I had this thought the other day while sitting and watching Baby T eat her dinner. We got a lab puppy, Marley, within the first year of our marriage. We trained her ourselves and I’ve found there are some similarities between training a puppy and raising a baby. Here are ten of them.
- Teething – Both puppies and babies have their teething troubles. We always had to have chew toys on hand for Marley so she wouldn’t end up chewing on something she wasn’t supposed to. With Baby T, we’ve done the same. Something we’ve found that works well is wetting the corner of a cloth and putting it in the freezer for an hour. It gives her something cool and soothing for her gums.
- If You Don’t Want Them to Have Something, Don’t Put It On The Floor – This goes for things you don’t want to be chewed up or eaten. I can’t tell you how many shoes Marley had to ruin before we finally learned to just put them away. Unfortunately, this included a pair of my friend’s Birkenstocks. With Baby T, things like remotes, cell phones, electrical cords all have to be put away otherwise she goes right for them. Even something silly like a little piece of fluff goes right in her mouth if it’s not picked up.
- They Keep You Up At Night – I have many “fond” memories of Marley getting sick in the middle of the night, needing to get out of bed to get the cleaning supplies, cleaning up the mess and get all of us settled back into bed, only to have it happen two or three more times if she really wasn’t well. Obviously, sleepless nights are no surprise with Baby T, thankfully none of them have involved big cleanups in the middle of the night… yet.
- They Can’t Tell You What’s Wrong – Marley can’t talk (obviously) so sometimes she will just sit there and whine at us. Her water bowl is full, she’ll have just eaten and been outside to do her business so we can’t quite figure out what it is she needs. Then there are the worse times when she’s just not herself, we can tell there’s something wrong with her and wish she could just talk human and tell us what’s wrong. It’s the same with Baby T. She can get fussy, irritated, sometimes downright miserable and we have tried everything to make her feel better, but we just can’t figure out what’s wrong. Sadly, because she’s less than a year old she can’t tell us what’s wrong.
- Fresh Air and Walks Are Good For Them – Marley loves walks and being outside like any dog does, and her being out is so good for her. Baby T also needs her Vitamin D. We try to go for a walk every day, Canadian weather permitting, and taking some time to get outside for fresh air and exercise is the perfect way to break up the day.
- You Have to Clean Up After Them – Yes, I’m talking about the poop. Neither Marley or Baby T are willing, or able, to take care of this dirty business themselves. Honestly, neither is their daddy (although he is able).
- They Need to Be Taught to Sleep in Their Own Bed – Everyone in the family needs their own sleeping space, other than mom and dad. When Marley was a puppy we started crate training as soon as we brought her home. It only took a night or two for her to settle in and make it her own. Baby T did sleep in a bassinet in our room for the first few months, but eventually, she ended up in her crib in her very own room. Like anything with babies (and puppies), there was an adjustment period, mostly my husband and I coming to terms with not having her right next to us, but everyone slept much better in the end. That includes Marley who does still sleep in our room.
- They’re Expensive – Marley has had two knee surgeries, two sets of shots and vet visits per year, bags and bags of good quality dog food and more stuffed animals than she can even count (if dogs could count). Baby T hasn’t had any knee surgeries and her healthcare is thankfully free but she does have a room full of nice nursery furniture, buckets and buckets of toys, drawers full of clothing, delicious food, diapers… the list goes on. Let’s not even get started on future costs like a car, schooling and a wedding providing her Daddy ever lets a boy in the house.
- You Can Teach Them Tricks – When Marley was a puppy she learned tons of tricks. She is a lab so she was very food motivated and it never took very long for her to learn something new. I remember teaching her a new trick during my lunch break from work. Baby T has also started to show off her own skills that we’ve been working on including waving goodbye, sign language for “all done” when she’s done her food and she even started trying to say “thank you” after we hand her something. Yes, we’re working on having a very well mannered child.
- You Can Use Positive Reinforcement – When training Marley we used a lot of positive reinforcement. Whenever she did something good she got a treat and a belly rub, especially with potty training. Baby T also responds really well to it. I mean, we don’t use treats and belly rubs with her, but clapping and cheering her on sure seems to do the trick! Hopefully this works with her potty training as well.
There you have it! Ten reasons I think babies and puppies are basically the same thing. If you have more ideas feel free to leave them in the comments below!