10 Things Toddlers and Dogs Have in Common
We decided to get Bliss when I was about 5 months pregnant because I really wanted a dog, and we believed that having a dog growing up would be beneficial for our kids. Alex is at an age that he is really starting to play with Bliss, and when we go on walks, he is the one holding the leash and leading Bliss around. I don’t know if it’s because they grew up together, but my dog and my son definitely share some characteristics.
1. They love playing fetch.
This is the best part of toddlerhood. Alex absolutely loves to help retrieve items for me. If I need a tissue, he will run and get me the tissue box. If I need a bottle of water, he will run to the garage to grab one for me. It’s pretty awesome. In fact, Alex is even better at fetch than Bliss, because Bliss will only run after the ball when we throw it, and she will just leave the ball on the grass once she reaches it and refuses to bring it back. I think our dog is broken.
2. They are food motivated.
Bacon? Peanut butter? We train Alex the same way we trained Bliss – using treats. We do not give our kids processed sugar, so anything remotely sweet is a treat. Alex loves food pouches and fruit strips, and even though the ones we give him do not contain processed sugar. When the day is long and I just cannot deal with toddler tantrums anymore, I will coax him with some “treat.” Just like Bliss, he perks up and responds immediately. And like Bliss, he will inhale his treat and ask for more.
3. They love to be chased.
I don’t get it. I hate being chased, but maybe that’s because I suck at running. Bliss and Alex both love being chased. At the dog park, Bliss always tries to grab a ball or a stick in her mouth and entice other dogs to chase her. As a mom, I spend half of my day chasing after Alex, and he just loves it. He can run so fast now that I think I might need to go to the gym just to keep up with him. The best is when Bliss and Alex chase each other around the dining table, not even knowing who is chasing who exactly. My dog and my toddler exercising each other? Score!
4. They mark their territories… with pee.
Yup, you read this right. As you may know, dogs are territorial, even female ones, and they mark their territories by marking the area with urine. Little did we know that Alex would do the same. After we brought Zoe back from the hospital, there were times when her diaper would leak on our bed from sleeping next to me, in her crib, or in the Rock n’ Play. Well, when Alex saw the pee stain, he would drop his pants and just pee right over where Zoe had wet the fabric. ARGH. We get it. You were there first. Making mommy and daddy clean up pee? Not cool.
5. They get really loud when excited.
When Bliss sees us getting her leash or even putting on socks, she gets super excited that we are going out for a walk. She starts whining loudly and sometimes even barks because she cannot contain herself. Alex, when excited while playing, loves to scream at the top of his lungs until the scream gets dangerously close to piercing our eardrums. I often cover Zoe’s ears in fear that her infant ears cannot handle such high decibels. I feel like Alex is a Marvel character with super screeching powers that he uses for evil rather than good. Must use mommy’s super power of distraction to defend herself and the little baby.
6. They run in circles.
Dogs often run in circles to get their energy out. Toddlers do the exact same thing. This is why having an island is a necessity for us. When Alex needs to get his energy out, he just runs in circles around the island over and over until he gets out of breath and collapses on the carpet. Oh, did I mention he screams like a banshee the entire time he is running in circles?
7. They chew on stuff that is not food.
Bliss has separation anxiety, and when she has too much energy when we leave her at home alone, she tends to chew up our slippers, the kids’ toys, etc. I believe Alex is over his separation anxiety phase, but he thinks it’s amusing to put non-edible items in his mouth to freak out mommy. The closer he gets to causing mommy to have a heart attack the better. A shoe? Mulch? Bliss’s toys? Sigh.
8. They like to stick close to the parents.
Bliss absolutely hates being away from us (hence the separation anxiety mentioned above). We don’t even need a leash when we walk her outside because she would not dare run too far away. Even if we walk really slowly because Alex wants to look at the neighbor’s doormat or examine a bug on the sidewalk, Bliss will always wait for us to catch up. Even though toddlers may be adventurous and wander off sometimes when distracted, they in general stick close to us parents. Too closely sometimes. Mommy would appreciate peeing alone once in a while without a toddler unrolling all the toilet paper on the floor or flushing the toilet a million times while I am on it.
9. They need to be house broken.
We got Bliss when she was 5 months old because we wanted her to be semi-trained. Thank goodness we got her from a good breeder because she, for the most part, was house broken by the time we took her home. Accidents did happen, but they were rare and some may be our fault. And for toddlers…potty training, anyone?
10. They need to be socialized.
We took Bliss to the dog park all the time because dogs need to be socialized or else they may be unfriendly toward other dogs. Same with toddlers. They need to be with other kids and learn how to share toys and play together without killing each other. Even though they don’t have sharp teeth like dogs, toddlers can be quite vicious when they really want something – I have the scars to prove it!
We can’t wait until Alex and Zoe get older and play a lot more with Bliss since she is such a good dog. She has survived two babies pulling out her hair, poking at her eyeballs, and tugging on her tail. Zoe is starting to stand and learning how to walk. Soon we will have two kids and a dog running in circles around the dining table tiring each other out! Then finally mommy can sit back and relax for one second before one eventually falls and the other trips over the one on the floor and everyone end up crying and Bliss end up confused as to why everyone stopped running. Ah, life of a mom.
Do you have a dog that your toddler plays with?