How Is Parenting a Dog and a Baby Similar?

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My husband and I are about the smallest study sample there is, and I have not conducted any official study, but I truly believe that parenting a dog is a good introduction to parenting a human.

My husband and I first became animal parents about seven months after we were married. Feeling domestic, I felt the urge to care for something, but I was not ready for a baby. We spent multiple Saturdays visiting dogs at adoption events and various shelters. We finally met and fell in love with our sweet Scarlett. She was not a puppy, but at a just over a year old, she still very energetic. We were her third home, and her forever home. She went everywhere with us until we had our first baby. She even went with us on visit with our parents and some vacations.

After having three kids, I can see the similarities and how dogs can certainly help someone understand what they might can experience from a baby.

Dogs and babies cannot feed themselves: Historically, dogs did find their own food, but our domestic modern dogs need to have food placed in front of them on a daily basis for their entire lives. Babies will also make frequent daily demands to be fed, but fortunately, they will eventually grow up to be able to feed themselves.

They both have to be potty trained: Unless you want soiled floors or kids in diapers for life, it is a horrible chore that must be done. It feels painful at first, but it can quickly become a distant memory. Potty training a puppy can often feel like having a newborn because there may be lack of sleep and frequent trips outside during the night.

Tantrums can be expected: It is well known that toddlers are expected to throw tantrums, but some may not realize that dogs can express attitude as well. If our Scarlett believed that we were taking her somewhere with us, and we did not, we would always return to some sort of destruction. She would also be 100 percent stubborn when she did not agree with one of our commands.

They need to burn energy: Both kids and dogs have more energy than many adult humans. If energy is not burned through walks or play, both can become destructive and annoying.

They need to be protected from harm: Both kids and dogs can find all sorts of trouble. One of our dogs devoured a plate of brownies and through instruction from a vet, we had to help her vomit in hopes that the chocolate would not make her sick. Recently, I found our youngest smearing nail polish on her lips. Both did survive, but neither were happy with our necessary intervention.


Writer Bio: Summer Bolte

I spend most of my time and days with my three kids, husband and dog. My kids frequently play near me as I garden, cook, DIY and volunteer. My most unusual paying job has to be feeding fruit flies in a research lab, and my most fulfilling job was being an oncology nurse for seven years.  

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