Why Having Dogs Adds to Your Family Dynamic

By Katerina Cotroneo – March 7, 2022
Katerina Cotroneo

Dogs are “man’s best friend,” right? Try mom’s best friend. When you’re sad, they’re there to hug you. When you’re celebrating, they jump with you. Dogs are undoubtedly any family’s glue. No matter how old your children are, they will love and play with their dog like they are still little kids. There is even a softness to grouchy teenagers and old folks when around these sweet creatures.

Dogs teach us important life lessons without us even realizing it. Challenges are overcome when you teach potty training, tricks or any new skill. You bond as a family working toward a common goal, especially when life gets crazy and children grow older. Raising dogs is an imperative way to stay connected. 

Boy with dog.

Younger kids to preteens learn chores like walking the dog and making sure it has water. This skill is of obvious importance as it will teach responsibility and accountability. Also, it’s a win-win since it poses less work for Mom and Dad and has a lesson hidden in there too. 

When you have babies or young toddlers and dogs under the same roof, the kids learn to be gentle and affectionate with animals — something they may not have learned outside of this experience. When they’re older, this affection toward animals can affect the way they empathize with others as a whole. 

There are significant ways having animals in one’s household growing up (especially dogs) affects one’s ability to develop emotional intelligence, many studies suggest. Rivaling siblings will put away their dueling verbal swords for a quick “who’s a good puppy” any day because when your little buddy walks in, you can’t help but melt at their darling face. Children suddenly have a best friend to turn to when Mom and Dad say, “Go play,” which makes adding a dog to your family a wonderful thing for every kind of home. 

Dogs even help in the instance of something disheartening like grief and loss. We are only graced with their presence for an average of 14 years. We treasure that time, but when it is time to let go, we gain formative grieving skills that each family member takes and holds onto as a hard but necessary lesson of life. It softens the blow for when you lose someone in your life later. It teaches you that grief will be a familiar friend and, therefore, a less terrifying endeavor. 

I can’t even begin to count the number of empty nesters I know who cherish their dogs’ company because of the companionship they bring. When you go from five kids to a quiet house, I imagine it’s a lonely transition, but it sure is comforting having little buddies to walk with or fill the house with noise. 

Katerina with dog.

Of course, you can’t replace your kids’ company, but in a way, it’s like having babies all over again in the way you’ll care for them. Feeding them, bathing them, taking them to the park — these are all great ways to give your retired friends an excuse to get out of the house. Dogs are always there for you, and they never let you forget it, in the best way.          

Puppies don’t discriminate — they love everyone and anyone who loves them right back, and that is why single households or even a home of 15 do well with dogs. Granted, different dogs thrive in different environments. There is a dog out there suitable for every type of family, and the unconditional love it comes with is something you can’t put a price tag on. 

If you are hesitant to bring a puppy into your home, you can always get one a little older and calmer and see if that fits your family more. There are always older pups looking for homes. On the other hand, if you have young kiddos with lots of energy, perhaps a puppy is just right! A family dynamic is as unique as a thumbprint and deserves a dog special enough to fit the mold. 

It is a beautiful thing when everyone from a three-year-old to a college kid can laugh and share the same affection for the sweet mutt you rescued on a whim, and every family deserves to witness that magic. Even on days that your dog runs around the clean house muddy, you can’t help but laugh when it’s all said and done because you love them — they are family, after all. 


About the Author

Katerina smiling.

Katerina Cotroneo is a professional photographer turned lifestyle writer. Using her marketing background and her talent behind the camera, Katerina tells unique stories through her lens and captures diverse perspectives. 


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