Thoughts on Action
"Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live." ~ Nicolas de Chamfort

Guest Rant of the Week: Dogs Are Slightly Less Expensive & Time-Consuming Versions of Children

Rant of the Week Iconby Parent of a 4-Legged Friend

I have am cursed lucky to have a number of kids in my life, even though I don’t have any kids of my own. Some of these kids are family (nieces and nephews) while others are the children of friends and co-workers. Meanwhile, I have a dog. My dog is getting up there in age and I’ve been a pet-parent for over 12 years. You would think that this gave me an opportunity to have a “leg up” on the parenting conversations, but people who have human children hate having their children compared to my dog. They think that their children are different and should be treated differently, but I “beg” to differ.

Anyway, here is my list of all the ways that I’ve noticed that dogs and children behave in pretty much the exact same ways.

(My apologies to the cat people. I am allergic to cats and this hasn’t given me the chance to spend much time around them to observe their feline habits so I can’t write about their comparison to children, but you are welcome to include your experiences in the comment section.)

  1. Food – Both dogs and little kids need special food. You can’t feed a dog the same thing that humans eat and you can’t feed a baby or toddler the same things that adults eat.
  2. Bathroom Habits – Dogs and children require training to teach them how to properly go to the bathroom. For dogs, you want them to go outside or on special paper/pads in the house. For children, you want them to go in a diaper at the beginning and later transition to a potty.
  3. Naps – Dogs and babies are both content to nap throughout the day. And, when both sleep, they do not do so quietly. Dogs and children make noise and move around a lot while sleeping.
  4. Play Time – Kids and dogs love to play and can make anything into a toy. Even if that is a cardboard box, wrapping paper, or food.
  5. Mouth – Everything goes in the mouths of children and dogs, whether it is supposed to or not.
  6. Constant Supervision – See “mouth” above. You have to be quick to get a button out of the mouth of a dog or baby. Even if you thought that button was sewed tightly onto your throw pillow, they will find a way to dislodge it and put it in their mouth in the 10 seconds it took you to sit down across the room.
  7. Safeguarding the House – Before getting a dog or a baby, it is important to make the house safe for them and from them. Everything under 3 feet in height must be moved if it is breakable, small enough to be swallowed, dangerous, or could be damaged by the child or dog. This actually means that everything gets put up high or locked into a cabinet and all cords and wires have to be removed or taped down.
  8. Listening Skills – Children and dogs have poor listening skills. You constantly have to repeat yourself to tell them the rules or expectations for their behavior.
  9. Privacy and Alone Time – Neither of these exist if you have children or dogs. You can’t even go to the bathroom or make a phone call without being interrupted. Children and dogs constantly want your attention.
  10. Tricks – Parents of children and dogs can not contain their pride in showing off the newest trick that can be performed by their kids or dogs. Whether that trick is crawling, walking, sitting or speaking, the parent is overjoyed to show off this trick to anyone willing to watch.  And, often a food-related bribe is needed to encourage the child or dog to perform said trick.

And yet parents still get mad when the comparison is made…

13 Responses to Guest Rant of the Week: Dogs Are Slightly Less Expensive & Time-Consuming Versions of Children

  • ML says:

    Love it. I would say a cat is worse than a dog, as they can jump up on everything. I can’t remember what our house was like before a cat. When we didn’t have to keep our drinks on top of the fridge so she wouldn’t drink them. When it was safe to burn a candle because we’re grown-ups and we didn’t have to hide the dangerous fire (scorched whiskers and wax on her face). When we didn’t have to hide electrical wires. When not everything we owned was slightly ruined by teeth marks or scratches. Before I had to clean poop off the floor because she was sick. Had I not specified cat, one might think I was talking about a child, point proven.

  • Diptie says:

    I SO agree! I adopted a puppy in the spring after my 17 year old pup passed on, and we have gone through the terrible two’s as well as 7-8 month adolescence. In addition to all of the above, he throws tantrums when he’s tired and doesn’t want to go to bed, and now is taking to ignoring me and generally rebelling. The great thing about pets though, is he will get through all those stages and be a pleasure to be around much sooner than a child. The bad thing is around the time a child is starting to become a normal human being, your dog will be long gone. :(

    • Scott says:

      What really, really saddens me and makes me angry is new parents who get rid of their pets when the first baby arrives. Maybe there are extenuating circumstances in some cases, but that just seems like reprehensible behavior to me.

