Puppy love brings out our different parenting styles

IF my relationship with my dog is anything to go by, I'll be a pushover as a mother.

Now, our dog is an extremely cute little King Charles Cavalier spaniel with the biggest puppy eyes you could ever imagine. Some have drawn comparisons between her and the hyena Ed from the Lion King... but I think this is grossly unfair.

However welcoming this little puppy friend into our marriage has caused some interesting dynamics to develop. My husband maintains that he "doesn't love her" and that "she's not my dog"... and then some days, I come home from work and catch the two of them cuddling.

We've also established who is the disciplinarian in our household...and it's not me. The dog also rapidly worked this out - and when she has done something wrong, she brings those big puppy eyes to hide behind me. At this point, I usually pick her up and cuddle her, just as Ryan is running after her to deal with her for bad behaviour. When it comes down to it, his word is law, and she doesn't move when told to "stay" or "sit". So between us we've got love and obedience covered.

I apparently also have no "angry voice". Therefore, when trying to tell this little dog she's done a bad thing, I use the same voice that I would if I was telling her she was adorable. This is really a no-no in disciplining a dog, I'm told.

We agreed early on that the dog would not, under any circumstances, be allowed on the bed. Want to guess how long that lasted?

Harry Bruce cartoon for the Peace and War column published February 26
Harry Bruce cartoon for the Peace and War column published February 26 Harry Bruce

I think part of the initial resistance to getting a dog - from my husband's side - was that it is said to be the last barrier between newlyweds and children. You know how it goes...a couple gets married; they get a dog, and then along come the babies.

But I maintain that having a dog is nearly like having a child of your own. You can debate on when to send it to school, how much and how often to feed it, whether it should be allowed on the furniture, and when it should be disciplined ...all points for healthy discussion,

But the reality is that this little cutie has the run of the house and actually has both of us firmly wrapped around her little paw.

So I conclude that dogs really are great for young couples to practise parenting skills on.

I just wonder how we'll handle it when she has puppies...

Peace and war

with Sarah-Joy Pierce



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