Does how you care for your dog indicate how you will care for kids?

I love the Carolyn Hax column in The Washington Post and recently she posted a discussion about does how you care for your dog translate into how you will care for your kids?

From Carolyn Hax in The Washington Post:

A person wrote in that they spoiled their dogs terribly and assumed that meant they would equally spoil their kids.

“… The dogs have too many toys, I plan most vacations so I can bring them along, and I have a habit of praising them for existing. If one of them comes over all waggy, I’ll put down my book in a heartbeat to lavish unearned adoration on them.

“This means my kids are going to be entitled, self-centered, unsympathetic, instant-gratification-focused nightmares, right? And they probably won’t run the vacuum, either.

Carolyn replied in part:

“Treating your dogs in a way that’s right for dogs, though, usually means you’ll treat kids in a way that’s right for kids, so it’s a fine indicator.”

Another commented:

“Although I suspect the dog owner was being facetious, I do think it is worth noting that in my experience, not disciplining/training your dog can translate to not setting boundaries for your kids. Personally, I don’t think there is anything more annoying than a dog/child that does whatever it wants — be it jumping on people and eating off people’s plates or interrupting every conversation to say “look at me” and eating while jumping on the couch.”

There were other replies as well but I cant pull any more. Check them out on the site.

So the question is: Do you think pet care is an accurate reflection of childcare? Do you think it will indicate if you will NOT be disciplined or caring for your child or like Carolyn Hax said it would she that you would be “appropriate” to the needs to the child or animal you were caring for?

17 comments Add your comment

Dog lover

November 7th, 2013
8:46 am


November 7th, 2013
9:21 am

I know people who treat their pets BETTER than they treat their kids. As for the topic, I think its a matter of personality. Some people have a natural tendency to spoil and live and let live…others not so much. What a lot of child free (at the moment for some) pet owners don’t realize is that unlike pets, children are not small and dependent on you forever (or they shouldn’t be). You usually realize pretty quickly that if you want raise a decent human being, you have to make adjustments.


November 7th, 2013
9:37 am


November 7th, 2013
9:40 am

My feelings towards people and animals are not remotely similiar.

I care nothing for animals, but I love my children (and other kids) immensely.

I wish no harm to any creature but feel no connection to them. On the other hand, I coach baseball for small kids, and l feel a connection to every child I coach.


November 7th, 2013
9:54 am

The dog has proven to be easier to train than the children.

Well, yeah...

November 7th, 2013
9:57 am

…it is a really good indicator or how you treat everyone – and, “feelings” and “treatment” are not remotely related, either…


November 7th, 2013
10:14 am

Look at it this way.. I would never endanger my child by swerving to miss a dog in the road.


November 7th, 2013
10:37 am

NO! Unless of course you are cruel to the dog.

mother of 2

November 7th, 2013
10:52 am

My kids have said that I like the dog better than I like them! The dog and kids all have well defined boundaries in my home.


November 7th, 2013
10:58 am

I think to a certain extent how you treat animals shows your value for a living creature but how it directly reflects how you will parent might be a bit of a stretch. I will say though that in considering our dogs and kid as well as our friends with dogs and kids, there are definitely correlations.

Example: We don’t allow our dogs on furniture nor did we ever allow our son to eat in the living room. But we have friends & family who allow both dogs and kids to sit on and eat on their living room furniture.

But we also crate our dogs when we’re away and I’ve never left my kid in one (ok, maybe once… just kidding!)


November 7th, 2013
11:04 am

We love our dog and all of those we had before her. She is spoiled. She also does not talk back, accepts you for who you are, waits for you every day and is excited when you arrive. You do not have to pay for a babysitter nor set up a college fund. What is not to like…haha!

Pets are people are different though and sadly, pets will not be here forever. If you spoil your children, they may very well live with you forever. Not our plan.

When we were in Sedona, we saw a lady with two little chihauhas ( sp?) stuck in her bra. She had on a scoop beck shirt and their heads were sticking out. That was funny. She was at the counter and then turned around and we did a double take. YES those dogs were spoiled.

Our kids both love dogs too. Our son recently adopted a dog who needed meds each month. No one else was interested. He is a good dog and he stayed with us over the past weekend. Interesting dynamics with the little diva and a dog who could take her head off in one snap. They got used to each other and we were fine! Our daughter would like to have our dog at college but that is not happening. She has 2 jobs and finishing school .


November 7th, 2013
11:05 am

Pets AND people…sorry….

Scoop neck…sorry

Gotta scoot!


November 7th, 2013
11:19 am

I use my huge, well trained German Shepherd to keep the boy in line. He has seen what ‘Chopper” can do when I put the bite suit on my sleeping wife for kicks…Chopper only responds to my voice commands, and my wife usually forgives me after a month or so.
If the boy gets out of line I just say a secret alert command in ancient Babylonian, and ole’ Chop cranks up a bloodthirsty growl. Works every time.


November 7th, 2013
11:41 am

“Treating your dogs in a way that’s right for dogs, though, usually means you’ll treat kids in a way that’s right for kids, so it’s a fine indicator.”

I think this makes sense. It’s not a matter of whether people who spoil dogs will spoil kids — Hax is saying those who spoil dogs in ways that can cause harm to the dog, others, or property, probably aren’t going to be all that responsible with kids either. People who expect everyone to love their pet, be thrilled to have it brought to their homes, and not mind being jumped on probably are people who would think everyone should ooh and aah over their kids utterances and want to have them included in every get-together. People who either don’t care enough to keep their dog fenced in or don’t do it because the dog whines even though letting them roam free is a safety hazard, probably won’t be much better at keeping their kids safe. People who can’t refuse their unhealthily overweight dog treats despite a vet’s recommendation probably won’t do a great job with their kids’ nutrition.

just me

November 7th, 2013
12:39 pm

A person that treats their dog like a child = a person that treats their child like a dog.

Some of yuo really let us know...

November 7th, 2013
2:44 pm

…which one of you treat you kids like pets – i. e. – “the boy”, “the girl” (not my son or my daughter) = “the dog” or “the cat”…

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

November 7th, 2013
5:49 pm

MjG — love the bra story from Sedona — oh my gosh

Lilina stops to pet every single dog we see. I swear she has pet every dog in California up and down the coast!!