Is parenting and raising a puppy the same?

Klarisse Galido - Editor in chief of Knose Pet Insurance

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Klarisse Galido

As the content curator of Knose, Klarisse is all about blending vet advice, practical pet tips, and stories from the pet-loving community. Her passion for pets brings to life the everyday joys and challenges of pet ownership.

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I am about to be a mum for the first time. Naturally, a mixture of excitement and terror strikes me, as I prepare to bring human life into this world. I’ve never done this before, but for the past fifteen years, I have guided new and expectant parents and grandparents in the successful journey of dogs and children growing up safely together. There are several questions they often ask themselves:

A puppy playing with toys on the carpet of the living room - Knose Puppy Insurance
Raising a puppy and a child can be difficult for anyone.
  • How do you keep my child safe around the dog? 
  • Does the dog need to think the baby is the boss? 
  • What happens if my dog isn’t coping? 
  • I don’t want to take any risks. Should I give my dog up for adoption?
  • My dog is my furbaby. Won’t he get jealous? 

Expectant parents have so many questions, and the good news is that setting up an environment that takes care of everyone’s needs is very doable. The art in the success of this however, is preparation. 

For those of us who see our dogs as furbabies, it is important we consider that human babies and furbabies both have very specific yet different needs for health and happiness. Often when a dog is cared for as a furbaby, instead of feeling nurtured and safe, they actually end up feeling and becoming insecure and anxious dogs. Add a newborn human baby into this mix and you may have a lot of unnecessary stress and worry on your hands. 

So, is raising a puppy and a child the same thing? Well, no. However, there are many aspects of caring for both that are mutually beneficial. 

4 ways to make parenting and raising a puppy work together

Here’s how I will be practising what I preach with my family:

1. Consistency

For both dogs and children, consistency and predictability are crucial. Both species benefit in understanding what consequences there are for particular actions. For example, dogs thrive in an engaging environment where they know that sitting and waiting results in a yummy treat. For children, learning to exercise impulse control for a reward is also very beneficial to their development. In fact, the mammalian brain learns very quickly how cause and effect work, which allows us as adults to set up situations that empower our dogs and kids. 

2. Choice

    Choice is also very important for children and dogs. That doesn’t mean taking a toddler to a toy store and telling them they can choose as many toys as they want. Choice is all about allowing them to make good decisions, by setting up an environment that allows for that decision. 

    For dogs, this is invaluable. Just like children, dogs get very little control over their lives and this can be very frustrating and demoralising. Examples of choice for a dog may include, allowing them to sniff throughout their walk on a long lead, instead of having to heel the whole way. Or offering them a choice to get away from a baby, and access their safe place that nobody else can get to. 

    The reason why choice is so valuable to us and dogs is because it helps to build a really positive relationship based on trust and respect. It says ‘I’m listening to what you want, and together, we can make it happen’. 

    3. Safety

      For a dog to feel safe, a predictable and controllable environment is critical. It’s the same for a child. If they are raised in a home that is volatile, they will respond with a heightened awareness of danger, which may negatively impact their entire lives. For dogs to feel they are in a stable environment, they will need the following from you and your child:

      • Do not allow children/toddlers to pick up a dog, grab them, pull at them, or enforce their presence over a dog 
      • Allow your dog to get away from your child whenever your dog wants to
      • Never ever leave them together without 100% physical and mental supervision
      • Avoid your child approaching the dog, without the dog giving consent
      • Keep your child well away from your dog when they are eating and sleeping. A child should never ever access those spaces

      Cute videos of babies and dogs on social media are usually captured under the duress of the dog. Thankfully, most dogs physically tolerate it, but their trust and respect in the relationship is broken down.  And whilst I myself may be tempted to include social stories of my newborn alongside my dogs, I won’t without the consent of my dogs. This means that they will have a choice to engage or not to engage. They will feel safe and respected at all times. They will understand that they can say no, and that I will always listen. 

      A Cavoodle at the vet clinic during a vet consultation - Knose Puppy Insurance
      Protection is the key to protecting not only your peace of mind but the health and happiness of a child and a puppy.

      4. Protection

        While we protect a developing relationship between a child and a dog, parents and pet owners need to think about extra protection. There are ways to get ahead of unforeseen accidents and health issues and one of them is through insurance. Your local vet may recommend pet insurance for puppies and pet care plans as your best way to protect your puppy while protecting your peace of mind. Parents need to think of insurance as a safety net and a means to make your dog and your child both happy and healthy. 

        For dogs, there are pet insurance providers like Knose Pet Insurance that can satisfy your needs that are within your budget. I also recommend that you take the time to compare your options. You may also ask for a recommendation from your local veterinarian and schedule regular checkups to ensure proper pet care.

        Embracing the role of a parent and a fur parent

        Perhaps dogs and children do have a lot in common when it comes to raising them. Both smart, emotional beings who will grow and develop alongside us. And that is what it comes down to– us. We as adults are the ones responsible for their health and happiness. How our dogs and children feel about each other is ultimately a relationship that we must shape and support through trust and respect. And if we do it well, a dog will end up teaching a child the most wonderful values. Loyalty, mindfulness, and gratitude to name a few. Values that we as adult humans might also like to take note of as well. 

        Post by Laura V © for KNOSE Pet Insurance 

        Laura V is deeply dedicated to enhancing the lives of dogs beyond recognising their thoughts and feelings. Laura’s approach goes beyond traditional training; she integrates behavioural medicine, education, and psychology to foster long-lasting bonds between dogs and their owners. Her muse, Chester, has inspired her to live purposefully. Through her blog for Knose, Laura aims to share insights and guidance to help others provide the best care and companionship for their dogs.

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