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Taking on a puppy, a puppy who has the tall order of growing up to be a service dog has been an incredibly work-heavy task. Anyone who owns a puppy would agree that they are time-consuming and energetic. Add to the that the pressure of needing him to be “perfect” or nearly perfect to be a service dog? Yeah, I’ve got this, no problem.
I have found some remarkable similarities between raising kids and raising a puppy. In fact, the biggest difference seems to be that I didn’t leash my kids or use food as a reward. The rest? It’s been pretty spot on.
Things Raising Kids Has Taught Me About Raising a Puppy.
1. Keep them on a short leash.
Oh. My. Goodness. I don’t know how any can survive or live with a puppy who has full reign of the house. Left to his own devices, Frodo grabs and eats sticks of butter off the counter, chews on everything and poops in surprising places.
Just like my kids.
The crate? It is a lifesaver. I wouldn’t have a puppy without one. And when he’s not in his crate? You got it, he’s on a short leash so we can teach him appropriate behavior.
2. Be consistent.
This is the part that is exhausting. Making sure Frodo follows the rules even when I’m busy, tired and just plain done for the day. Frodo doesn’t know what it is to be up at night with a sick kid or worry about paying the bills. Good day or bad day, he needs the rules to be fair and consistent.
3. Consult a Professional
Frodo and I had our first meeting with Brittany from Brittany’s Mobile Pet Services and boy what a difference it made. Our hour together was packed full of learning for both Frodo and myself. And now I’ve got a whole lot of homework to do. Babies? I’ve raised lots of them. Puppies? They are a whole new game.
Just like I used to pour over parenting books I am now in the thick of The Art of Raising a Puppy by the monks of New Skete. I read this book as a teen as I dreamed of owning a dog. I still remember parts of it…like how the monks took their dogs with them everywhere and had them lay at their feet during meals…and now it’s time to relearn all of that stuff.
I’ve also found myself asking Adalia for advice since she and BEN! have had a dog for well over a year.
4. Boundaries Are Important
We don’t let Frodo in the kitchen; ever. This has been the rule from day one. Unfortunately, this doesn’t actually stop him from grabbing butter off the counter when we’re not looking. Keeping him out of kitchen demands discipline and consistency on our part. (re: Rule #2)
5. Puppies Can Be Embarrassing.
I took Frodo into PetsMart yesterday. Alone. I needed to get him a harness and wanted him to try it on. Kalina was with me but we ended up have an emergency (we were out of cream for our coffee) so she walked to a nearby store while Frodo and I went harness shopping. It was then that Frodo decided it was the perfect time to test out his voice and bark. And bark. And bark.
And then he barked.
And I made an interesting observation. People are more forgiving of a puppy’s “bad” behavior than a child’s. I’m not sure why that it.
So yes, raising a puppy is uncannily similar to raising children…have you ever raised a puppy? Share your favorite resources, I’m ready to learn!