Monday, September 13, 2010

Dogs Beat Kids Paws Down

As a father of two and master of none, the rugrat-less of society occasionally seek my advice on how to best prepare for parenthood. My answer is always the same:

Stay on birth control until you have raised a dog.

yellow_labrador_beggingDogs, regardless of age, are essentially furry children with tongues made for licking instead of sassing.

Like human babies, dogs require you to drastically alter your lifestyle to meet their every need. For both species, those needs generally revolve around eating and the inevitable body functions resulting thereafter.

Gerber versus Kibble `n' Bits, buying Pampers versus renting a Rug Doctor; poe-tay-toe, puh-tah-toe.

Regardless of species, you must also attend to either's education. I don't care how easy those "Hooked on Fetch-onics" or "Puppy Einstein" videos make it look, it takes considerable time and patience to teach a dog essential life skills such as, well, when and where to go potty. Then come the important moral lessons about right (chew on this squeaky toy!) and wrong (don't chew my CD collection -- NOOOOO, not my Michael Buble!!!).

Even if you have a doctorate in teaching, you will still want to puppy-proof your home. This includes moving chemicals to a place out of reach, gating staircases and -- most importantly -- storing your dirty laundry in a locked closet. The last is for your protection, not your pup's. You seriously don't want Fido prancing around in front of company wearing a bandana fashioned from a pair of your least attractive tighty-whities.


Trust me.

Puppy-rearing sound like an expressway to a stomach ulcer? At times, yes, but here's the catch. While some children may never stop giving you agita (hi, Mom!), many dogs do.

With good guidance, lots of love and daily exercise (because a tired puppy is a good puppy, as a professional trainer once told me), dogs go through their wild and crazy stage in a fraction of the time real children do. In addition, canines seem much better at realizing the advantage of being good to those who bring them treats and scratch them behind the ears. Having been a teenager once and having one child ensconced in tweenhood, I can vouch that we humans aren't quite that quick on the draw.

I'm not saying post-puppyhood is a cakewalk. For example, our family has raised two Labrador retrievers over the years. While these vacuum cleaners of the canine world are great for mopping up floors or pre-rinsing plates after mealtime, for their health you never want to give them access to an uncovered garbage can or a park carpeted with Canada goose poop. For your sake, you also never want them to lick you after either experience.

Finally, researchers have found that having a dog -- unlike having teenagers -- appears to offer owners health benefits. These include lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol and triglycerides levels, decreased risk of developing heart disease or other cardiovascular problems, and a better ability to cope with stress. Some of these come from the strong bond and unconditional love that develops between owner and dog; others are a result of you assisting Rover with his regular exercise through walking, running or playing "come back here with that, you mangy mutt!"

The bottom line: Science shows owning a dog contributes to your continued enjoyment of beer and cheese.

Let's see your kid do that for you.

* * *

I wanted to end this by embedding the video forBitch Schoolby Spinal Tap, but UMG prevents doing that. Instead click the song title for the short version or the band name for the long version.


  1. I always thought the rule was "Stay on birth control until you've successfully raised a fish." A fish.

    That's wrong. I see that now.

  2. I've raised three children, but zero pets, unless the fish count. When I watch people walking dogs, I thank God that I no longer have to walk behind my kids with a plastic bag.

  3. Dude, I feel like you wrote this post JUST FOR ME. We're raising a lab/pitt puppy, we have no kids (yet) and OH MY GAH the ENERGY! The BODILY FUNCTIONS EVERYWHERE! No sleeping in. Discipline!

    But, damn it, she's a darn good snuggler.

  4. Plus, you can leave a dog in its crate while you go shopping and no one reports you to child services.

  5. You just won me over for life with your Spinal Tap links. :)

  6. I eliminate the middle man and let the dog raise the kids. They're slobbery, but they seem happy.

  7. Does the dog have to die before we start having kids? Or just move out?

  8. In a moment of insanity a couple weeks ago, we almost became the owners of not one, but two rat terriers. After they yipped through the house and left a gift on the carpet, I put the kabosh on that plan. The kids are wearing me down, though. If there's a puppy under the Christmas tree, I'm going to strongly question where I fall on the family totem pole!

  9. dogs might chew your CD collection and wear your underpants as a hat when you entertain, but they won't play music that you don't understand on blaring volumes and they won't nag you for an allowance or hog YOUR computer game. Soooo I'm just gonna stick with Pooch and hope my eggs all dry up. Nyahaha.

  10. So right! I love my pup and am tolerating my mouthy kid at the moment! LOL

  11. we have a lab. briggs. and i've blogged about him before because, well, because he's an incorrigible maniac. lovable for sure, but his antics cause us great frustration and embarrassment.

    but he'll grow out of it. (no he won't. he's almost eight.)

    on the upside, he's never pranced in a pair of my tighty whities, though, admittedly, i don't have any. (very marky mark of you.)

    here's to dogs and the fools (parents or otherwise) who love them.

  12. And people think it's weird if I put my feet on my baby's back. With my dog, it's a win-win, as long as I use my foot to scratch his back.

  13. I used to think that dog behavior, like kid behavior, reflected the values, dedication, and consistency of the parents. The last dog I had, a Rottie that was the first dog I got as an adult and raised by myself, was the best dog ever. This was proof enough for me.

    But now I find myself with toddler twins, and they are much easier to take care of than the 120 lb. special needs dog we ended up with as a replacement for the Rottie.

    It's too exhausting to explain what all is wrong with the current dog, but here's a partial list: crippling anxiety, urinary incontinence (has to wear a diaper), chronic diarrhea. She's only 3 years old. If you care to learn more, go to my blog and look at posts with the keyword "dog."

    So while I used to think dog-training skills predicted child-rearing success, now I look at our situation and think that the universe has given us two perfect human babies to make up for the shafting it administered when it hooked us up with this dog.

  14. I had cats. They only prepared me for flu season. Or Bulimia. Hopefully only the former.


REMEMBER: You're at your sexiest when you comment.


My Uncool Past