Before my wife and I had children, we bought a dog. No discussion. No real thought. We just did it. All it took was a mention or two from some friends who were visiting from out of state, and about 30 minutes of looking at dogs online before we decided to take the plunge.
We didn’t get just any dog though, we got a rescue dog. We also didn’t want him to be the same type of dog you saw at the park, or behind fences in our neighborhood. We wanted him to be smart. You know, a true reflection of his owners. He attended and graduated from two Petsmart obedience classes (beginner and intermediate) and also a trick class. His name is Frisco, and he’s a Border Collie/Labrador retriever mix. He’s a very smart dog. Too smart for his own good sometimes.
He’s also going to be a great companion for the twins. They don’t spend a great deal of time with him right now because he’s quite a bit bigger than they are, and still a little freaked out by their innocence. He will join in their misery when they are upset though. One will cry about something (usually because they hear the word “NO”) and then Frisco will join in.
My wife and I realized recently that a lot of what we say to the twins, we also say to the dog. So much in fact that if I’m in the other room, and I hear her say “Sit down,” I often wonder which of the three she is talking to. Because of this, I have decided to write down all of the things we say to our furry little friend that we also say to our not-so-furry offspring.
This one works much better on the dog.
This is an easy one.
Sit on the couch.
Sit on the floor.
Sit in your highchair.
Just sit down so I can finish tying your shoes already!
3. Lie down.
It’s bedtime, and although we’re not getting the requests for a glass of water or “one more story,” it doesn’t mean that they stay laying down and go right to bed. Carter is pretty good about it. It takes him about two “shhhhs” over the baby monitor, and he’s down for the count. Gavin, on the other hand, spends the next 60 to 90 minutes moving about until he’s tired enough to crash. This includes rolling around, kicking the sides of the crib to try and wake up his brother, and of course, sitting up and trying to figure out why he’s in bed instead of downstairs watching reality television. (Relax, we don’t let them watch reality television. Really).
4. Leave it.
Out for a walk and they want to pick up an odd piece of garbage on the sidewalk that possibly looks a little like dog poop? LEAVE IT! You’ve just changed them and although it’s is wrapped up in a little ball, ready to dispose of, they go to reach for the soiled diaper that smells a lot like dog poop? LEAVE IT! They are playing in the backyard and head to the back door with something they found in the grass. EWWWW, DOG POOP! LEAVE IT!
5. Good Boy!
This one is tough because teaching and training are a lot alike. Both are successful with a lot of positive affirmations. Bring me the ball – good job. Point to the hat in the book – great work. Can you help dad pick up the toys? Good Boy! It’s all very similar to giving the dog a treat, and scratching its neck when it does something good. Like not eat your shoes.
Both the dog and the kids require a ton of attention and will act out if they don’t get any. Both will get into things that they don’t belong in if not supervised, they both have the ability to eat us out of house and home, and neither the dog nor the twins pick up after themselves.
Are there differences between dogs and children? Of course, there are.
1. Our kids eat four times per day, our dog only eats twice (but not by choice).
2. Our dog leaves less of a mess when he eats.
3. If the boys misbehave, we don’t send them to their crate.
I can think of one more way that our dog and our children are alike,
The immeasurable amount of love they show us every single day.
A version of this first appeared on Double Trouble Daddy.