5 Things All Moms Should Expect When Raising a Toddler who has a Dog as Their Bestie

5 Things All Moms Should Expect When Raising a Toddler who has a Dog as Their Bestie

(As published at Humorwriters.org)

My son is an animal enthusiast! At two-years-old, he loves listing off the names of animals, pointing out insects and squealing when he recognizes specific fish. He’s also slightly obsessed with our adopted chocolate lab. I know lots of mothers who wait until after their kids are older to get a pet, but in my case, we had our dog for two years before my son was born.

My dog is my son’s best friend and partner in crime. My family and friends always get a kick out of the photos I share on social media of their shenanigans, but there are five things all moms should expect when raising a toddler who has a dog as their bestie.

dogs best friends, raising kids, raising toddlers, what to expect
Jace and Sasha Bear
  • Sharing is very natural for both dog and child
    • When my son was a year old, I found him in the dog bed with the dog, chewing on a dog bone! At 18 months, my son routinely got down on all fours to drink out of the dogs’ water bowl, refusing to drink from his own sippy cup.
    • Most recently, I’ve found my dog and son covered in peanut butter! My son has unfortunately discovered how to stand on things to acquire item out of his reach. He’s especially fond of peanut butter and apparently, so is the dog.

dogs best friends, raising kids, raising toddlers, what to expect

  • Your dog’s bowel movements are intriguing to toddlers
    • I was really amused over the summer, as my son followed our dog all over the yard. He would get down on all fours and sniff flowers with her, participate in chasing the neighbor’s cat, and even pulled down his pants to pee on the tree a time or two. I was not so amused when I looked out my kitchen window to see my son squatting beside my dog. As the dog pooped, my son collected it in his hands and rubbed it all over himself!
    • At his 2nd birthday party later that summer, my son walked up to my dog, who was pooping, pulled his pants down and pooped with her…in front of all of our guests!
  • Don’t be surprised when your child starts licking you, instead of giving kisses
    • My son has been displaying odd behavior lately. Instead of giving kisses, he licks you…more than once. It has been the topic of several awkward, unplanned conversations when he licks unsuspecting friends and family.
  • Prepare to be a referee between human and animal
    • It’s rather embarrassing, but commonplace these days, to referee my child and dog who are fighting over a toy. My dog is very well behaved and never touches my sons’ toys but son is not so nice. If my son gets mad at the dog, he will take her stuffed animals and throw them in the trash!
    • Sometimes, when my son is on the losing end of the argument, he will open our sliding glass door and try to send the dog outside. He tells the dog she’s bad and if he’s upset at her, he tells her she isn’t being very nice! I must admit, it’s quite difficult to keep a straight face when I try to calmly explain that the dog is sorry for her actions (like accidently knocking him over during play).

dogs best friends, raising kids, raising toddlers, what to expect

  • Trying to explain why the dog is treated differently will exhaust you
    • For weeks, I’ve been having the same morning discussion with my son. Every morning, he wants to know why the dog doesn’t have to wear shoes. This is not just of great interest to him, but consistently, he has been using it as his defense for not wearing shoes. Lately, as winter progresses, his argument has evolved into why the dog doesn’t have to wear a coat. And yes, I’ve caught him putting his clothes on the dog.
    • Since my son started daycare, he’s always questioned why he has to go to school, but the dog gets to stay home. Many times he’s begged to stay home with the dog instead of going to school and sometimes he even cries because he wants the dog to go to school with him.
    • We’ve had a few feet of snow outside this past week so we’ve kept our son indoors as much as possible. Obviously, our dog has a good reason for why she needs to go outside a few times every day. Try explaining to a two-year-old why it’s ok for the dog to go outside but not him. I’ll tell you, it’s a losing battle and it is exhausting trying to find something to say that will help him understand!

At first I was really worried about my selfish dog accepting the arrival of my infant son. However, I quickly discovered that my dog is incredibly caring, loyal, and most importantly, patient! She’s understanding when he pulls her tail, knows when to hide if my son has markers, and enjoys daily naps when the two get to cuddle.

I know my son adores and loves our dog and I’m so happy and thankful that they have each other. With that said, I am saving ALL of his embarrassing photos for when he hits the dating scene as a teenager!

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Debra

I'm a fast-talking high school English teacher, mother of two boys (the 2nd due in March), wife to an Army Lt., and photo-journalist for the Army Reserves. I'm slightly addicted to office supplies and I easily get carried away with projects and ideas; especially for the playroom and my classroom.

