Why dog ownership is good preparation for having children

Posted on December 28, 2011


Kid comes in third in the obedience competition

Welcome to this week’s instalment of WTF Wednesday where I don’t need to be an expert; I just need to know more than you.

This week’s question comes from a good friend who writes:

Dear IBMP,

Is getting a dog good preparation for having kids?

Yes, of course getting a dog is good preparation for having kids. They have many things in common and a properly chosen dog will, with just a few exceptions, teach you just about everything you need to know about having kids. And they don’t live as long so if you mess up you can always start again within 10 to 12 years. Your average kid lives a lot longer so you’re pretty much stuck with them once you bring them home.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the things you can learn from a dog about raising children:

  1. Young dogs have lots of energy. So do children. Both species will tend to use that energy for evil instead of good if left unchecked.  Learning to properly crate them and walk them regularly will ensure a happy, healthy child and protect your furniture from undue harm at the same time.
  2. Both dogs and children require obedience training. Dogs are considerably easier to train but will help you lay a strong foundation in the principles of obedience and prepare you for the more difficult task of training your child.
  3. Dogs are always hungry and dog ownership is great preparation for having a growing child. A good rule of thumb is that it takes roughly three great Danes to equal a single male teenager’s consumptive habits.
  4. Both species are quite fond of treats and can be easily bribed. Raising a dog is a great way to get used to always having something on hand to bribe your child. Note, however, that it has been my experience that Bacon Bites work better with most children than Snossages.
  5. Both numbers three and four lead to the obvious conclusion that the better fed dogs and children are, the better behaved they will be.
  6. While dogs are generally better at sharing than children, they do provide the opportunity to practice breaking up silly fights over stupid toys. Dogs will soon teach you that breaking up fights should be done with a long, sturdy stick or a fire hose set on full pressure. Not all parents agree with this technique so be prepared to grab your child and run immediately following its application.
  7. Drool. Both species generate copious amounts. Just get used to it.
  8. While dogs are better at waiting until you are not around and therefore smarter about not getting caught, both will test your patience when it comes to jumping on the furniture.
  9. Dogs are excellent preparation for stepping on toys left in inconvenient and/or dangerous places.  Dogs do not generally play with Legos (one of the worst offenders among children’s toys) but stepping on a squeaky toy while sneaking up the stairs at 2:00 in the morning after a night out with the boys can be far more damaging in the long run.

There are, of course, many more things about raising a child that dog ownership can prepare you for. We’ve only had time to touch on a few here. I’m guessing our readers will be happy to contribute some of their own.

It is also important to note some of the things that dog ownership will not prepare you for—the differences between dogs and children.

  1. Dogs don’t talk back.
  2. Dogs are better at sitting and staying.
  3. Dogs usually do things the first time they’re told.
  4. Dogs clean up after themselves at dinnertime.
  5. Dogs wipe their own butt right from the start . . . actually, what do they do? Ew. Never mind.
  6. Dogs are grateful for just about everything you do.
  7. Dogs love you whether you buy them Legos or not.
  8. Dogs don’t ask why.
  9. Dogs don’t complain nearly as much as kids do when you put them in the crate during dinner parties.
  10. 10. Dogs don’t ever require “The Big Talk” (although a crowbar is sometimes required to pry your dog off of your guest’s leg).
  11. 11. Birthdays are much less expensive and way easier to plan.
  12. 12. The 10-second rule for food on the ground does not apply for dogs.
  13. 13. Dogs are way easier to potty train.

OK, so maybe there are a lot of exceptions but clearly dog ownership is good preparation for having children. Of course, looking back through the differences one begins to wonder why we would want children at all. But then I’m reminded that one thing kids can do that dogs can’t is pick up all the poop in the backyard.  And I’m sure as hell not going to do it.

Problem solved. You’re welcome!

Do you have a question you’d like answered? Ask it below and if yours is used, you’ll receive a copy of the IBMP Dictionary of Parenting Terms ebook in whatever digital format you’d prefer.

Oh, and one other thing: The I’ve Become My Parents Dictionary of Parenting Terms is available for download for just $.99 this week only! You don’t need a fancy ebook reader so you have no excuse. Go use a tiny bit of that Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card and have a laugh. ‘Kay?

Posted in: Advice (bad)