Parenting children is hard enough, but parenting puppies? It turns out it’s pretty much exactly the same thing.
Right from the off, the similarities are uncanny. My parenting journey started off with me at 17 saying to my Mum : “Mum I need to tell you something.” And my puppy parenting journey started off with my 17 year old daughter saying to me : “Mum I’ve got to tell you something.”

Thankfully, I am not to be a Nana. Unless being a Nana to a puppy counts.
Does it?

Shit.

9 week old white Jackapoo puppy sitting in a grey dog bed with a pink teddy toy
But she’s so cute!

Parenting children Vs puppies

This little bundle of fluff came into my life just the same as my other bundles of joy. Completely unplanned.
Although at least with my arrivals I had some time to prepare, get my head around it and get the house ready. This didn’t happen with the pup. One day we had a cat and a kitten and the next, this little white thing arrived and turned the place upside down.

As far as 17 year old impulses go, deciding to get a puppy with your best friend isn’t the worst. But it would have been nice to have been forewarned that we were going to be sharing custody of a fluffy baby.
Thanks Jess.

I’ve spent a couple of weeks now playing Nana, and it’s really made me realise how similar having a young child is to having a puppy. And not just for the opportunity to dress them up in cute outfits and take a million pictures. (I definitely don’t do that)

Parenting puppies by dressing them up in super cute outfits
See? Cuteness overload


The 10 similarities

1. They cry a lot.

Babies and children cry about everything. For example they cry when they’re;

  • hungry,
  • thirsty,
  • tired,
  • bored,
  • over stimulated,
  • wet,
  • dirty,
  • dry,
  • need to be burped,
  • want a cuddle,
  • want to go out,
  • don’t want to go out
  • want to go in the car
  • don’t want to go in the car
  • want to go for a walk
  • tired of walking
  • want to be picked up
  • want to be put down

You get the gist.

Puppies are the same! She cries for all these reasons, and she also cries when she can’t see us.
Mind you, she’s also absolutely ecstatic when she sees us again, so this more than makes up for it.
I’ve never had such an enthusiastic welcome back from the toilet before.

By the way, playing peekaboo with a young puppy gives you a much better reaction when you reappear from behind the couch than it does with a baby.

2. Teething

I hated this stage with actual babies. Particularly breastfeeding babies. There’s nothing quite like feeding a baby whilst you’re half asleep, who then decides to gnaw at your nipples with its brand new razor-sharp toothy peg.
Oh wait. There actually is. It’s a puppy getting its teeth, and deciding that your finger/toe/chin/nose/earlobe needs to be chewed immediately.
Ouch.

3. Toilet training

One of the better things about having a baby, is that when it’s not in control of its bladder and bowels, it can wear a nappy. This is not an option with a puppy.
Apart from the time Joe was 13 months old and had terrible diarrhoea in the very same week he learnt to take off his nappy and run, this bit of having a puppy is much worse.

Not only do you have to be constantly alert for the signs of crouching (or cocking legs if you’ve got a boy dog), but puppies will literally shit and piss on EVERYTHING they can get their bums near.
And then try to eat it.

This is beyond gross. I don’t really like running, but I really don’t like running towards dog poo. No matter how many times Emily sings “dog poo, dog poo, lots of lovely dog poo” á la Drop Dead Fred.

Dogs are grim. Fact.

Basically, don’t leave anything on the floor that you don’t want desecrated.

4. Putting things in their mouths

Have you ever had to hook your finger into a child’s mouth and pull something out that shouldn’t have been in there? Like a piece of Lego or a button for example? Life with a puppy is the same. But on a much bigger scale.
This puppy puts everything in her mouth. From Playmobil to Christmas decorations to tampons to hair bands. Everything ends up in her gob. And then she thinks it’s a game when you try to pull it out again.

Apparently, the reason babies put things in their mouths is so they can learn about texture and possibly improve their immune system.
But I think the dog puts everything in her mouth because she’s a greedy wee bitch, and lives in eternal hope that everything is edible.

5. Weaning

This is one of the better things about parenting a puppy. We have yet to offer this puppy something to eat that she has refused. She has never thrown a piece of broccoli back at me, unlike my children. And she has never accepted a spoon of something in her mouth just to spit it across the room in disgust.
Puppies will eat everything (see 2, 3 & 4), which makes weaning them an absolute doddle.

Weaning a child is much more difficult. You have to worry about them choking, worry about possible allergies, dodge flying vegetables, fight them off when you try to wave a baby wipe across their face and worry about providing an expansive menu to ensure they grow up with a wide palate.

