My first response to Momma Mindy’s “Why I had Kids Not Dogs” was “Uhoh! I have two dogs and just started adding kids! I’m in trouble.”
The truth is, though, that I am really super happy that we had dogs first and then kids. Our pups have taught me so many lessons that prepared me for motherhood. It ended up being one of the reasons that my husband and I decided we were ready! Although seemingly insignificant, one of the most life-altering aspects of going from no-dogs to dogs is that we would never sleep in again. We figured, well, we might as well have kids now. But seriously, here are some fantastic reasons why getting dogs can help prepare you and your spouse for parenthood.
1. Dogs need discipline.
Figuring out how to set boundaries and train our dogs allowed Adam and I to observe one another in the role of disciplinarian and teacher long before we will need to be united in these roles for our kids. We were able to learn together how to be the leaders that our dogs needed to feel confident and secure.
2. Dogs need a schedule.
I already mentioned that they WILL wake you in the morning to go out if you don’t wake up in time, but that’s just the beginning. We no longer could pack up and go at any moment when we wanted to go- there were always the dogs to consider. If we wouldn’t be home around the time they needed to eat or potty or walk, we had to make arrangements.
3. Dogs need love.
The best part of adopting our dogs was seeing the way that my husband loved on them. Our little girl dog, Natalie (Nattie), was terribly afraid of men when she first came to our home. She would hide under the table when my husband was around, but slowly and patiently Adam taught Nattie to trust him and love him back. Now her favorite nighttime activity (and Saturday activity) is to nap while snuggled up against Adam.
Since we just had our first little baby, I can confidently caveat that- NO, having children is not the same as having dogs. They bring each of these bullet points to the next level of responsibility. You CAN’T kennel your children for 8 hours a day, although I’m sure some of us wish that was an option— sometimes. So lest any dog-loving person be scared to make the jump to rescue or purchase a pup in the future, I would encourage you and your spouse to just do it- have dogs THEN kids. All of the work is worth the licks and lessons!