Are you ready for a puppy?
You know how moms get together and all they do is complain about their kids and all their weird quirks and how they get no sleep and how they are sad they have no friends and social life now and then 3 seconds later they turn around and say they wouldn't trade being a mom for the world? Well, same goes for a puppy to a lesser degree. Except mostly they wouldn't trade being a puppy owner for the world because they don't want to be judged and they have guilt and shame and feel they have something to prove to the world. People that don't have those things usually just get rid of the puppy. So now that I think about it, it's nothing like being a mom.
So, if you are considering getting a dog and your kids are still wee little sprouts, here are 5 things to consider before taking the plunge. And if you already have the puppy, be ready for a wild ride!
1. How old are your kids?
If you have older kids (I'm thinking age 8 and up) that can take the dog on a walk, open the door for the dog, use a commanding voice, pick up dog poo - then getting a puppy will be a lot easier. When your kids are little, the dog will not see them as someone to be respected. Also, little kids aren't tall enough for the dog not to take literally every snack out of their hands if they are walking and eating. They will still play with them hopefully, but they might also ignore them completely too. Luckily my pup has been great about playing with my kids, but mostly he is my dog.
2. 2 words: potty-training
It took training my barely 3 year-old wayyyyyyy less time (by a couple hundred days give or take) than it has taken my toy poodle to get trained. If you are ready to get a dog, be prepared to gate off a section of your house that your dog will be in for anywhere from six months to a year, and in our case, escape from and break down multiple times. This special gate (that won't work) will keep your dog from pooing in all corners of your house every chance that he can get. If your dog is smart, he will try to be sneaky about it instead of just actually learning like a normal human being. Why? Because he's a dog. Now, the trick to potty-training is catching your dog in the act. You can't scold him later, you actually have to be watching him for months on end to make sure he's not going to try to traipse off and poo on your living room rug and so you'll be there to catch him and yell at him and put him outside. Which brings me to...
Yes dogs bark and that's all well and good and very annoying. But... let's not forget the sheer amount of noise out of you (yelling) and your children's mouths (mostly crying) the dog will create. As stated above, you will be yelling at him non-stop to stop pooing, peeing, and otherwise being a nuisance. Be prepared to also yell and throw out many an exasperated sigh while he continually chews off all the Barbie hands, on all the furniture (luckily he hasn't done this one yet in our family), children's faces, arms, feet, etc. at all possible moments. And your kids will happily play with the dog and he will follow them around the backyard and love him and snuggle with him and he will sleep on them, but let's not leave out the amazing amount of times the dog will also make your child cry. He WILL bite them if he is a puppy. Out of play, out of being bothered, accident or not, your children will get bitten by a puppy. Which brings me to...
Will getting a puppy destroy your marriage? Probably not. Will you husband blame you every time the dog bites your child? Possibly - Depends on how excited he was in the first place about the idea of getting a dog. If he begged you for 3 hours not to get the dog and then finally accepted his fate, then the likelihood of him blaming you for things the dog did goes up. (Totally NOT speaking from my exact experience here...) Post about the husband being the head of the family coming SOON!
5. Setting yourself up for success with the right kind of houseMy friend got a puppy and didn't have a fenced backyard, so her husband had to take the dog on an hour walk every single morning so the dog could do his business. For my dog, I put him in the backyard first thing in the morning, and after a few minutes he's gone to the bathroom and I can let him back in(now that's he's potty-trained). But... we don't have a dog door. This is a HUGE deal. I didn't think so, but I have to think about the dog so much more and his bathroom needs and let him out every couple of hours as a preemptive measure against my house being utterly soiled. This will be something on my list of things I beg Nick for this year. Other things to think about is the amount of carpet in your house, and if you will be able to keep the dog away from peeing on it a hundred thousand times before he gets potty trained (and remember your fences aren't going to work.)Ok... I've done a lot of complaining, some good things that have come of this is that we go on family walks so much more, crumbs are constantly licked off our floor, I have someone to snuggle when my kids are in bed and my lap is always warm. My kids love animals and now won't be scared of other people's pets as they get older. They will learn from a young age how to take care of a dog, and Amelia has already learned how to put Beau out to go potty. There's a bunch more I can name, and I wouldn't trade it for the world! (Wink wink)