Puppies don’t care about all that shit. Whatever you put in their bowl is hoovered within minutes. I’m not even sure they taste what they eat before it’s swallowed.

6. Helping around the house

Weirdly, both small children and puppies like to ‘help’ with housework. Emily used to love pulling things out of the washing machine faster than I could put things inside it. Ruby had a thing about polishing stuff and used to steal my cloth whenever I was trying to use it. Joe had a thing for the dustpan and would spend hours sweeping stuff into it, dropping it and then starting all over again. Jess didn’t really like helping, but would helpfully sit on the vacuum ( we had a Henry) whenever I tried to use it.

The puppy wants to do it all. When I try to sweep or mop the floors, she’s attached to the broom or mop, trying to drag it into her bed. If I’m sorting out washing, she jumps into the pile, selects something and then runs off with it. If I’m trying to clean any kind of surface, she thinks it’s a game and tries to rip the cloth out of my hand. Trying to hoover is a nightmare. She barks at it, pounces on it, gets in the way of it and runs in daft circles all around it.

So yeah, cleaning with kids or cleaning with puppies is basically a nightmare.

7. Walkies

Have you ever been for a walk with a toddler? It takes FOREVER. They want to stop and look at everything. They stick their fingers in every little hole in a wall. And they want to jump in every puddle you walk past. They will often walk really slowly one minute and then try to run off the next. Or they might decide to make friends with every animal, bird or ant you walk past. If you’re really (un)lucky, your toddler will sit on the floor and cry because they do/don’t want to be carried. And there’s the very real danger that they suddenly want to sprint out into the road.

And it’s the same with dogs! A 10 minute walk to the shop can easily take 45 minutes now. Because the puppy wants to sniff everything. She wants to chase every leaf that moves. She wants to make friends with every person that walks past, and she wants to get inside every bush and puddle she sees. And she also wants to smell the bum of every dog we go past. (Or more accurately, every dog who goes past us because she’s been busy staring at a leaf for 29 years.)
She will also randomly sit down and cry to be picked up, and then suddenly bolt towards the road.

Parenting puppies and children by long walks along the beach
Walkies down our favourite place

It’s stressful. It takes forever. But at least the puppy wants to go straight to bed when we get home… unlike a toddler.

8. Toys

Their toys make surprising noises that will have you shitting yourself when you accidentally step on one during the night.
Children’s toys are usually battery operated, so there is a real chance that brushing past something will set it off. Not so good when you’re doing your final pre-bedtime check of your sleeping child.
Dog toys squeak. And are just as dangerous as children’s toys when it comes to sleep disturbance. Accidentally stepping on something squeaky can have your dog going from comatose to hyper in about 0.003 seconds.

9. Sleep

Neither babies or puppies are very good at sleeping. They often look fast asleep and you might think to yourself you can have a cheeky nap or enjoy a coffee in peace. But don’t be fooled. The slightest movement or sound can wake them up again.
The puppy will happily sleep next to someone, but the second you put her in her bed, she starts crying. Just like every child I’ve had! They were all happy to sleep on me, or next to me, but started crying the minute I moved them into their cot. Parenting puppies with little sleep is just as hard as parenting babies with little sleep.

And you know when the baby starts crying in the middle of the night and you have to change it’s nappy? The puppy will also cry and wake you up for a wee. But this requires more effort. Because you have to go downstairs, let it out and then stand there freezing your tits off whilst the dog sniffs everything before doing the smallest wee possible.

10. Hearing

Kids and puppies both have incredible hearing. They can detect a sweet being unwrapped from 3 rooms away. And they both come running faster than you can swallow the evidence.
They also both have this incredible ability to sleep through the loudest noises, yet get woken up by their own farts.

Neither child or puppy enjoy loud noises like hairdryers or hoovers. Although one will cry and the other will bark. I’ll let you decide which is which. But weirdly their own loud noises don’t seem to bother them.

All in all, parenting babies and parenting puppies is really similar. There’s lots of stress, lots of poo, lots of crying, lots of chaos and lots of moments where you’re going to lose your mind.
But there is also lots of cuddles, snuggles, laughter and love.

Parenting puppies and parenting children involved lots of cuddling
Cuddles and snuggles

So whether you’re parenting a baby or a puppy, best of luck! And get that coffee brewing.

