I want a dog!!

Dear Suzie,
I really want a dog. I am not allowed one though until I move out of my parents home or until my dad retires but that ia years away. Wat can i do to make them let my have one? Please write back soon.

I really sympathise with you cos I’m a pet person myself, though we have cats. And I have to say for all sorts of reasons, I think kids need to grow up with animals. Having pets can teach you to be less selfish, to recognise that you have to be responsible. Treat your animal the way you might sometimes treat your Mum and they won’t smile understandingly and come back for more – they’ll avoid you!

Having a dog contributes to good health – walking the dog several times a day can help you keep up that healthy exercise, and looking after it can help you learn how to care for others.

And maybe that’s why your parents are saying no; they feel when it comes to feeding and walking the dog twice a day it will fall to them, once the early excitement has worn off.

So what can you do? You can’t MAKE them let you have one. You might be able to persuade them, though. And to do that, you have to do your research, present your case and make them an offer.

Give them a list of the good things about having a dog – such as the fun of playing with it, the health aspects of walking and playing with it, and the emotional benefits of having someone in the house always pleased to see you. You do the work to come up with at least 10 points on that list.

Follow up with a list of the things you recognise as downsides – the fact the dog has to be kept clean, fed, exercised etc and how you propose to make sure this is done. Again, you do the work to come up with at least 10 points on that list.

Propose a chore chart of who will do what, when, and offer to negotiate and sign a contract to show you will keep up your end. Be realistic about this. It’s no use saying you’ll do it all – you can’t, and won’t and that’s when your parents will say “Oh yes, you say this but I know you’ll let us down.” A winning negotiation begins with recognising what you really can do and what you can’t.

If, instead of nagging, whining and wheedling, you approach this in a calm and mature way you may make a case god enough to win them over. If they still says no, ask them to explain their reasons, and listen to them and respect them. Then you can ask if there is anything you can do to overcome these.

It all comes down to discussion rather than argument. I really do wish you luck – let me know what happens!

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