When you bring home your new pup, what you might not realize is that your dog may be preparing you to become a parent to a human baby someday. Today we look at all the ways that your pup helps you get ready (well, as ready as you’ll ever be) to be a parent.
6 ways your pup prepares you for parenthood
1. Someone else is 100% dependent on you
Your puppy will depend on you for everything their entire life. From the no-brainer things like giving them food and water and training them to be the best behaved on the block, to the harder things like making all of their medical decisions and handling end of life care with dignity. Like with a human baby, you will have to do all of these things without the ability to clearly communicate since dogs don’t talk or fully understand English. You can’t explain why nail trims are a necessity to your golden retriever any better than you can articulate to a 3 month old why they have to get a vaccine.
2. You’ll be a pro at getting up in the middle of the night
From late night and early morning walks with the puppy to midnight bottle feedings and 2 am diaper changes, your puppy will get you used to waking up at all hours. While your human child will eventually sleep through the night, some dogs never do. We know you can relate to the licking and heaving sounds of a pup that’s about to get sick in the middle of the night, or the 6 am bark of an older dog who just can’t hold it anymore - and doesn’t care that you had a little too much wine or a few too many beers last night.
3. Your puppy will teach you communication and boundary setting
From a puppy who just won’t stop barking to a baby who is crying for no reason, the transition won’t be quite as jarring once you’ve been through it with your puppy. Remember those first weeks at home with your puppy when you spent hours teaching them the rules of the house and doing lots of people and object socialization activities? Those skills will come in handy when you bring home a human baby that you can’t reason with. Like you learned to soothe your puppy’s fears and taught them that we don’t chew on the electrical wires, you’ll use similar skills to help a crawling baby learn to navigate life.
4. If you have a partner, you will learn about each other’s “parenting style” and how you cooperate
Does your partner want your pup to sleep in bed with you while you’d prefer your pup sleep in their crate or their own bed? Do you do most of the training while your partner is the “fun pet parent”? These stylistic preferences don’t just go for dog training. Learning each other's parenting style with the pup will prepare you for those conversations when you have a human baby. At least with the pup you don’t have to argue over who is going to give the talk about the birds and the bees…
5. Puppy proofing will show you just how hard it is to childproof your home
Remember when you thought you had perfectly puppy-proofed the house and then here comes your pup with a bra in their mouth or your favorite undergarments and you have no idea how they got them? Or remember how you found your dog digging in the trash you were just positive you had tied up tightly and put away? Or, do you remember the time you turned your back for just two seconds and the puppy was chowing down on whatever they pulled out of the grocery bag you were unloading? No matter how smart you think you are or how puppy proof you think you’ve made your home, it seems like the dog will still find something to get into. This is great preparation for having a baby. As they hit the crawling stage, you’ll now know to be ready for anything!
6. You’ll learn that your capacity to love another living thing and worry about their health and happiness is endless
When you bond with your puppy you will probably worry about their health and happiness more than you ever thought possible. From making sure their crate is a cozy place to spend time and buying their favorite toys and treats to teaching them how the world works.
You’ll also probably surprise yourself by obsessing over canine nutrition and whether your pup has peed and pooped enough every day. When it comes to vet visits don’t be surprised if they’re more stressful for you than for your pup. Watching your pup get some blood drawn or a vaccine might be upsetting to you but chances are your dog barely feels it. Dropping your dog off for a teeth cleaning or neuter surgery may be stressful for you as well.
Were you shocked when you went on a pup free vacation how much you missed your little one at home? This is all great prep for having a human baby. You might not sleep worrying about the baby and it won’t necessarily get better as they get older. Things like nursing your child through the flu, or the first time another kid is mean to them, or helping them recover from a broken arm will probably be more stressful on you as a parent than on your child.
Whether you just want to be a pet parent or are looking forward to having human children of your own, we know that being a pet parent is a challenging but rewarding job. One you wouldn’t trade for the world.
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.