True or false, having a dog is like having a baby?

I’ve come across the term dog parent so often now that one assumes that having a dog is like having a baby.

I’ve come to accept the phrase dog parent as a label that’s assigned to someone who owns a dog and takes on the responsibility of caring for a dog. A dog parent will go to lengths to ensure all dimensions of their dog’s welfare needs are met. Some people squirm at the phrase dog parent whilst another point of view considers being a dog parent is the best way to care for a dog.

Before I started my research into the world of keeping and caring for a dog, I would have simply labeled a person with a dog as a dog owner. Having now covered a good amount of prep work, the dog parent label seems to be prevalent and I can totally see why.  Pet Central makes a good point by suggesting that raising pups is comparable to raising children because once a dog is added to the family it becomes part of the family dynamic.

dog laying on a bed net to a baby pacifier and baby scan and pregnancy test kit

I admit, initially, I was taken aback by humans describing another human as a dog mom or dog dad. The use of language in this way was alien to me, the reason being that I’m a parent and I associate parenthood and moms and dads with my own personal experience and awareness of what epitomizes parenthood.

I’ve spoken to a few people who have told me that caring for a dog is like raising a child. Well, I have two teenagers that I love, but raising children is most definitely not always a joyful bed of roses. Is there not a better comparison or analogy? Does this mean I will experience similar emotions to parenthood?

If having a puppy is like having a baby, then comparisons to bear in mind, include knowing that a baby or a child cries to get attention. Does this mean a puppy will cry for attention? I  thought further and thought, well if humans cry because they feel emotionally triggered to express joy, happiness, sadness, or pain, do dogs also express tears for the same reasons as humans? Or how do dogs express the same types of emotions? Will I be able to understand a dog’s emotions? Heck, will I be getting in over my head by deciding to care for a dog?

Is raising a puppy like raising a baby

Dog waring baby clothes and standing next to baby pacifier

Human babies cry all the time and I’m sure I’ve also read somewhere that introducing a puppy into your home is comparable to raising a newborn baby. Well, my response to that is simply, WOW! OMG!! OUCH!!! REALLY!!!! This got me thinking that if raising a puppy is like raising a baby, then does this mean that if I get a puppy he will cry all the time? Will he need roundtheclock feeding? Will the puppy need roundtheclock attention? Or will the puppy keep me up all night because he’s crying as my son did? I did attempt to try and understand whether dogs cry and shed emotional tears. You can read about it here.

It goes without saying that a dog is a man’s best friend. Everybody knows this. Everybody also knows that dogs can be extremely loyal. I want to go beyond just knowing and I’m determined to experience a dog’s loyalty and companionship first hand. Another comment I’ll make is that if keeping a dog is like raising children, one of the joys I will get from being a dog parent is the certainty of knowing that my dog wouldn’t one day think I’m not cool enough to meet their friends. Children seem to forget that their parents were once children.

Furthermore, my dog won’t go off into the world one day on a quest to find himself. Can you imagine the thought of a dog who wants to be enlightened?

Children are capable of acting in ways that make you proud to be their parent – their actions of self-control when in public, their good reports from school, their awards for performance and excellence and the respect they give to other family members and friends. 

dog with curly hair running in the grass with a stick in its mouth

These positive manifestations help to reaffirm the good and positive work that you’ve done as a parent. I can say a parent literally has to put in time, effort, and consistency to ensure children have the characteristics and mannerisms that can help them get the best out of life, develop their full potential, not embarrass you or put themselves in harm’s way.

The recurring theme of dog behavior and obedience training that I come across is comparatively similar to the work required with a dog. We have all seen video clips of badly behaved dogs and we have all seen talent TV shows with talented well-trained dogs. Is it safe to conclude that manifestations of a dog’s behavior and conduct in public is reflective of the amount of time, consistency, and effort the dog parent has put into the care of the dog?

Dog looking mischievous with broken plate and messy room

When I think about it at length, I sometimes get overwhelmed by the fact that there is just so much to know when it comes to caring for a dog, and I’m certain there are also many things that I don’t know that I need to know. I would ultimately like to obtain information to an extent that allows me to feel comfortable and confident to introduce a canine addition to my family.

How to become the perfect dog parent

This approach to preparation would be similar to what I and my children’s mothers did when we were expecting our children, especially with my eldest child. We had books upon books about various topics and we practically did this for the entire duration of the pregnancy – books on names, books on diet, books on parenting, etc. It is only then appropriate that I do the same with the decision to own a dog. Oops, I mean becoming  a dog parent

I’m writing at the early stages of coming to my dog parenting commitment decision and would say that the prep work I’m doing now is comparable to what I did when I was expecting my children. I can understand why dog parenting and human child parenting can sometimes seem comparable.

I have very limited experience with dogs other than walking friends’ dogs when I was younger and for a few months, sharing a flat with my brother who had a dog. So I am totally committed to stack up on knowledge before taking the plunge.

Romantic young couple sitting on the kitchen floor next to their dog

You may have read this far and may now be wondering why I keep referring to children and making the comparison to child-rearing. Well, it’s simple really. I’ve had the pleasure of raising two children, one male, and one female, and can testify that the responsibility of parenting comes with its ups and downs and also many rewards.

Final thoughts

Raising my children is one of the most rewarding things I’m doing and at the same time, it’s one of the most challenging things a person can do. I think that the reward of caring for a dog will come from experiencing the loyalty that everyone speaks about. The devotion and depending on the breed, the protection that a dog can provide will be priceless. If owning a dog is anything like raising a child, then I seriously must consider what I will be setting myself up for or getting into? 

Well, I’m ready for it. What was you experience of introducing a puppy or a grown dog into your world?

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