My favorite season of the year is here. No, I’m not talking about pumpkin-spiced-anything. I’m talking about that time of year when all my friends decide it’s time to get a puppy and I get all the perks of puppy snuggles with none of the pee. So while many people speak of parenting in terms of how many diapers are changed and how many teeth come in, there’s another type of parenting that is equally involved: doggy parenting. In fact, I’m fairly certain that my Labradoodle is better trained than most two year olds. In case you doubt me, I’ve come up with (in true Buzzfeed fashion) 10 Reasons Why Parenting My Dog is Better than Parenting a Baby.
1. Louie is always happy to see me.
Often, my friends post funny photos of why their babies are crying. Maybe they got told “no” or really wanted to fall down the stairs, but inevitably there’s a meltdown for some irrational reason. Sometimes they walk in their home to serenade of screams. With Louie however, he always greets me at the door and brings me a toy. Even if I’ve been gone only 5 minutes. No meltdowns here.
2. Louie Puts Away His Toys.
Tornado, hurricanes, earthquakes… young children are often categorized as mini natural disasters. Their short attention spans make it hard for them to be entertained for more than 3.5 minutes, much less remember where they got that pile of legos that they dumped on the floor– or for that matter, how to put them away. Louie however, puts his toys one by one in his bin when asked to “clean up”.
3. Louie Uses His Manners
Teaching a child to say please and thank you can be difficult. Basic manners are hard to come by these days. Louie however, woofs a quick “Please” especially when you may be holding something he wants.
4. My Dog Listens When I talk to Him
“Look at Me.” These words are often sternly uttered when disciplining a small child. It’s hard to make sure that short attention span is focused. Louie loves chatting with me and often wants to know my plans for the day. He listens intently when we talk. Best of all, he never talks back.
5. He is not a picky eater.
Trying new foods is often an adventure with a growing baby. Louie however, has no bias toward food… or other objects for that matter. He’s been known to gobble down anything that may meet the floor (he doesn’t intentionally get fed human food) and sometimes things that are not technically classified as ‘edible’ (ahem).
6. He has a high “word count”.
My parent friends are always talking about how many words their babies understand. The average vocabulary of an 18-month-old is about 10-15 words. After some very scholarly research (thank you Animal Planet), I’ve discovered that dogs can know up to 200 words. Louie can differentiate between all of his toys and most recently I’ve learned he understands when I spell “W-A-L-K”. I’d say he’s at about 150 words.
7. He Plays Well With Others.
Often, babies have to be told to play nicely and be gentle with younger children or pets. And if they are too young, they really just ignore the other child and do their own thing. Louie LOVES play dates, either with kids or other pups.
8. He always uses his “inside voice”.
Somewhere along the lines of learning, we figured out that having a big dog = having a big bark. So Louie learned volume control and has an ‘inside’ voice and an ‘outside’ voice when we are having conversation.
9. He’s does his own hair.
I don’t have to worry about tangles, tears or bad haircuts, and Louie has never tried to cut his own hair. This boy’s got it covered. In fact, he has SO much hair he sprinkles it about wherever he goes. He’ll even share it with you when you meet him. Consider it his parting gift. He’s just that kind.
10. Louie is the best sleeper.
While many parents are counting the seconds till naptime or bedtime, I’m relaxing with my puppy. This boy is a rock star at nap time. There’s nothing that Louie loves to do more than chill on the porch while I read a book and watch the activity in the neighborhood or nap in the sun. He’s also great at bedtime. Often, he wanders into my room at about 10:30 pm when he’s mad that I haven’t gone to bed yet.
Do I really think parenting a dog is better than parenting a child? Well, the verdict is still out, I don’t have kids yet. 😉
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