Games of ball in the garden, chasing each other around the park, cuddles on the sofa - there are many reasons why children love having a pet pooch in the family.

But as well as being a great deal of fun, owning a dog has a number of other important benefits for kids, especially if they're willing to get involved in pet care.

"My own children have grown up with German shepherds and they have all been taught how to behave around each other," says Steven Havers, dog behaviour and training expert at haversspecialiseddogtraining.co.uk.

"They have also learned to appreciate responsibility as our dogs depend on us for family life, exercise and food so they actually have a great deal in common."

While the ultimate responsibility for any pet should always lie with an adult, owning a dog can be a great way for youngsters to appreciate the need to be dependable and take care of their animal.

By delegating simple pet care tasks to your kids - such as feeding the pooch their dry dog food, grooming their coat once a day or refilling the water bowl - you can help foster a sense of responsibility among your brood.

And according to Steven, another great way to actively involve your children in dog care is to include them in any training sessions.

He says: "My own children have also gained an understanding of dog training as they come with me to my dog behaviour classes and I would positively encourage any parent or parents to involve their children in the training of the family dog so the sense of shared responsibility is developed and encouraged."

However, it is still essential for owners to remember that kids can be forgetful, so it is important that a responsible adult always checks that all care tasks are carried out in order to keep both pooch and children happy.

Written by: Hannah