It is very tempting to get a puppy or a dog when our little children are toddling around because we want them to grow up with animals. We hope to teach them kindness and compassion towards animals and we envision the cute scene of the puppy/dog curled up on the couch with our toddlers. Sounds perfect..right?
Now, here is what really happens:
The puppy/dog is chewing all of the toddler’s toys and the toddler screams because ,well, this new furry monster has THEIR STUFF! So the adults tell the dog “NO!” and removes the toy. (The dog of course has no intention of discontinuing playing with these fun toys in the future so the drama continues).
The dog gets so excited when he plays that he is knocking the toddler down or scratching his face. The child, of course, starts to scream. The parents now have to tell the dog “No” again but it doesn’t really matter because the toddler no longer wants to play with the dog because it hurts!
The dog is resting comfortably on the floor or the couch and the toddler walks over to pet the dog and the dog growls because he is resting and does not want to be bothered. The parents now rush over and tell the dog “No!” The dog still does not want to be bothered when resting so the growling continues.
We can’t expect a toddler to understand and or listen to instructions about what is or is not appropriate to do with a dog so……..we then expect the dog to follow our rules and they don’t even speak English!
By now many moms are saying to themselves “What was I thinking???”
And of course, there are all the unexpected antics of having a toddler with a dog.
So what started out as a nice peaceful dream of raising toddlers with a new dog/puppy has turned into a scenario of shouting “NO!” and the toddler being annoyed with the dog and the dog, at times, being annoyed with the toddler. The mother now has to act as a referee between the child and the dog and must maintain her sanity without having to have too many martini’s which inevitably the toddler will get their hands on and the puppy will steal the olives from the child…..:)
Please note: Wait until your child is out of the toddler stage before you take on the responsibility of raising a puppy or trying to adapt to a new adolescent dog. You will have a much better chance of everyone getting along and of maintaining your sanity.