I grew up with my Mom jokingly (?) drawing a parallel between kids and pets. She always said that you had to feed, water, and walk both. Naturally, as a child who clearly didn’t see the problem with my constant desire for snacks, strange obsession with my water bottle, and buzzing energy that always needed to be released I failed to see the similarities. However, now that I have children and pets of my own the similarities are uncanny and see how getting a puppy may help you prepare for a baby.
There’s this idea that welcoming a dog into your family before you have children will give you insight into what it’s like to have children. Some parents poo-poo this idea, but as a family who had children and then got a dog, I can tell you first hand that there is some merit to this suggestion of getting a puppy to help you prepare for a baby!
How a puppy will help you prepare for a baby:
They both eat floor food.
While it’s slightly more acceptable to encourage your puppy to eat the rice off the floor your baby will do the same. In fact, there will be times where this is relieving when you get a 30-second reprieve from your constant snack making duties. Perhaps it’s their rapid growth in the first few years, or perhaps they have worms, but it seems that both puppies and babies have insatiable appetites.
They both poop on the floor
Babies are safely in diapers for the first while, but once they learn the ability to remove their poop catchers all bets are off. The main difference is that your lovely puppy will eat their feces while your lovely tot will simply smear it all over the wall. Which is worse? You take your pick.
They both require major energy exertion
Off-leash or on a leash these animals need to get out! Find a friend who also has a dog and big backyard. You can run them both at the same time, exhaust them at the same time, and hopefully enjoy the quiet as they flop down beside each other for a snooze.
(Ya, that actually really is a thing!)
They both whine when you leave the house
The main difference here is that you normally don’t leave a small child at home alone. However, if you’ve ever left a 2-year-old with your partner for the afternoon while you take some much-needed Mom time you know what I’m talking about. They give you those big huge “please don’t leave me” eyes and beg you not to go; once your partner is finished their pleading your two-year-old will start! As soon as you de-attach the screaming child from your leg and get out the door you’ll hear the dog whimpering by the door. A part of you will feel so grateful that there is so much love directed your way and your heartstrings will be pulled as the guilt slowly sets in. Buuuuuuuut a bigger part of you will run to your car even faster. Have fun, Mom!
They both require a tremendous amount of your attention
If you don’t give a puppy enough of your attention they will eat your brand new pair of Tom shoes (ya, that’s a real friggin’ thing, too). If you don’t give your child enough of your attention, well, depending on the child, they may eat your brand new pair of Tom shoes, too. Either way, they both need a lot of attention. The best way to get past this is to sick your child on your dog. Encourage your child to give belly rubs and the dog will reciprocate the love in form of a wet tongue on their nose. It’s gross attention but it’s attention. This method will get you a few minutes of not having to give anyone a belly rub. Believe me, you’re going to need a break!
They both need to be trained
You have to teach your children to grow up to be respectable members of society. You have to teach your puppy not to eat guests’ shoes. There’s a lot of teaching that happens with both your kids and your dog (but there seems to be a whole heck of a lot more information on how to train your dog. Whodathunk.)
They both need to be groomed
It’s socially acceptable to not bathe a dog for three weeks, however, the same is not true for kids*.
*On a side note: no judgment from this lady. There have been times when I haven’t been able to remember the last time my children were bathed. It wasn’t until Grandma pointed out the felt pen marks on the children were still there from the last time she saw them that I realized the actual length between baths.
They both will take over your bed
They will both wake you up so they can pee. They will both wake you up so they can have water. They will both wake you up just to say “I love you”. They both don’t see the value of a good nights sleep (but pre-depriving yourself of sleep may be the best way to prepare for a baby, anyway)!
You’ll love them both mostly equally-but you’ll tend to appreciate your canine friend a lot more when they don’t ask you for the keys to the car or roll their eyes at you!