10 reasons raising kids isn't that different from training a puppy.

Just like raising kids.

I have three kids and three pets: a dog called Tiger and two cockatiels called Pearlie and Skittles.

This may come as a surprise to longtime readers of Mamamia, but I think I understand dogs pretty well. I grew up with a lovely Labrador – his name was Ben (not co-incidentally, that’s also our son’s name) and in my late 20s I had another, equally lovely Labrador – a black one called Jonah.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Revolution. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

Tiger joined our family nearly three years ago and our relationship is getting better. I like having him around and even miss him when he’s not here. Sometimes.

Anyway, Tiger’s part of our family and as such he’s with us for keeps.

The birds were a sweetener offered to our daughters when we moved house. They’re great. Their chirping is soothing and they’re pretty to look at.

What has struck me since I became a parent as well as a pet-owner is that raising kids and animals is much the same. The rules (if you are the type who likes rules) are similar:

Two too many in your bed?

1. Start the way you mean to go on.
If you don’t want your child to still be sleeping in your bed when she’s three, it’s probably best to minimize the time she’s there as a newborn. Same goes for your Pekinese. Unless you want little Cookie there forever (and Pekinese apparently live forever) you might want to get her used to her own bed sooner rather than later.

2. You are in charge.
It’s all about the pack, you see. People and pets look for leadership and thrive when they see it. You are the one who decides who eats what where and when. When babies and animals are very tiny they want to eat pretty much all the time. Fine. Go with that or go for a schedule, whatever suits. But if you get to the point when either your teenager or your silky terrier is getting the chicken breast and you’re left with the parson’s nose then your pack structure is out of alignment.


3. Exercise is good for dogs and kids.
Grown-up people, too. It makes you us all feel better, look fitter and be less annoying.

4. Be flexible with food but don’t skimp on fluids.
Especially in hot weather, pets and kids need plenty of water. No one needs soft drinks, cordial or even juice. In fact, those beverages are bad for babies real and furry.


5. Play is important.
Kids and pets learn to be good citizens through play. It teaches them to share, take turns and make friends.

6. Safety takes a long time to learn.
So assume nothing and err on the side of caution. On the streets, hang onto little hands and keep dogs on a leash.

7. Not everyone will think your pet or your kid is adorable.
So be conscious of their behavior when out and about.

8. It’s pointless trying to impose your taste.
Small children and pets of all varieties will generally resist being dressed in stupid outfits, no matter how cute you think they are. Save your energy or go for a walk instead.

9. Take lots of photos as things happen.
Avoid trying to pose snapshots. They will never work and even the most attractive child/pet will look a bit munted if they’ve been forced to sit still and smile.

10. Be surprised.
The fun of raising kids or a pet is just when you think you know it all, they will dazzle you with something new. Be open to this, and enjoy it. Last week I discovered cockatiels love coriander. Who knew?

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