Written by Leo Wilson
Puppies and babies are two of the cutest things in existence. Both are vulnerable and need a caretaker to nurture and teach them proper behavior. Many people have dogs years before they are ready for children.
Some people find that the lessons they learned raising a dog from puppyhood can later be related to raising a baby into a toddler and beyond. One thing is for sure – puppies and babies require a lot of patience, compassion, and attention.
Puppies Are a Crash Course in Motherhood
As much as parents hate comparisons between puppies and babies, they do share some things in common. They can’t talk, feed themselves or control their bladder at first. Oftentimes puppies are supposed to be the responsibility of the entire family. But in reality, moms take on the brunt of the work. Just like they do when it comes to babies.
More than half of all households own pets and a strong majority of those pets are dogs. An even higher percentage has children, meaning there are moms out there raising puppies and babies at the same time.
5 Similarities in Raising Puppies and Raising Babies
The depth of love aside, there’s no getting around the fact that puppies and babies have similar needs. For example, both are completely dependent on their caretaker.
Here are 5 ways a dog can prepare you for motherhood.
1. Potty training
Adult dogs and humans don’t come out of the womb potty-trained. They need to be trained to use the acceptable potty area. For puppies, that’s outside on the grass. Babies eventually need to transition from the diaper to the toilet.
The methods used to potty train the two are very different, though. The best way to train puppies is by slowly moving their puppy pad progressively closer to the door. Children are toddler-age before they are ready to be potty trained.
Despite the different methods, verbal cues and rewarding the correct behavior are used in both potty training scenarios. Most dog owners even clap their hands in excitement when their pup finally alerts them that they need to go outside.
Everyone knows babies are expensive, but dogs are, too. They need routine vaccinations, check-ups, etc. One may say that puppies eat almost as much as babies do. Aside from the necessities for the dog’s care, dog products are now a billion-dollar industry.
From dog-sized clothing to dog beds, pet owners are shelling out almost as much money annually as new parents. On the upside, dogs don’t go to college, so that’s one cost dog owners don’t have to worry about.
3. Non-Verbal Cues
Not being able to talk is another thing dogs and babies definitely have in common. However, that doesn’t mean dogs are dumb. Many studies show dogs can understand some vocabulary words, just like a toddler learning to talk.
Without being able to verbally ask your dog or baby what they need, dog owners and mothers pick up on visual or hearing cues. If a baby cries, a mom can usually differentiate between a cry of hunger and a cry of pain.
Similarly, a dog barking at a danger will sound different from a playful bark. Eventually, dog owners can know immediately what their dog wants without needing it verbally expressed. Which is a good thing because dogs can’t talk. Life would be a lot better if they could!
Eventually, new moms may want to return to work. That will require finding safe and consistent daycare. With puppies, daycare isn’t a requirement, but more and more dog owners are making use of the growing number of doggie daycares.
As a puppy grows older, the need for constant supervision can lessen. In fact, many dog owners let their dogs have free roam of the house when they go anywhere. But getting past those puppy and baby dog eyes to leave the house leads to the next lesson.
Mom guilt is a real thing and it’s strong. Toddlers and young children are experts at making parents feel bad for leaving the house, for not buying them the toy they want, etc. Dogs apparently attended the same guilt class because their guilt game is just as strong.
That’s particularly true if the owner uses a crate to contain the pup while they aren’t at home.
The best way to avoid crate guilt is to start crate training your puppy early. Crates should give your dog the safe feeling of a den. If you do go the crate route, it’s important to stay consistent and not give in to whines or puppy dog eyes.
Puppies Are a Lot of Work, Too
That’s another similarity with raising puppies and raising babies: they both need consistency. Getting your dog on a feeding and potty schedule can help with training your dog. It can also prepare you for motherhood because you have to be strict, yet compassionate.
As much as parents hate to admit it, there are some commonalities between training a puppy and raising a baby. Admitting this doesn’t lessen the love they have for their babies. These are basic, biological similarities.
Leo Wilson graduated from a university major in animal health and behavior. He had over a decade of experience working in the pet industry and has contributed many dogs and pet-related articles to several websites before he decided to start sharing his knowledge on his own blog. And when he is not busy working, he and his wonderful wife love spending time at home with their 3 dogs and 2 cats.