I’ve recently been struck with the revelation that babies and dogs, particularly when they are puppies, are pretty much exactly the same. Yes, there are slight differences such as them being from a different species, but we’ll quickly gloss over technicalities such as that. The truth is that the closer you look, the more and more similarities start to appear.
I’m not saying that I know better than zoologists or that I’m planning on challenging Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, but spending the last 16 months of my life with a puppy, and then the last seven months of those 16 with a baby as well, does make me somewhat knowledgeable on this topic – although I’m sure the missus would probably disagree.
Since Dax joined our family in November 2013, a lot of my efforts have gone into training him. Not only so he does cool stuff like ring a bell to go outside and give us a high five, but to make sure he is obedient and well behaved, particularly as we knew a baby wouldn’t be too far away. This hard work at the start of his life has paid dividends as he *generally* does what we say (you can’t train the stubborn Dachshund out of a Dachshund), although it has been anything but easy.
I naively thought that I’d not have to go through the whole rigmarole of ‘training’ something else again – then Baby L arrived in August 2014 and it felt like the entire process started again. OK, so I know they have slightly different needs and you need to treat them differently – that night we left Baby L outside to fend for herself didn’t go down too well – but babies and dogs are remarkably similar.
Don’t believe me? Then have a read of five reasons (I could have written loads more but couldn’t be bothered) as to why babies and dogs are exactly the same:
- Food is their main motivator: Everything that babies and dogs do is geared around food. For a baby, this starts off being milk before supplementing the white stuff with solids during weaning. For a dog, this also starts as milk (not human luckily) before becoming literally anything that they can find and eat before you’re quick enough to take it away from them. Show a baby a boob, and a dog a scrap of food, and they will react in the exact same way – wide-eyed, excited, drool and annoyed if they don’t get fed there and then. Their lives are based around food so much so that you can predict when they expect food and can start to identify the signs of hunger / expectancy. A baby will begin to stir, root and cry, whereas a dog will begin to follow you around, watch your every movement, and if you have a weird dog like us, start nudging you with his snout. Now Baby L is a bit older, we’ve also noticed that both baby and dog will, very rudely might I add, just stare at you when you have food. I’ve not quite worked out why yet, but I think it lies somewhere on the scale in between ‘guilt-trip’ and ‘intimidation’.
- There is no such thing as a lie in: Babies and dogs have this really annoying habit of waking early, which means you have to wake early too. It is very rare for either Hay or I to have not got out of bed before 7.30 am, either due to the baby or dog creating their own early morning alarm clock. The thing that pisses me off even more about this is that both critters then go back to sleep within a few hours. Babies will often have a nap around two hours after waking up for the day, whilst dogs pretty much spend their day laying on their bed unless attention, food or a walk is on offer. It wouldn’t take much for them to sleep a bit longer for the sake of my sanity, but being the annoying gits they are, I bet they get some kind of kick out of watching us get up early to be at their beck and call. So much for a lazy morning in bed.
- Everything goes in their mouth: Unless it’s for drinking, eating or foreplay, adults rarely put things in their mouth. By contrast, babies and dogs will literally put anything and everything in their mouth. Nothing is off limits. Since Baby L has learnt to hold things in her tiny human hands, the first place they usually go is in her mouth. This has included toys, books, the TV control, mobile phones and, I hate to admit, a dirty nappy which I didn’t quite move out of her reach prior to a bath. Dax is similar, but arguably on a worse scale – whereas Baby L has use of her hands, Dax has to make do with stupidly little sausage dog legs which he’s unable to use for anything other than walking. This means that everything is done with his mouth, be it picking stuff up, playing with toys, fighting with my arm or ripping apart the used nappies we accidentally left on the floor when we went out.
- They are entertained by the same things: It doesn’t take much to gain the attention of a dog or baby. A simple click or clap with your hands can have your sprog and dog looking attentively in your direction. Make any kind of verbal noise at the right pitch and both will be anticipating your next move. Jangling some keys will have your baby LOLing all over the shop and your dog springing like an Olympic show jumper. Basically, it doesn’t take much to entertain these simple minds. Something I have noticed though is that baby and dog toys are multi-purpose – a dog is more than happy with something designed for a baby, whilst a baby is more than happy to play with a dog toy. On numerous times, Baby L has flung around one of the dog’s chews, but more impressively, Dax has used his snout to press buttons on the sprog’s Vtech First Steps Baby Walker. With this in mind, I’m no longer going to buy stuff for them separately as it is just too expensive – instead, they can just learn to share and we’ll deal with rabies as and when it strikes.
- They want stuff that isn’t theirs: As adults, we figure out that the grass isn’t always greener. However, babies and dogs are still to suss this out. Despite the abundance of stuff that they have, they will always want that one thing in your possession. Baby L is now at that age where she wants to grab everything. Any object within a metres proximity to her thieving hands will be subject to her attention. This means that you can’t do simple tasks anymore without an added complication – the laptop cursor will move randomly as she reaches for the mouse, the TV will turn over as she picks up the remote and you cannot eat without something grabbing at your wrists – even when she has exactly the same food! Dax is pretty much the same – he has plenty of toys and things to keep himself entertained, but anything that is Baby L’s is instantly more appealing to him. Her socks are his particular vice, potentially suggesting a growing foot fetish. The funniest thing he has done is claim the cushion we’ve put under the Jumperoo, which helps Baby L jump, as his new bed – even when she is having a bounce in it!
What do you think, do you believe me now? Have you noticed any similarities between your baby and dog, or baby and any other pets that you have? Let me know below 🙂
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