We already know that we bond with dogs similarly to the way we bond with babies. Plus, dogs are a crap ton of responsibility (sometimes literally). It’s not a big leap to think that getting a pup helps you to prepare for parenthood.
It’s often considered the first big milestone in a relationship. To some folks, it means more than moving in together and even more than a ring.
It can also come with the expectation that kids are next. Dogs serve as a bit of a trial run. If you can survive a puppy, you can survive a kid. Right?
We can neither confirm or deny the truth of this assumption. There aren’t a lot of studies on the matter, but there is a lot of information out there about how dogs can improve your individual quality of life.
According to one study, dogs can vastly improve people’s mental health and reduce stress levels. They lower your blood sugar, blood pressure and have tons of other health benefits. Dogs also keep you active and can reduce allergies. High paws for that!
These are all good things that will undoubtedly pawsitively impact your parenting, but they don’t necessarily prepare you for the long nights of screaming, pooping and feeding.
Or do they?
Poop. There’s lots of poop.
K.K. Goldberg writes:
“In the first year, Fufu introduced Ken and me to fragmented sleep and constant discussions of poop. The arrival of infant twins became a seamless segue to even more fractured sleep and late-night Googling of poop types on our iPhones.”
Dogs get you into the groove.
Dog ownership opened Goldberg’s eyes to the importance of routine.
“Fufu introduced a new degree of routine to my life: walk time, playtime, downtime, mealtime. It turns out routine is also the best way (for me) to handle the challenge of twins.”
You lose that whole selfish thing.
Amy Webber, a scientist at the University of Oxford and her boyfriend Sam Mort tell The Daily Mail:
“The responsibility completely changed our lives. We now think about what will work for all three of us – for example, we won’t work too far from home and if we move we would only consider properties with a garden. Also, rather like having a child, we continually make decisions and compromises on how to bring him up, from what he eats to the habits we won’t tolerate.”
They’re like a teaser to a very long movie about insomniacs.
Lisa Illingworth and Sam Reynolds, a couple who also spoke with The Daily Mail about their pup say:
“It was tough having Badger at home as he was quite demanding, couldn’t get the hang of house training and kept us up all night crying. I was up at 2am, 4am and 6am every night looking after him and felt constantly shattered.”
You’ll learn whether or not you can stand the sight of your S.O.
Marriage and family therapist David Klow tells The Chicago Tribune that if you and your bae can’t handle having a dog, it’s probably a sign that you aren’t meant for each other.
“Sometimes a couple will see that they really can’t handle the responsibility of a pet, and that might make them realize that they are not a fit for one another deep down.”
Psychotherapist Fran Walsh adds:
“Certainly, if one partner is always the one who walks the dog while the other sits in front of the TV, that’s not a good sign.”
Dogs get your mutternal instincts going.
In Psychology Today, Ellen Walker, Ph.D. writes that the dependent nature of pets, especially puppies triggers our natural nurturing instincts. Plus, the amount of time and effort you and your partner put into raising your pup creates a feeling of being a family.
Our lovable pups most certainly are not as much work as human kids, but they do take a lot of dedication, time, and belly scratches. Take our quiz to see if you and your S.O. are ready to take the leap into a house covered in dog fur.
(Sorry, we don’t have a quiz about human kids.)