure to manage this process closely so that neither party becomes confused or frustrated!
  • Your child can also start to enjoy supervised play sessions with your dog. Playing fetch is always a good game to begin with!
  • Allow your child to brush your dog, keeping a close eye on them from a distance.
  • Your six-year-old child can help you walk your dog by holding onto the same leash, using the extra loop we mentioned earlier.
  • Encourage your child to spend time playing fetch or ball with your dog.
  • Allow your child to give the dog a treat, using an open palm. Be sure to stay close by in case of problems.
  • Show your child how to practice simple tricks with your dog, including “shaking hands!”
  • Your child can now pet the family dog every day.

Age Seven and Eight

  • Kids of seven and eight should now be able to hold your dog’s leash on their own under supervision, provided the dog is small or very well-behaved. Allow your child to practice walking the dog on his leash in an enclosed space.
  • Unsupervised play sessions in a safely enclosed area may now be appropriate.
  • Your child can now pet the family dog every day.
  • Allow your child to brush the dog but stay close-by to make sure they can manage the job on their own.
  • Let your child give the dog a treat, using an open palm. Be sure to stay nearby in case of problems.
  • Now your child can practice simple tricks with your dog, including “shaking hands.”
  • Show your child how to play “fetch” with your dog. For example, throw a ball or your dog’s favorite toy for your pup and encourage him to retrieve it.
  • Teach your child all the commands that your dog knows, for example, “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down.” Be sure to supervise your child when he’s practicing giving your dog these commands!

Ages Nine & Ten

  • Kids of nine and ten years old can take on a little more responsibility. You can teach your kids about your dog’s food and water requirements. Show your children what your dog eats, how much he’s fed, and when to feed him.
  • Under supervision, let your child prepare your dog’s meals.
  • Your child can put out fresh water for your dog each day, remembering to wash out the water bowl first.
  • A good job that your children can do with minimal supervision is washing up the dog’s dishes and cleaning up your pup’s eating area.
  • Daily grooming like deshedding can be assigned to your child.
  • Daily petting is also a “duty” that your child can now do unsupervised.
  • If you have a small, well-behaved dog, your child can now take him for a short walk on his leash.
  • Your child can reward your dog with treats.
  • A daily trick practice session is great fun for dog and handler alike!
  • Your child can now play games with your dog, including “fetch” and hide-and-seek.
  • Your child may now spend time practicing familiar commands with your dog, including “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down.”
  • When it’s bath time for your pup, you can show your child how to give your dog a shampoo-and-set!

Stress the importance of keeping water and soap away from your dog’s face, and emphasize why it’s essential to rinse away all the shampoo so that your dog’s skin doesn’t get itchy and dehydrated. Explain why proper dog shampoo should always be used to bathe your pet, rather than human shampoo or dish soap.


Age Eleven

  • By the age of 11, kids should be able to prepare your dog’s daily meals and wash up his dirty dishes with minimal supervision.
  • Now, it’s time for your child to begin teaching the dog some new tricks. You may need to help them so that your dog doesn’t get confused!
  • Your child can put out fresh water for your dog each day, remembering to wash out the water bowl.
  • Your child can groom your dog every day if necessary.
  • Daily petting is also a “duty” that your child can do.
  • If you have a small, well-behaved dog, your child can take him for a short walk.
  • Give the dog some treats.
  • Practice tricks with your dog.
  • Play games with your dog, including “fetch” and hide-and-seek.
  • Spend time practicing familiar commands with your dog, including “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down.”
  • Help you to bathe your dog when necessary.

Age Twelve

  • Teach your child about signs of health in your dog and explain the importance of annual vaccinations. When your pup’s jabs are due, take your child with you to the vet’s.
  • A trip to the vet’s for your dog is usually very exciting for kids. Get your kids to ask the vet lots of questions about your dog’s health and how to care for him properly.
  • Show your child how to give your dog a basic daily health check.
  • Prepare your dog’s daily meals and wash up dishes with minimal supervision.
  • Spend some time each day teaching your dog a few new tricks. Be sure that you’re on hand to help if necessary.
  • Put out fresh water for your dog each day, remembering to wash out the water bowl.
  • Groom your dog every day if necessary.
  • Daily petting is also a “duty” that your child can do.
  • Take your dog for a short walk on his leash.
  • Give your dog some treats.
  • Practice tricks with your dog.
  • Play games with your dog, including “fetch” and hide-and-seek.
  • Spend time practicing familiar commands with your dog, including “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down.”
  • Your child can now help you to bathe your dog when necessary.
  • If your dog goes to obedience classes, take your child with you and show him how to help.

Age Thirteen and Fourteen

There are quite a few doggy care tasks that your teenager should be able to carry out, including:

  • Giving your dog a basic weekly health check.
  • Preparing your dog’s daily meals and wash up dishes without supervision.
  • Putting out fresh water for your dog each day, remembering to wash out the water bowl.
  • Grooming your dog every day if necessary.
  • Petting your dog every day.
  • Taking the dog out for a walk on his leash.
  • Giving your dog some treats.
  • Teaching your dog new tricks.
  • Practicing tricks with your dog.
  • Playing games with your dog, including “fetch” and hide-and-seek.
  • Spending time practicing familiar commands with your dog, including “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down.”
  • Helping you to bathe your dog when necessary.
  • Attending obedience classes with you and your dog.
  • Vacuuming up dog hair.
  • Grooming your dog.
  • Brushing your dog’s teeth (under supervision).
  • Make veterinary appointments when asked to do so.

Age Fifteen

  • A 15-year-old teenager should be able to walk your dog on their own. That includes picking up after the dog and knowing how to safely and responsibly dispose of dog mess.

Other tasks that your 15-year-old teen can do include:

  • Giving your dog a basic weekly health check.
  • Preparing your dog’s daily meals and wash up dishes without supervision.
  • Putting out fresh water for your dog each day, remembering to wash out the water bowl.
  • Grooming your dog every day if necessary.
  • Petting your dog every day.
  • Taking the dog out for a walk on his leash.
  • Giving your dog some treats.
  • Teaching your dog new tricks.
  • Practicing tricks with your dog.
  • Playing games with your dog, including “fetch” and hide-and-seek.
  • Spending time practicing familiar commands with your dog, including “sit,” “stay,” and “lie down.”
  • Helping you to bathe your dog when necessary.
  • Attending obedience classes with you and your dog.
  • Vacuuming up dog hair.
  • Grooming your dog.
  • Brushing your dog’s teeth.
  • Make veterinary appointments when asked to do so.

Wrapping Up

When it comes to dogs, there’s always something to do!  Keep in mind that specialized tasks like grinding nails back with a dremel should be handled by an adult.

You can help out your mom and dad by doing some of the jobs that are essential to keep your pup happy and healthy. Be sure to sit down with your parents and look over this guide with them first!

A note to parents: For the safety and comfort of both the child and the dog, always be sure to supervise young children when they are handling or interacting with the family pooch! Also, consider rewarding your teen with pocket money for successfully and diligently carrying out doggy chores!

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