10 Things Our Dogs Can Teach Us About Parenting

dogs and babies teach about parenting

They shed, they drool, they cannot wait a second longer to go outside, they bark and they roll all over your bed and sit in your lap even though you told them not to only about a thousand times already today; they’re dogs, and they are awesome. Growing up with dogs, I do love them. I don’t have one at the moment, but my husband and I are in the ‘conversational’ aspect of getting a dog. We have four small kids who are terrified of dogs after we adopted one that did kind of eat our cat right in front of them last Christmas, so we have to proceed with caution.

However, some of both mine and my husband’s favorite childhood memories involve our dogs. Mine, a Great Dane and his some sort of mutt – which, today, would be some very expensive ‘custom’ designer dog. Either way, we both grew up with dogs at home and we loved every second of it. We’d like our kids to have the same experience, but we do have to consider what we want, what’s best for us and what we have time for at this moment in our lives with toddler twins and two in school – I want a German Shepherd and my husband wants an Australian Shepherd (we all know we will get a German Shepherd, though).

Dogs, aside from being amazing companions, are also great teachers. You might not think something that urinates on the floor just because he’s trying to mark his territory is necessarily all that genius, but he is. Dogs are wonderful animals, and they are sweet as can be. That’s why we love them so. They can teach us so much about parenting. I already have kids, so dogs aren’t about to teach me anything that I don’t already know, but those who do not yet have kids might learn a lot from dogs about parenting. Read on to find out what your dog might be able to teach you about being a parent.

Unconditional love

No one loves their dog halfway. Dogs are meant to be loved all the way, and so are kids. Sure, you will feel a completely different type of love for your kids that you feel for your dog, but it’s still unconditional and it’s still all-consuming. It’s hard to live with the knowledge that your heart is walking around outside of your chest, but it is. And that’s something you’re going to have to get used to.


Kids and dogs – needy little things. No matter how much you teach them the art of independence and self-sufficiency, neither of them can go to the bathroom without some assistance from you. The dog needs the door open and supervision at all times. The kids need, well, you to clean things up for them. Let me assure you that neither leaves a fun mess for you to clean up.

The importance of living in the moment

What happens when you live with a dog or a child is that you have to live in the moment. No matter how much you try to plan and manipulate a situation to your liking, there is little you can do with a dog or a child but accept that living in the moment is a requirement. Otherwise, you will go completely insane.

The importance of patience

Patience with a person or a creature that does not understand you or simply chooses not to listen to you is necessary. Dogs and kids are very much alike in their selective hearing and their penchant for mischief, so you have to prepare yourself for that kind of thing right now. It’s the only way to live.

The importance of letting go

There is not a chance in heck we can control everything on a normal basis, but this is especially true when you have a dog (or a child). You will learn very quickly that things that aren’t worth getting upset over need to be let go of and moved on from. It’s the only way you will be happy with yourself again, and it’s the only way that you will learn to enjoy life.

The importance of fun and play time

The moment is necessary, but those moments should be filled with fun and play. There is nothing more enjoyable in life than a moment that involves the happiness of someone else as well as yourself. There are so many reasons that we can love one another and we can be together with happiness, and we have to learn to play and enjoy and have a good time. It’s all that we have at the end of the day.

The importance of getting out of the house

When everyone is all filled with energy and going crazy, you will learn that getting out is the most important thing you can do. It can clear your mind, give your dog or kids the time to unwind and have some fun and run it out. Everyone will come back home with a bit more happiness and much more enjoyment.

How best friendships work

Friendships are something amazing. You will be your dog’s best friend, but then your dog will be your child’s best friend. You, however, cannot be your child’s best friend. You are their parent, and having a dog is going to teach you to do both, recognize both and learn that you have a place in the lives of your children that is not a place of best friendship.

The importance of learning to forgive and forget

Dogs do not hold a grudge. You can forget the walk them or feed them, forget their birthday or forget something at all, and they will not hold a grudge. In fact, your dog will forgive you in a second. You should learn the same, because you’re going to need to learn to practice this art with kids in the house. Otherwise, the entire family will suffer.

Messes happen

Dogs are messy. They shed, they accidentally have accidents on the floor. They make messes. Kids do the same; and the faster you learn that messes happen and you can’t always plan for them or expect them, the less stressed you will be.

Photo by Getty Images

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