Thinking About Getting a Dog Before Having Baby?

My advice to couples: Skip the dog and get on with the baby-making process


 

It’s really no secret that when a newly married couple decides to get a dog, they are really just testing the waters to see if they can raise a baby. Whenever I see a newly married couple getting a dog, I think, “You’ll be pregnant in six months.” I’m usually right.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore dogs. But my advice to you is to skip the dog and just get on with the baby-making process. I’ll tell you why. First, your new dog will get a lot of attention (which is good.) But when the baby comes, trust me, they need more attention. And your dog will get jealous and act out like a two year old who is not getting their way.

I know this because I got a dog about six months before I got pregnant (not my dog. He came with my fiancé.) And while we love the dog, of course, I feel for the poor thing. We yell at the dog a lot these days. He seems to like eating bibs and dirty diapers. We have to yell at him about that and also to NOT WALK ON THE BABY. I was so worried that my nine year-old daughter would have jealousy issues surrounding our new baby, but it’s the dog who has jealousy issues.

When I walk into the house, and grab my baby, the dog is jumping on my leg because he wants pats and scratches too. And, boy oh boy, for the first months he acted out. As an example, though he is house trained, he literally peed right in front of me in my son’s room while I was changing his diaper. It got worse. Then he pooed right in front of me, also while I was changing my son’s diaper. I can’t really read a dog’s mind, but I’m sure he’s thinking something along the lines of, “Screw you! You used to pay so much attention to me, so I’m going to pee and poop on your nice carpets just to get back at you. HA!”

The funny thing is, he’s not mad at the baby, I don’t think. He seems to like the kid (and his bibs) but as my son is getting older and pulling things, like my hair, he’s also pulling the dogs hair too. I am slightly worried that the dog will not like this. Because what dog wants his hair pulled? We are also yelling at the dog, because he barks at every little sound, and when you finally get your child to sleep, all you need is a dog barking manically. So we yell at the dog to shut up.

So, my point is, think very hard if you really want a dog before a baby. Truthfully, sometimes (or often) I think the dog is way more work than the baby. And is it really practice for a baby? Do you need to change a dog’s diaper? Do you need to cuddle your dog before he falls asleep? Do you have to hand feed your dog?

All I’m saying is think about it. (And don’t forget, dogs need to be walked. And either you or your husband is going to still have to do this, and often it’s the LAST thing you want to do after taking care of a baby all day.) Poor dog.

 

 

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Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's most well-known journalists. She has been a columnist with the National Post, Canada's national newspaper, for five years, including a stint as a New York-based columnist and feature writer. She is the best-selling author of Knocked UpWiped!Toddlers Gone Wild, How to Raise a Boyfriend and The Lucky Sperm Club. Rebecca lives in Toronto with her fiancé and family. 

 

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