43 thoughts on “5 Things All Moms Should Expect When Raising a Toddler who has a Dog as Their Bestie

  • February 8, 2016 at 12:55 pm
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    Our dog and my little girl are partners in crime. They really do love each other. My little girl will sit and feed the dog her food piece by piece.

    Reply
    • February 8, 2016 at 1:48 pm
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      Oh yes, my son does that too. I love that they can have such a loving relationship! 😉

      Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 1:10 pm
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    Haha! This is perfect. Ours is a dog and a cat. It’s a circus sometimes. Thanks for posting!

    Erica @ thebigredpatchhouse.ccom

    Reply
  • February 8, 2016 at 3:48 pm
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    Awe…so sweet. We got our first dog when my youngest was 3. I love that we got her 🙂

    Reply
  • February 9, 2016 at 12:03 am
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    My daughters had dogs next to them from the very first days of their lives. The dogs watched over them as though they were precious puppies. Wiuld scold us by barking insistently if we did not attend to their crying quickly enough. Both my daughters, five years apart, literally barked before the spoke. Now they can “speak to the animals” , especially dogs and horses. Nice article

    Reply
    • February 9, 2016 at 4:44 pm
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      Thanks Phil! I love the relationship my son has with his dog but sometimes, it can be frustrating. I feel like those two gang up on me sometimes, haha, and they’re always getting into trouble together.

      Reply
  • February 9, 2016 at 5:37 pm
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    We are like this with our cats. The kids feed them from their plates. I have learned to just let it go! It is sweet at times. But there are also lots of messes!

    Reply
    • February 10, 2016 at 9:14 pm
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      I love watching little kids play with animals! I love hearing their little squeals of excitement.

      Reply
  • February 10, 2016 at 6:08 pm
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    I always wanted a dog when my kids were little. We did not get one until my youngest was in Kindergarten, great advice.

    Reply
    • February 10, 2016 at 9:11 pm
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      I’m sure it worked out best for you and your family Maria! With as much traveling as we do with the military, sometimes having Sasha is stressful…but we love her.

      Reply
  • February 10, 2016 at 8:23 pm
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    Sharing not so cool when you are vegetarians! So gross when toddler is trying to eat chicken dog food!! But the love between them was adorable.

    Reply
    • February 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm
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      Val, Jace has a special bond with Sasha. I didn’t exactly encourage it, it just kind of happened. They have a very special bond.

      Reply
  • February 10, 2016 at 10:56 pm
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    My kids love their dog. He is a family member! My toddler makes sure to share all of his dinner with the dog. It’s the cutest thing!

    Reply
    • February 11, 2016 at 12:36 pm
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      Yes, Valerie, toddlers love sharing!! And how do you explain to them who they should be sharing with and who they shouldn’t, haha.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2016 at 12:02 am
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    Dogs really do have a lot of patience with children and other baby animals for that matter. As for your son–hopefully he will outgrow some of the monkey see monkey do before too long—or he may not be speaking to you when you bring those pics out when he gets older!!

    Reply
    • February 11, 2016 at 12:35 pm
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      haha Michele! He’s almost three years old so one can only hope 😉

      Reply
  • February 11, 2016 at 1:40 am
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    Aw, this is cute. I love seeing pets with young kids. It’s such a sweet bond.

    Reply
    • February 11, 2016 at 12:34 pm
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      Thanks for reading Donnica! I enjoy these two and their unique relationship.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2016 at 8:24 am
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    My daughter and her husband has been thinking about getting a dog. Their baby is only a few months old and they want a dog to grow up together with their son. I think it is a good idea. We’re looking at a lot of dog breeds that are good with small children and not difficult to care for.

    Reply
    • February 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm
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      I think we were lucky that Sasha was already 2 years old. She wasn’t as much of a puppy and understood that Jace was a baby and she was very careful with him.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2016 at 10:54 am
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    It must be great to have a pet to grow up with. Sounds like Jace and Sasha are having a lot of fun together. I really wish my daughter would have had this kind of experience.

    Reply
    • February 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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      It’s been so rewarding having Jace grow up Sasha. I think he’s learning compassion and how to treat animals.

      Reply
  • February 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm
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    Lol! This post made me giggle, I love that they are best friends and I couldn’t stop laughing while envisioning them doing everything together from playing to pooping. I hope my kiddos will love animals!

    Reply
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