Having both dogs and children, I’ve noticed the myriad similarities. Having the inability to keep my opinions to myself, I’ve also noticed that some people get extremely offended when you compare children in general, and heaven forbid their child specifically, to dogs. I’m not talking about that one single relative who tells everyone at Thanksgiving about how Prince Fancypants Fwuffytoes is their baby and, man, taking care of a pet is just like having children. First, you can’t just leave kids alone at home all day while you go to work for at least, what? Twelve years? Depending on the kid, of course, and how long you’re actually gone. There’s a world of difference between leaving a ten year old at home for 40 minutes alone versus a full 8-hours-plus-commute work day, and just as much difference between an experienced, responsible child and that one kind you aren’t sure if his parents even let him use safety scissors unsupervised and he’s 14. Second, you can’t put kids in dog crates. Not real ones, anyway, though you may be surprised how many photos I have of other people’s children locking themselves in Tank’s crate. Unless you have kids, then you already know that most kids think that sort of thing is both hilarious and as much fun as an empty refridgerator box. Still: not the appropriate child management solution for a two-year old unless said two-year old is actually, literally, a canine.
No, I mean the folks that think comparing a pack of 6-year olds on the playground with a pack of dogs at the dogpark is equivalent to calling the children filthy, uncouth, under-evolved little hominids (note: while potentially true in some cases, extreme discretion is advised). I know your Precious is not a dog, but precious responds well to love, firm boundaries and rules, clear expectations, positive reinforcement, simple commands, and spending a solid 40 minutes going absolutely, bat-shit crazy and burning off energy. Precious and pooch have similar motivators a lot of the time. They both know how to focus on enjoyment of an activity and not worry constantly about tomorrow. And sometimes, especially when kids are under three, they play with poop.
When it comes down to it, I think the “how dare you compare my kid to a dog?!” group is actually telling us way more about how they view dogs than how they view kids. They don’t see a loyal companion with an unbreakable zest for life, or a critter so smart it can successfully cohabitate with us without speaking our language or, in many modern cases, contributing much beyond friendship. They probably also don’t see dog ownership and training in the light of positive reinforcement training. If I thought someone was suggesting kids should wear shock collars or be hit whenever you don’t like their behaviour I’d be offended too. I’ve also heard any number of disgust-driven opinions and attitudes about dogs from non-dog owners and people who have a family dog because of someone else in the family (and wish they didn’t).
The mature thing for me to do would be to remind my fellow canine fanatics that these folks don’t like dogs, so of course they don’t understand how favorable the comparison is (or how useful, frankly!). It’s probably the same as how I’d feel if someone compared my kids to a whale. Yeah, whales are okay I guess, but I wouldn’t consider that flattering.
But since I’m not mature, I’ll hold fast that the perception problem ain’t my problem. To whit: I still think your kid is a lot like my dog (sometimes).