Dogs and Kids

Since getting a Labrador puppy in late August, I’ve noticed there are a lot of similarities between kids and dogs. My husband and I have successfully raised three boys, really young men by now, and should be able to successfully raise a dog.  Or, so we’ve been told by supportive friends and family.


There are actually a lot of similarities I’ve noticed between kids and dogs over the last three months. Here are some of them:

You have to constantly monitor your puppy just like you would your infant or toddler!

The minute you turn your head, they seem to get into something!

Puppies have a ton of energy, just like your kids and seem to always be ready to play, but especially when you are tired!

Molly seems to have her “bewitching hour” in the evening, just after dinner, when we are ready to settle down and relax.

They never nap when you want them to!

Enough said!


Both kids and dogs put all kinds of things in their mouths. If it’s left lying around, in the mouth it goes.

Shoes, fingers, arms, candy wrappers, toys, food, socks, dirt, grass, and more! Molly likes to steal our youngest son’s sneakers and my shoes (if she gets into our closet).  Today I bent down to pet her with a dishtowel in my hand, and she got the towel, naturally!  We also think she might have just eaten a packing peanut. This is all despite a fair amount of dog proofing.  Those of you who have kids know that just when you think you’ve done a good job safety proofing, they get into something you never even considered a danger! Life with a puppy is much the same.

Dogs eat some disgusting things.

Poop – all kinds. Rabbit turds, coyote scat, deer droppings – you name it – in Molly’s short life she’s had a taste of all of these! Yuck, yuck, and double yuck! And, then, of course, we get kisses from that same doggy mouth which the feces passed over.

For some reason, this tendency to eat poop really grossed me out.  And, I’ve seen some gross things as both a mom and a nurse. The really amazing thing is that once Molly notices the excrement of another animal, she can remember the exact spot in the yard where she found it!

Children and dogs give unconditional love.

Both children and dogs will give you unconditional love. They give you joy in the little looks, hugs, cuddles, and tenderness of a hand, paw, kiss, or lick. Their expression of love is often not in words but rather in actions. Let them love you, and love them in return.

Test limits, they will. They will.

Puppies grow up, and children do too. But, along the way, they will test their limits.  Be home by 10, stay in the pen, finish your meal, take your nap, don’t take other people’s clothing, sleep alone, stop barking, stop crying, stop teasing, stop begging.

But, also just like kids, dogs respond to structure, limits, and routine. It is up to you to set them appropriately for both.


Praise does wonders.

For everyone, being told a good job was done is important. It is no different for dogs or kids. Positive reinforcement will just keep making things better!

I am sure there are other similarities between having children and puppies. When I gather enough fodder, there will be another post! In the meantime, what are some similarities you’ve noticed while raising your children and your dogs?





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