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3 Lessons Learned from Parenting a Pet

August 1, 2012

I’m a newlywed not a parent but some days I’m not so sure about that. With marriage not only did I get a new person living with me, I also got a dog. Lacey is a cute little Doxle (dachshund-beagle mix) who is apparently bent on teaching my wife and me how to be good parents. One recent incident taught us several parenting lessons.

Be in sync – My wife got up in the morning and let Lacey outside. It wasn’t long before Lacey came charging back into the house and jumped up on the bed I was still trying to get out of. I sat up and gave her a look which she responded to by giving me those sad puppy dog eyes. Now Lacey knows the rule that she doesn’t get on the bed unless one of us calls her up. As my wife walked back into the room, I gave the dog the Off command. Rather than obeying me, Lacey responded with every child’s favorite trick of when Dad denies you, go ask Mom. Luckily for me, my wife wasn’t giving in to the puppy dog eyes either and after Lacey knew both her parents were opposed to her presence on the bed she jumped back to the floor.

You CAN’T ignore me –Just like a child, after having her request denied, Lacey started with the back talk and whining, demanding we pay attention to her and her request. Despite her whining fit, we remained steadfast in our convictions, knowing that if we gave in to the noise it would only affirm that back talking will eventually get you what you want. So after a few minutes, rather than giving in and allowing Lacey back on the bed, I decided to divert her attention by finally getting out of bed.

You don’t want to ignore me – While the dog was happy for me to be out of bed, I was happy to not be relearning another one of her parenting lessons. It’s great when a pet or child decides to give you a break and play by themselves, however it’s not a good idea to just ignore them while they’re out of your sight. Whenever I’ve done this to Lacey, it usually results in her finding something dead at the abandoned house next door or strewing the contents of the trash can across the floor. While I don’t think I’ll ever have to worry about my future children rolling in dead animal parts, there is always the chance that too much alone time will result in broken lamps, broken limbs, walls covered in crayon, or the floor covered in milk.

~Curt

What have you learned from raising a pet? Would you recommend parenting one before having kids?

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