Good Neighbour Pets
- Understand the difference between responsible and irresponsible pet ownership.
- Understand how responsible pet ownership is an important part of getting along in a community and being good neighbours.
- Identify the specific ways in which pet owners can be responsible.
- Describe how pets benefit from responsible pet ownership.
Many people don’t realize how their pet’s behaviour can adversely affect their neighbours, and that well behaved pets are happier and safer.
Curriculum Connection: Alberta Education Program of Studies
Kindergarten: I Belong
Appreciate how their participation in their communities affects their sense of belonging.
- Develop an awareness of the importance of sharing the responsibility for caring for the environment .
- Appreciate the impact that group members have on each other .
- Demonstrate respect for the diverse ways individuals cooperate, work and play together.
- Assume responsibility for personal actions, words and choices.
- Examine ways in which people create a climate of cooperation by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions for inquiry.
- What are the rules at home, at school and in the community? Are there similar rules at home, at school and in the community?
- What are the benefits of working cooperatively with others? What are challenges that groups face in creating a peaceful atmosphere? In what ways can people contribute to a group or community?
- What actions show care and concern for the environment?
Grade 1: My World - Home, School and Comunity
Value the groups and communities to which they belong.
- Demonstrate a willingness to share and cooperate with others.
- Appreciate how their actions might affect other people and how the actions of others might affect them.
- Demonstrate a willingness to resolve issues and/or problems peacefully.
- Assume responsibility for their individual choices and actions.
Determine what makes their communities thrive by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions for inquiry.
- In what ways do people cooperate in order to live together peacefully?
- How do groups make decisions?
- In what ways do people help one another at home, at school and in groups to ensure the vitality of their community?
- How do our actions and decisions contribute to the well-being of groups and communities?
- How does caring for the natural environment contribute to the well being of our community?
Grade 2: Canada’s Dynamic Communities
Demonstrate skills of cooperation, conflict resolution and consensus building:
- Demonstrate the ability to deal constructively with diversity and disagreement.
- Work and play in harmony with others to create a safe and caring environment.
- Consider the needs and ideas of others.
Have students make a list of how pets can be good and bad neighbours. Guide students to include these issues:
- Quiet dogs versus barking a lot
- Calm and friendly dogs versus growling, biting, scaring people or jumping on them
- Spay/neuter versus producing more puppies and kittens that need homes
- Staying in the yard or on leash versus running loose and
- Chasing other pets
- Hunting at bird feeders
- Jumping in front of cars or chasing cars
- Chasing cows or other farm animals
- Digging in trash and gardens
- Going to the bathroom where they shouldn’t
- Getting injured
What do responsible and irresponsible mean? Divide all the behaviours brainstormed into these two categories.
Our Neighbours’ Pets Poster
Use the poster Our Neighbour’s Pets to have students work in small groups to identify all the examples of irresponsible pet ownership.
What problem could be caused by the irresponsible behavior?
- angry neighbours
- car accidents
- injured pets hurt by broken glass, eating poisonous things, fighting with other animals, car accidents
- lost pets - hungry and cold
- pollution/germs from cat and dog poop and spilled garbage
- children hurt by dog bites
- unwanted pets
Draw your own picture of a responsible or irresponsible pet owner.
Look at your list of things that are irresponsible. When pets do bad things that bother neighbours, whose fault is it? The pet or the owner? How did you learn how to behave? Who told you the rules?
Have students remember times when they were blamed for a mistake they made when no one had told them how to behave? How did they feel – confused? Angry? Embarrassed??
In small groups describe, dramatize and discuss situations in which pets don’t know the rules and cause problems. How do you think the pets feel when they get in trouble? How could this have been prevented? Is it fair to blame the pet if they don’t know? Can we expect the pet to learn the very first time they are told or do they need reminders?
How is responsible pet behaviour similar to responsible behaviour of children?
Think of all the ways that you can help your pet to be a good neighbour.
- How can you keep your cat from wandering into other people’s yards and digging in their gardens or chasing birds?
- Will your cat be safer indoors? How can you make sure your cat isn’t lonely or bored in the house?
How can you keep your dog from running loose or causing problems when he is out?
- Fencing yards
- Keeping dogs on leashes except in off leash parks
- Using poop bags
What can you do to make sure your dog doesn’t jump on people, growl or bite? Will your dog be happier if he is trained? Do yelling and hitting work to train a dog? How can you make sure he still gets enough exercise and play?
Cats and dogs
Why is good identification (tattoos, tags, licenses, microchips) important? How can being lost hurt your pet and cause a lot of work for other people?
How will all this help you to get along with your neighbours? How can it help keep your pet safe?
Create a Good Neighbour Award
Students could create a “Good Neighbor” award for a pet owner.
What qualifications would the neighbour and his/her pets need to win the award?
Have students design and make the award and give it to a responsible pet owner they know.