My oldest brother likes to joke that as soon as Jenny and I have a kid Pritch “will be kicked out to the porch.” And a new study I recently saw on MSNBC proves that he may be right. According to data compiled by a researcher at Indiana University South Bend:


“In all cases for dogs and cats, except for cats going to the vet, children adversely affected the animals,” study researcher David Blouin, a cultural sociologist at Indiana University South Bend, told LiveScience. “People with children spent less time with their animals and took them to the vet less often.”

And after having spent the weekend in the company of my 3-year-old niece, I can attest that my time with Pritch will surely be rationed when kids arrive. And no doubt Pritch’s crayon intake will skyrocket. (Talk about multi-hued poop.) There’s also an entirely new set of obedience lessons to teach. (Don’t drink the milk. Don’t eat the animal crackers. Don’t eat the “artwork.”)

In Pritch’s case a little less attention may be a good thing. She’s spoiled rotten right now. Playing second fiddle might teach her a few things. In the long run, the only thing that will truly ruin a gun dog is a lack of training. And one day those toddlers will make excellent bird boys and girls. In fact, one of my favorite moments from my first hunt test was watching the junior handlers work the pups.

As always, I’m curious of your experience. Did having kids turn your gun dog into a couch dog? Or did it actually help you focus and enhance your time in the field?

(And no, Mom, this post is not a subtle hint.)