Guinea pigs make the perfect first pet for a child. Of course, to this day they are still the perfect pet to me.:). I think a lot of parents are hesitant to buy a pet for a child because they worry that he or she won’t be able to take care of them. While this is definitely a valid concern, its equally concerning (if not more) that some parents will buy a “test” pet to “teach” young ones responsibility. No animal should be used as a test, but some are naturally good at teaching a child about responsibilty.
A fish, for instance, eats readily like a dog, but doesn’t come with the same personality traits that could confuse a child, like barking to play or eat. (Or if you’re a husky owner like me, they are vocal about everything haha.) A child might mistake the barking for dissatisfaction or even sometimes agression, and may not understand if they are doing a good job or not. But the child sees the fish respond to good care and learns that taking good care of the fish is manageable, rewarding, and important. –As a side note, I personally believe a dog makes ever family happier, and is a great asset to childhood :)–but I believe a dog is a big responsibility and is better shared as a family pet than as a young child’s sole responsibility.–
So again, I don’t believe a fish or a guinea pig should be purchased for the purpose of teaching or testing a child’s capacity to be responsible. No animal should! But in terms of children’s pets, I think that a guinea pig is ideal a very good place to start.
First and foremost, a guinea pig is very responsive and loving. They reward an attentive owner with adorable antics and gentle cuddling. They coo and squeak when pet, and are always ready for a game of crawl-to-the-treat. When a child participates firsthand in a relationship built on quality time and caretaking, it reinforces positive behavior. It gives the child a sense of bonding, and how giving of oneself can so often result in a gift in return.
Secondly, guinea pigs make an excellent first pet is because they are naturally social. A child won’t have to work and work to get the animal to a friendly state, because the guinea pig will be naturally curious and attentive. It’s not that training is a bad thing! However this just makes it easier for a newbie pet owner to bond and play with the animal. It allows positively with the pet on all sides, and leaves more time for fun with the guinea pig!
Another reason, similar to the previous paragraph, is that guinea pigs are naturally sweet tempered and docile. Yes, I did have an overly curious and energetic guinea pig, 🙂 however that took nothing away from his docility! I think that people often mistake rodent pets to all be one and the same, but guinea pigs stand out from the pack in the simple fact that they are incredibly sweet and well-behaved. Their tendency isn’t to chew on computer cords if they escape (unless your cord is made out of carrots!). And their tendency is not to bite or scratch or kick…all they want to do is squeal and play and eat. Docility definitely can’t be overlooked when choosing a pet for a child!
Maybe my favorite thing about guinea pigs, that makes them the perfect pet (for all ages!!) is just how cute and loving they are. Guinea pigs will always give back affection they are shown, and will delight anyone with their adorable antics. I couldn’t have asked for better little friends than the five sweet buddies I have owned. Whenever I go to the Pet store and see them rooting around in their cages, I’m reminded of my cute little pets, and how they really did make me so happy as a kid. I highly recommend them to any family looking to adopt a child-friendly pet…and I look forward to the day that I adopt another one myself!