I love dogs. I grew up with dogs. I have dog sat numerous dogs in my adult life, even when I already had kids, from young and energetic Weimaraners to geriatric mini Dachshunds. Before I ever owned a dog of my own, I watched many many dog training videos on YouTube. I read several dog training books. I truly believed that when it came to dogs, I knew what was up. I was ready to get a dog.
We adopted Gerta, our mini Schnauzer last February. I read multitudinous guides on which breed of dog would be best for our busy family. I chose a miniature Schnauzer carefully with lots of forethought and research. The only drawback I came across was that they are vocal.
Vocal. Huh. Now there’s an “interesting descriptor.
Much like thinking I was ready for parenting, I was SO wrong!
Here’s what you need to know:
Having kids changes the training dynamic.
You’re practicing commands with the puppy, and treating her, and all the kids want to get in on the action too and start trying to give her commands. Pretty soon the puppy and you are spinning in circles chasing your tails.
Kids + gates = disaster.
You might think you will keep the puppy penned into the room which doesn’t have carpet and you will not have to worry about her pooping in your house while you’re house breaking her.
You will not be able to.
You might spend a gazillion dollars on gates because you think you can get the kind they can step over or the kind that will latch easily behind them or be easy to open and shut.
You will be wrong. It will not matter.
The dog will get into rooms you don’t want her to, and she will poop and pee everywhere. The kids will accidentally break all the gates.
Kids don’t pay attention.
You will put the dog, who gets crazy when she’s crated, on the enclosed porch before you are ready to leave, and someone will go out there to look for their shoes and she will sneak back into the house with them, and sneak outside and run away when you open the door to the garage.
It won’t matter how many times you try different scenarios, she will get out and run away. Every time.
It’s likely your dog is smarter than you and the kids put together.
You will train and train your dog to “come”. She will “come” perfectly indoors, outside on a super duper long lead, whenever you practice. The second she escapes though, whether it’s on the farm or in town, she will know she doesn’t have to come and she won’t. You will spend more time and aggravation than you ever thought trying to catch her and keep her from getting run over.
You can’t trust your kids.
You will tell the kids to put her outside to potty. She won’t go outside if the weather is bad. The kid will say they “think she did” when you ask if they’re sure she peed. She will run in and pee in the house. Even if you have followed every directive on how to make sure your dog is housebroken, it won’t matter. The kids throw a wrench into it.
Kids don’t think things through.
You tell and tell and tell your kids to leave the dog alone when she’s eating, and they will still forget and try to play fetch with her bone, effectively taking the dog’s bone away from her, and she will freak out, scaring you all.
You will have a leash on the dog when you take her with you to town. A kid, unbeknownst to you, will decide to take it off of the dog. Another kid will open the door to the van and the dog will run away.
Kids are loud. The dog is louder.
Your dog will bark like a maniac whenever someone arrives or the doorbell rings. You will even pay a “dog whisperer” to come to the house and help you address some of these issues, and she will give you super helpful advice like “have your guests sit down on the floor with the dog so she can get used to them.”
Uh. No. Thank you.
Anyway, the kids rile her up even more. Everyone runs to the door chattering the entire time, excited for company. The barking. Oh my Lanta. The barking!
We genuinely love our dog. She adds so much fun and laughter and coziness to our family. As much as I am annoyed by her, I also can’t imagine life without her. Like becoming a mother, you’re never ready, but it’s ever so worth it!