Thursday, May 23, 2013

Babies and Puppies

I have often heard that training a puppy is a lot like having an infant. I thought that seemed a little ridiculous. I mean... one is a baby dog and one is a baby human. Totally different species, totally different levels of intelligence at the adult level. So that clearly means that there had to be vast, cavernous differences between the babies of said species - right?


Then I had a baby.

I don't remember the exact moment in which I realized that there wasn't really THAT MUCH of a difference between baby humans and baby dogs - but there really isn't. Think about it? OK, don't want to think about it, eh? I'll just give you a few examples.

Will & our friends' dog Indee, who is no longer a puppy (but was once).

Feeding Time!

I nursed Will from the day he was born and in fact breastmilk is still a decent part of his diet. If a puppy is born and is kept with his mother... guess what? That puppy also has breastmilk. Not with Momma Doggy? Fed from a bottle for a bit, I believe. Just like a baby. As the baby gets older and is able to feed himself, the two start to diverge a bit. Baby will pinch things with his fingers to bring them to his mouth, eventually figure out how to use things like sippy cups and spoons while puppies eventually eat and drink from bowls without the use of opposable thumbs. But you know what... sometimes, when I hold a few Cheerios out in my hand for Will to take and eat - do you know how he eats them?

That's right. He bends over and eats them right out of my hand. Like a puppy with a Beggin' Strip.

Waste Removal & Disposal

While most puppies outgrow diapers sooner than human babies, there is one thing about the two that doesn't change until babies are potty trained. That thing is the disposal of the waste once it has happened. In my purse I carry a ziploc baggie filled with plastic bags JUST INCASE I am out somewhere in public and Will needs a diaper change. Much like the dog that poops in the park, when my kid needs a diaper change that dirty pee and poop catcher has to be wrapped in a bag prior to being thrown away. I guess it doesn't "have to", but it certainly is proper etiquette. No one wants to smell pee and poop when they walk in the loo.

Speaking of Which...

Let's not forget that puppies and babies both have to be trained to relieve themselves properly. Let's not forget that both processes often require some form of conditioning of the trainee to use their appropriate facility and to recognize their own body signals to know when to do so. And let's not forget the amount of patience on the part of the "parent" it takes in both instances... and in some cases, bribery with treats for either puppy or human baby. 

Moving Around

I know that this one does not apply to all kids because some skip it completely... but we cannot think about puppies and babies if we do not address the obvious: movement on all fours. Will is a late and long crawler - he started crawling around 9.5 months or so and has been crawling ever since (he's now 12.5 months). He's pulling up and cruising, but with walking not on his radar yet there is no denying that he is much like a puppy in this respect. Having said that, I'm pretty sure that in a race - provided there were no distractions for either party - a puppy would beat my kid if said puppy were in an all-out run. That will change once Will's a bi-ped.

Chomp Chomp Chomp...

If you had told me that I would need to somehow get my kid to stop chewing on my slippers... well, not that I would have laughed at you, but I certainly would have rolled my eyes. I can't tell you the number of times we've rearranged things so that Will isn't chewing on something he shouldn't be - including furniture. In fact, I think that it was during a game of tug-of-war with something that Will had clenched between his jaws that we first realized how incredibly similar babies and puppies really are. I think the only thing that he was missing was the intense growling that sometimes comes from a dog when you are playing that age-old tug-of-war game with them. 

I'm sure there are lots of other ways that puppies and babies are similar (that you can attach both to leashes comes to mind...), but I worry that if I go too far down that road it'll just end badly. So I'll wrap up my list here and invite you all to comment if you think of anything to add to the list... I'm interested to see what others have observed in this regard...

Or mostly I just want to make sure I'm not the only one who's made this observation.

Yes, that's it.

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