      • Gail says:

        Totally agree. The only two circumstances where I would be okay with this would be if the child was allergic to the pet or if the pet was aggressive toward the pet. And, in those cases, the owner should find a good home for the pet and not just abandon it. Otherwise, in any other circumstance, you made a commitment to the pet and should not get rid of it just because you now have a child.

  • Jessica says:

    I told myself today that I can’t have a child if I can’t manage to keep the dog away from the cat food and litter box. I love my pets, but boy are they handful. Could you imagine a dog and a baby AT THE SAME TIME?! I’m sure they would work together for maximum mayhem.

    I know people do it, and I know people who are doing it. I just don’t think I could be in charge of a person.

  • Rache says:

    It was having a puppy that convinced me that I can’t handle children. Two weeks into it and I was exhausted from him crying all night, dreading every time I turned my back since it seemed like I was ALWAYS cleaning up some ickyness, and wanting to sob if I yelled at him since he was just a puppy. He is 10 months old now and still a bit of a handful. I love him but hell no I am not taking him on vacation like some people suggested!

    And yet I can’t wait to get another dog. :)

  • Scott says:

    Don’t worry, parents. I will not compare anyone’s children to my cats. I can see how parents might find that insulting to their children. I would never do it because it would be insulting to my cats….

  • Diva says:

    For some people, their pets are their kids, and for others, their kids are their pets! :) While everyone has their preferences as to pets vs. kids — to me it’s about responsibility and how much of it you want to take. Personally, I think it’s easier to have a pet (I mean, you’re not going to send your pet to college), and that how you feel about that responsibility can influence whether you are up for raising a kid. Whenever I’ve dog-sat for a friend, my impression was “whew! if this is anything like having a kid, I’m not ready!” I don’t have kids or pets, partly because of my housing rules, but mainly because I wouldn’t be able to fully attend to either of them.

    I can see that it would seem terrible that new parents get rid of their pets, but there are often indeed circumstances. Just from my parenting friends: sometimes the pet is jealous and not responding well to the new child; the parents are concerned about hygiene (esp. in a city like NYC where the pet drags in all sorts of things); they simply don’t have enough time to give to their pet now that they have a newborn. They have to make a choice between their child and their pet — and that choice is a no-brainer to them.

    • Scott says:

      I see your point about some valid reasons to give a pet to a better home. As for dogs tracking in nasty things, they are no dirtier or more dangerous than humans, actually. A crawling baby will do all that on its own. A dog’s mouth is actually cleaner than a human’s!

  • Hanna says:

    My cat gave me a baby-like experience I never hoped to have. 2 weeks ago we drove from Denver to Los Angeles with him, stopping for the night in Las Vegas. My cat meowed the whole drive, which I expected. I had also expected him to sleep when we got to the hotel because he hadn’t slept all day.
    NOPE.
    The damn cat meowed all freaking night, usually every 10-20 seconds. I laid on the floor for most of the night to try to comfort him/shut him up for 2 minutes so my husband could fall asleep. Nothing I did made him quiet. At 6AM I gave up. Not long afterward I crawled back into bed and saw that the cat was finally sleeping on the foot of the bed. I mouthed to my husband “he’s asleep!!!” and then collapsed into sleep myself.

  • Jenny says:

    This is a timely post for me. The other night my husband and I had an “argument” about who was going to stop what they were doing to feed the dog. I got up to feed him and said “And this is why we shouldn’t have children….” ha! Our dog was SUCH a handful as a puppy and even now that he’s 3 years old, he still requires enough work for me with daily walks and such. I cannot imagine having him plus a child.

  • Gail says:

    We lost our 12 year old dog this week to cancer. While family and friends have been wonderfully supportive, it has been tough because others don’t realize why we are so sad and upset because she was just a dog. They don’t understand the bond that we had with her and we treated her like she was our child. We loved her and cared for her and always wanted the best for her. She just happened to have 4 legs and a tail instead of two legs and two arms.

  • Emily says:

    I so agree! I have 2 dogs and a puppy and it is exhausting! My dogs are small so before going out I need to dress them, with all the snow I also have to get boots onto them which is just so fun. The puppy gets into everything, she has brought me stuff I didn’t even know I owned and I have no clue where she found it. They all have long hair which requires daily brushing and regular hair cuts, two get car sick, one needs daily medication, they need walks, training, playtime and love and affection but no they will never go to college so I am funding the vets child’s education ;)

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