Millennials may be putting off marriage and babies, but they’re still getting puppies!
According to a 2017 survey, 44% of millennials consider dogs as “starter children.”
But are they really?
In this post, we’re going over the similarities and differences between raising fur child and raising an actual child.
Similarities Between Dogs and Babies
Dogs and babies can be comparable in some ways.
Secure Base Effect
This effect refers to the bond between baby and parent, giving the child a safe place from the rest of the environment. Researchers found that dogs and dog parents also share a similar bond. In a study, they found that how their owners acts determine whether the dog is motivated to complete tasks and their confidence doing so. It goes to show: The bond between you and your pup isn’t just in your head! It’s in your dog’s too!
You’ll Also Get No Sleep
If you get your dog as a puppy, similar to babies, you’re also bound to have some pretty sleepless nights. Because pups don’t have a fully developed bladder, they need to go outside often. While you’re fast asleep, you’ll hear your puppy wine, which is either their cry to pee, poop or play. Until your dog grows, get used to waking up.
No More Sleeping in Late
Your dog or baby doesn’t care if it’s your only day off, they want to get up and they want to get up now. The difference between dogs and babies is that when a baby is up, you need to watch them like a hawk. If your dog is fully grown, he may want to eat and walk early, but sometimes you can go back to bed after.
You Need to “Potty Train” Dogs Too
As babies grow into toddlers, you need to train them to use the toilet. With pups, you need to train them to use their pee pads, working up to teaching them to go outside. As with potty training, there’s many accidents, successes, failures and frustration that comes along with it. While it’s not the same, it’s a good exercise in patience!
Both Can Be Gross
If you get a female dog, you’ll still need to change diapers every time they’re in heat. Even with a male dog, you can still deal with some gross stuff. I’ve had to pick poop out of my dog’s bum before. On a walk. In public. Several times. Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do…
No Alone Time
When you have a baby, you need to be watching them at all times. You also need to watch your puppy when he’s teething to make sure he’s not destroying everything. Even when they both grow up, dogs and babies usually still want to follow their parents everywhere.
Teaching is Required for Both
For dogs, you’ll need to teach them basic commands such as sit, stay, come and no. You can even go beyond that and teach him some tricks like shake a paw, play dead, high-five, etc. You’ll also need to teach children manners and go through the endless nights of homework help and school projects. Obviously, this commitment is larger for children.
Differences Between Dogs and Babies
While they have similarities, babies are lot more responsibility.
Babies Are a Bigger Commitment
Dogs are a huge commitment. Before getting one, you need to make sure you have the time and resources to care for her for her life. Since humans live longer, your commitment to a baby is a lot more. At least 18 years under your roof and every year after as a parent. Since even the longest living breeds live 20 years max, you won’t take care of them for your entire life.
Dogs are More Independent
After a pup has grown up and earned some trust, you can leave him alone while you’re at work or out for a night. Obviously, the same cannot be said about babies or young children. Please don’t do that.
Babies Demand More Attention
Dogs love attention and many seek it out whenever they can. But they don’t need as much attention as little humans. For example, if your dog is barking up a storm when you have company over, you can simply place her in another room with a toy to distract her. With babies or children, you’ll still need to split your attention between her and your company. Sticking her in a room alone (unless she’s sleeping) is unsafe.
Dogs are More Low Maintenance
There’s no doubt that dogs require a lot of responsibility. But babies require more effort hands down. For example, every morning you can simply put down a bowl of kibble or wet, canned dog food. But for a growing child, you’ll need to prepare three separate meals each day. Another example: Many dogs are happy playing with their squeaky toy, while babies and children require more active play time.
Babies Require a Much Bigger Lifestyle Change
If you’re not used to having a dog, you may have to change your day-to-day routine in a few ways:
- Get up early to walk her
- Get home earlier from work to walk her
- Make time to feed her every morning
- Come home from work at lunch or hire a dog walker for an afternoon pee break
- Make arrangements whenever you’re spending a night out or on vacation
However, these lifestyle changes are multiplied when you have an actual child:
- Making time to breastfeed, pump or prepare formula
- Making time to cook healthy meals as they grow up
- Getting up early to make breakfast for her
- Changing your work routine to take her to daycare or school
- Changing your work routine or paying someone to pick her up from school or daycare
- Finding the right babysitter is a tougher task than finding a pet sitter
- Vacations will likely be paused for the first while as a baby or toddler
- Vacations after that will require you to lug around a child or pay someone or find a family member who you trust
- Taking out more time for appointments, homework help or afterschool activities
Babies Cost More
You should be able to pay for your dog’s food, some toys, bed and any required medication or vet visits. The list of costs associated with babies is far more extensive. From diapers to clothing to the cost of school supplies and beyond, it’ll take a bigger chunk out of your pay cheque.
Dogs help you exercise patience, commitment and responsibility—all of which you need to raise a child. However, given that babies require a lot more commitment, it’s not fair to say dogs are practice for children. In fact, there’s no perfect “baby practice” since nothing can really prepare you to become a parent.