Planning to have a child is a life-changing decision, and nothing ever truly prepares you for fatherhood, especially on the emotionally, and the added maturity responsible fatherhood demands. However, you can at least get ample preparation on most of the practical side of things and the associated stress that comes with having a baby through another avenue, getting a dog. At first, it may seem an oversell, but any dog owner knows raising a healthy and loving dog is the one act that comes closest to raising a baby. Here is how having a fur friend is going to prepare you for fatherhood.
- Preparation for chaos and sleep interruption
Having a young dog requires you to be ready at all times for that distress call and investigating to check whether it needs bathroom use or if it has already relived itself at some corner in the house. Any constant moaning has to be investigated, and when all is good, you have to keep up with the physical activity requirement, items being knocked over, and almost constant efforts at training. Your idle relaxation time and sweet sleep are placed on pause until you develop a new rhythm and get to decipher what each call is for and when attention is being sought.
That is what having a baby will take you through from trying to understand what each cry is for and getting familiar with the idea of sleep interruption and having your time hogged by a little one. The first three months can be hectic, but having gone through a similar process with your dog, you will understand the interruptions will not be last forever, and you will be looking forward to the smiles and small achievements.
- You get ample practice
Closer to the idea above, is the practice you get at trying fatherhood. Yours is the voice of command and strength, and everything draws from your personality. Learning to train your dog through the tender steps, picking up after its crap, washing it, checking it for any ailments, looking for trouble signs, having panic attacks and rushing to the vet at the slightest issue is common when owning your dog for the first time and it is excellent.
The same skills will be required when you have a baby, and this time you will be prepared for the task as much as you can knowing the phases to go through and how any change in your demeanor affects the peace of everything around you. You will already to tasks like washing cleaning after the dog and training and also communicating with a being that does not possess the ability of language like yours. More importantly, you will practice patience, which you are going to needs lots of to be a successful father.
- Learn caring for another life that is mostly dependent on you and your decisions
The patience you need and everything else that comes with fatherhood requires that you first understand and know what it means to have another being dependent on you. It changes your daily schedule and ability to make unplanned changes. Having a pet allows you to have a glimpse of what such care entails.
You cannot stay away for late hours, you cannot make travel arrangements without accounting for the pet, you have to ensure all the vaccines, and monthly vet visits are done as required. You also have to get creative with the meals beyond the usual dog food though you have to be careful with blueberries. This responsibility and care call for a different outlook and attitude in which a lovely dog is going to help you develop so that the shifts and adjustments you need to make when the baby comes, seem natural and logical.
- Role sharing and teaming up
Fatherhood means you are one half of a team that needs to be working seamlessly for the baby’s best welfare. You will need to share roles and take turns staying awake. Sometimes one may need to do more than the other due to circumstances, and ultimately, you are the foundation of that team. Having a pet together with your partner makes you understand what it means to have shared responsibility for another life whose welfare depends on how well you work together.
From who takes the dog for walks to who picks after it, who washes it, and whose turn it is to feed it or check up on the dog, there is plenty to share. You will learn when to negotiate and when to step up for your partner.
- Learn new things
Ultimately, there is plenty to learn on the job as a father, and you will need to be open-minded and ready to learn. That is what all dog owners know, from searching recipes, medication, shampoos, to activities, accessories, and care when the dog is ill. You will even have to seek help from other parents the same way dog owners share information and encouragement.
Indubitably, there is more to learn about fatherhood than being a dog owner, and ultimately a dog cannot be equated to a baby. However, having a dog helps you have an understanding of what is expected of you as a father and gives you a glimpse of what it entails.