Can Having A Dog Prepare You For Having a Baby?

Many of us long desire the rewarding experience of parenthood. While it’s an exciting time of life, and deservedly so, raising a baby comes with challenges and confusion (and yes, you’ll probably shed a few tears along the way.) However, if you’re like the nearly 50 million households across the country that own a dog, becoming a parent might not be so intimidating.

If there’s one thing most moms and dads can agree on most, it’s the love they share with their children and their dogs. Have you ever wondered if owning a dog is anything like raising a baby? You’re not alone. Can having a dog prepare you for having a baby? Get the answer below.

can having a dog prepare you for having a baby

Is Having a Puppy Like Having a Baby?

Whether it’s a newborn baby or a puppy, they depend on their mother for everything. Obviously, neither a baby nor a dog comes with an instruction manual. It’s the parental instinct that flexes its mighty muscles. Let’s say you’ve had the opportunity to observe a friend who’s a “veteran” parent, either with a dog or children. It may seem like they have everything under control, but trust me, that feeling doesn’t happen overnight. 

Puppies and babies alike depend on their mothers for a clean and stable environment, nutrition, socialization, and beyond everything else, unconditional love. Is the same level of commitment required for a puppy as a baby? The simple answer is no. However, raising and nurturing a living being will require some sacrifices and unwavering patience.

Learning To Put Someone Before Yourself

It’s not fair to say that anyone with a dog or baby is more responsible than those who don’t have one. However, parenting doesn’t give an option to be responsible. Before choosing to own a pet or raising a child, our most significant commitment might have been what time to work out or grab dinner with a friend. 

Here’s an undeniable fact about being the parent of a dog or a child: our priorities will change (or at least they should). When we’re responsible for another living thing, we should embrace our new life with open arms. That can allow us to stay calm when everything around us seems chaotic. 

Learn how to introduce your dog to your baby here!

Speaking Of Chaos… 

woman with puppy

Okay, so it might not be complete chaos, but there will be days when your tolerance gets pushed to the brink. We’ve heard of the famous adage “the calm before the storm,” and it certainly applies here. For example, we’ve all lost sleep raising a puppy and expect that same feeling to exacerbate with a baby. Do we even need to mention the whole potty training regimen? You get the idea.

Become okay with the fact that your new life will have some twists and turns. If you’ve had a puppy, they’ve most likely urinated on the kitchen floor. That experience alone allows us to take a deeper breath when your baby pees on you at three o’clock in the morning.

Having A Dog Can Be Good Practice For Parenthood

Unless you’re ready to become a mother or father for a second or third time, there’s really nothing out there that prepares you adequately beforehand. Sure, parenting classes, self-help books, or YouTube videos can give you some practical advice, but they don’t provide any natural skin in the game. 

Our babies can be welcomed into a much calmer environment if we’ve had some parenting experiences with a dog. Parents can benefit tremendously from positive affirmations, using “if, then statements”.

  • If I remembered to give my dog food every day, then feeding my child would be easier.
  • If I trained my puppy to sleep at night, then I could handle helping my baby adjust to a sleeping schedule.
  • And If I had the confidence to raise a puppy, my child will foster and grow up into a loving household.

Does Owning A Dog Make You A Better Parent? 

The health and happiness of any member of our family, whether human or animal, is the main priority for most mothers and fathers. Many households even decide to adopt a puppy around the same time as their baby is born. Can dog ownership make you a better parent? Yes. More specifically, responsible dog ownership. 

Realizing difficult moments don’t last forever is an important consideration here. Whether it’s your puppy barking at every noise imaginable or a baby crying like clockwork, this too shall pass. We learn not to sweat the small stuff. Yes, you might have had a dog chew up your favorite pair of shoes. Or your baby might have used the kitchen wall as a canvas. When you think about it, most problems can be handled with a little soap and water (and a few deep breaths). 

Related post: How to stop your dog from reacting to a crying baby

The Bottom Line: Dogs Aren’t The Same As Babies, But They Teach Us About Parenthood

We aren’t saying that raising a dog is nearly as difficult as your children. However, they are living creatures that require some of the same commitments as being a mother or father. Having a dog will only better prepare you to be the best parent possible. Unconditional love might not be the easiest thing in the world, but it’s certainly worth all your investments. 

can having a dog prepare you for having a baby

Resources- Can having a dog prepare you for having a baby?

  • Spots.com has fascinating facts about pet ownership in the US

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