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21 Comments

  1. One of the things that isn’t the same is that you don’t teach your baby to start off by going to the bathroom on news paper and then in then outside. But if you put in the effort, you could probably teach your puppy to use an actual toilet correctly before you could do your baby

  2. i absolutely love this post and laughed the entire time I was reading. While I don’t have a baby, I was lucky enough to watch my niece grow up and could picture both her and my puppy (who is now 11) doing these exact things.
    This is such an awesome post and super creative.
    Thanks for the great read!
    xo Bri

  3. I have cats and sometimes I swear it’s like having children. One of them vomited this morning so before my breakfast I had to clean up the mess haha! Not what I signed up for, but hey, I love them. My mother had a dog and she was indeed like a child to her. Animals are beautiful.

    1. They really are aren’t they? It’s weird how they can make a house feel more like a home just by being there.
      Sorry your cat was sick! I hate that when it happens. I have often grabbed mine and put her outside when I hear her doing that heaving thing before she throws up a hair ball

  4. Yes! This! We have four kids, two are older (10 & 12) and the other two are younger (1 & 3). We got a puppy over the summer, an Australian Shepherd. She is 8 months old and still very much a puppy. So many similarities! Glad to be past the house training phase, although now our cat is suddenly peeing in the house. lol. Oh and that Gif from Drop Dead Fred!! Love it!

    1. I just googled Australian Shepherd OMG how beautiful?! How long did the house training last for you? Cats are annoying aren’t they? Mine has started waiting until the puppy is asleep and then walks up to her and flicks his tail in her face. Then he gets annoyed when she chases him.
      Drop dead Fred is one of our favourites, it never gets old lol.
      Thanks for you lovely comment, so glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  5. This is such a delightful post (and that puppy OMG!!!). We were surprised at how much like a baby our puppy was, and because we lavished love and attention on her when she was small, she ended up being very sweet (incredibly badly behaved, but sweet). Best of luck with the new pup 🙂

    1. Thank you 🙂 She is in danger of becoming the most spoilt member of my family lol. I’ve had a rescue dog before but he was 8 and quite lazy, so having a puppy has definitely opened my eyes to how much energy they have, and how much work they are! I really hope she’s going to grow up sweet and good natured. She’s definitely going to grow up loved and adored.

  6. Hahaha another great blog post here. I really do enjoy reading them.

    Another thing that dogs and babies have in common is that when your patience is seriously tested they do something really cute that then just melts your heart. Survival of the fittest and all that lol.

    1. Hahaha you’re absolutely right! I think they have an inbuilt sensor that warns them when you’re about to blow your top, which makes them do something cute quickly!

  7. Thanks for writing this. I can totally relate. My husband and I had a disagreement with another couple about this very same subject because they insisted that looking after a puppy was a breeze compared to looking after a baby. Mind you, they never had a dog. All the sleepless nights when toilet training a puppy were hellish, especially around winter. I wish puppies could wear nappies and didn’t whine too much. Our puppy also bit a lot, especially when teething, put anything and everything in her mouth and got sick a few times. We almost lost her at the hospital when the vet gave us the wrong diagnosis. We almost sued them. It was stressful. And even as a puppy grows older, they still can’t tell you what’s wrong with them. At least a child can. Not at all minimising the task of raising a child but it irks us when others minimise the task of raising a puppy to be gentle and well-behaved.

    Ps. Sorry for the novel haha!

    1. Yep, I would have argued that with them as well. How can anyone possibly say one is easier than the other without having experienced both? The sleepless nights are hellish, you’re right. I’m so sorry your pup got poorly and you nearly lost her. That must have been terribly frightening for you. I really hope we don’t get to that to stage, but she will put everything in her mouth. This is the first year I’m looking forward to putting away the Christmas tree, because she keeps trying to chew the lights and I live in fear she’s going to chew through them when I’m not looking!
      Thank you for the lovely long comment 🙂

  8. This post couldn’t have come at a better time:) my 7-year-old daughter has been begging for a dog for a few months now. I started to cave slowly but, reading this post reminded me why I just can not handle a puppy right now. Your cute little ball of fluff makes my fingertips tingle a little bit, wanting my own fluff to cuddle, but everything that comes with it – is much like having another child, and I am finally at the stage that my 3 kids are starting to be more independent (as much as kids ever are) I am not ready to be a nana or a mummy again:) but your pup is just soooooo cuteeeee, I wish I had it in me.

    1. To be fair, I wasn’t ready for this little bundle of love. But I’m actually really glad she’s come (unexpectedly) into my life. Now most of my children are too big to cuddle and there’s another 5 months until my sister’s baby is due, it’s nice to get snuggles off something!

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