How Getting a Puppy is Like Being a New Mom Again

Puppy love

I feel like a new mom all over again.

Puppyhood is stopping me in my tracks. 

As I write this, our new puppy is crying in the play pen. She can see me typing away, but she can’t get out to be near me. And this, I’m learning, is just one of many ways a new puppy is like having a baby.

Friends have said “If you have baby fever, get a puppy.” Thing is I DIDN’T have baby fever. Not even close. But what I did have was the desire to give my family something they’ve wanted since I can remember. A dog. A companion. A friend.

You can read my previous post on our journey to getting a puppy.

What I haven’t been prepared for was how bringing home a new puppy was A LOT like bringing home a new baby.

Out have come the baby gates, playpen and blankets.

It’s only been a few weeks in the trenches, but there are already numerous ways I feel like a new mom all over again.

10 Ways Puppies Are Like Babies

1. Choosing a name

Countless hours were spent poring over baby books when choosing our kids’ names. In the end, we chose family names as our boys’ names.

It didn’t feel right to name the dog after a family member. After all, that might offend that person!

Her name had to be one we all agreed on, one we all liked. This was not an easy task with five of us. We gave ourselves 36 hours…and chose Ivy. Ivy Jane Haussler.

2. Crying it out

She cried the first two nights in her kennel. The puppy training books said not to get her or she’d learn that crying meant she’d get her a way.

I remember (vaguely) when we decided to let each of our boys cry it out. It took all my will not to pick them up. I put a pillow over my head, clenched my husband’s hand and prayed hard.

And I did these exact same things with Ivy. We didn’t pick her up, and luckily, after two nights, she cried no longer. She’s been sleeping through the night since…crossing my fingers it lasts!

3. Slowing down

When we first brought home our babies, we were forced to slow down and tend to their needs. We were on their schedule, not ours.

This has been an unexpected surprise. In a good way.

Our lives have taken on a chaotic feel as of late. Kids activities, work and family obligations.  Getting a puppy has forced us to slow down once again. We go on walks with Ivy, play in the backyard and cuddle.

4. Potty training

Potty training a child is very similar to potty training a puppy. You have to stick with it no matter how gross it is and keep taking the dog outside (or in the case of a child, to the toilet) even if they don’t have to go.

My friends have all said it takes two months to housetrain a dog. My boys were potty trained faster than that!

5. Separation anxiety

Do you remember when your babies had separation anxiety? It seemed to peak at about 9 months. They’d cry each time you weren’t in their sight or when another person held them.

This pup is our shadow. She follows us wherever we go. Cries when she can’t see us. As our babies grew out of this phase, she will too. In the meantime, we need patience.

6. Joy

Whenever my husband would come home from work, our boys would do the ‘run and jump.’ They’d run as fast as they could into his arms and he’d lift them as high as he could.

They are too big now and I know my husband has missed this. Well, he has another ‘run and jumper’ in the house. When he comes home, Ivy runs as fast as she can, jumps into his arms and he lifts her up. Pure joy on both their faces.

Our kids can’t wait to get up in the morning to see the dog and they race home after school to lots of kisses. She isn’t shy with those.

Ivy doesn’t care if we’ve brushed our teeth or had a bad day. She doesn’t judge. Instead she wags her tail as if she couldn’t be happier to see us.

7. Cost

Kids are expensive. So are dogs. And not just the initial cost of buying a puppy. Then you need all the supplies: the kennel, dog food, leash, harness, brush, shampoo, treats and so on.

Did I mention the vet appointments? Ivy needs immunizations just like babies do. We shelled out $100 for her first visit to consult with the vet. Her first immunization visit was $65. We have at least two more immunization appointments.

I know our kids are worth the cost…I hope this dog is too!

8. Hygiene

Dogs don’t bathe as often as babies, but maybe they should. One day I came home to a soiled kennel. Completely gross. Poop everywhere. Ivy went right into the bath.

When my kids were babies they used to poop everywhere, too. Poop up their backs. In their carseats. It was everywhere.

We’ve also been brushing Ivy’s hair each day so she gets used to it. My kids still don’t comb their hair. They basically would leave the house with bedhead every day if I let them. Hoping the dog gets the memo!

9. Discipline

The puppy books say to let the puppy know who is boss. Like raising kids, they need to know who is in charge.

The jury is out on how we’ll discipline this dog. She likes to chew (like babies do) and the books say to redirect her to a toy when she chews. We tried this tactic with our toddlers when they wanted something they couldn’t have.

It didn’t work very well with our kids, and the same is true for the dog.

This pup is a cutie pie and my fear is she’ll be spoiled rotten. She already has the hubby and kids wrapped around her little paw. I need to stay strong! 

10. Love

The love we felt when each of our kids were born is hard to describe. It’s beyond words.

I’ve been asked “Do you love her (Ivy) yet?” Now love is a word one shouldn’t throw around lightly. I have gone 40 years without a dog so it might take a little more time for me.

Yet it is clear after only a few weeks of having this puppy, she has captured our hearts. It makes my heart swell a little to see my boys so smitten.

Babies grow up quickly. And so do puppies.

As I’ve tried to embrace each phase of motherhood, I am trying to embrace each part of puppyhood…the good, the bad and the smelly!

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