Are Dogs Better Than Kids?

31 Jan

Did you know that Seattle now has more dogs than children? So does San Francisco. In a recent poll, 45 percent of dog owners said that having a dog is better than having a child. There’s a popular book out called, “Why Dogs are Better than Kids” that, in a tongue-in-cheek style, explains why (“Dogs give you warning before they throw up in the car”).  The USA has a birth rate of 13 births per thousand, down from 30 births per thousand at the beginning of the last century. At the same time, 63 million American households have dogs, up 23 percent in the last 10 years alone.

You see it in the news headlines: “Dogs are the new kids!” they proclaim smugly. I have every reason to agree — I’ve never had kids, I’ve always had dogs, and I have a business that depends on people indulging their dogs. Heck, we have an entire department devoted to puppy showers.

Yet all this is troubling to me.

In our increasingly technological society, we can work from almost everywhere. Wi-fi, remote PC access services, cell phones and networks allow us to work where we want, often from home, like never before. The average age of video games is 33, and two-thirds of heads of households play video games regularly. We talk with friends on the phone while we drive and do errands. We clear our schedules so we can watch our shows on television, but we don’t have time to see our families and friends anymore. We get our news online when we’re ready to read it, and shop without ever leaving home. In our society, it’s all about me.

Meanwhile, let’s face it; we’re becoming isolated. Individuals increasingly live in a bubble. College kids don’t study together or see each other at the library anymore; they do their homework online from their rooms. We don’t have to get together to socialize; we have chat rooms and Internet game sites. We don’t have to mix with each other to go to the movies; we have Netflix deliver them to our door. Even volunteering can be done without a time commitment.

We’ve become so accustomed to having everything exactly when and how we like it — from news to shopping to social interaction — that we don’t have the patience for being around other people like we used to. We don’t want to wait in line. We don’t want to wait at a restaurant. We don’t want to wait through commercials. We don’t want to wait for our luggage at the baggage claim. We don’t want to wait to save up for what we want.

Having choice is good. It drives free markets, keeps prices low, and gives consumers the power to decide who succeeds. Having convenience is good, too. But how much is enough? What happens to us when we have exactly what we want, all the time, on demand?

I think we miss each other.

We’re social creatures. We need a group. The “reptile” part of our brain (the part that’s hard-wired for survival) tells us that there’s safety in numbers. It’s not natural for humans to be solitary. I’m speaking in general terms, of course; there are always individuals who do prefer to live in seclusion. But as our society pushes all of us in that direction — slowly, steadily, byte by byte — I believe that many of us are reaching out to dogs to reconnect with someone who needs us, someone who will protect us, someone to take care of, someone who will be there for us, no matter what. That reptile part of our brain still has a nurturing need,  nesting need, a need for family and safety in numbers. And while we may not be aware of it as we busy ourselves with conspicuous consumption, celebrity watching and career maneuvering, it’s there.

Enter the dog.

Recent studies have found that having a dog reduces blood pressure and other effects of stress. That’s probably not why you and I got a dog, but we’re probably connecting with the things that make our blood pressure go down. Things like that wagging tail that greets us at the door, every single day. How many people in our homes get up and come to the door when we come home? The dog always does, and that feels good to us. The dog needs us. He depends utterly on us. He’s not going to become independent and leave (well, not most dogs). So having a dog placates our abandonment fears. He’s not going to judge us, no matter what we wear, buy, eat, drive or look like. Now we’ve got an antidote to constant criticism from ourselves and others that plagues us day after day. He’s another heartbeat in what for some is an otherwise empty home. Now we’ve got companionship in an isolated world. And all without the baggage of a human companion. No words that come out wrong. No shirking of responsibilities. No manipulation, tardiness, meanness, cheating or misunderstandings.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great to have a dog. I can’t imagine my life without dogs in it. I think most compassionate, responsible people’s lives would be enhanced by having a dog, and yes, I think people who like dogs are better people than those who don’t. But as I ponder why we love our dogs so much, I also ask myself if maybe we should reconnect with each other, too. Maybe it’s family that we really need. Maybe we should give each other a break, take more interest in each other, have a little more patience, and enjoy one another a little more.

Dogs aren’t better than kids. Nor are kids better than dogs. They just have different roles in our lives.  Or at least, they should.

What do you think?


Posted by on January 31, 2008 in In the News


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

38 responses to “Are Dogs Better Than Kids?

  1. ElvisDiva

    February 8, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    As mother to a rambunctious 2 yr old Black Lab, I would definitely say that there is nothing like having dogs as part of a family. My pup brings so much joy to my life. I couldn’t imagine my life without him….. I don’t have any 2-legged children and don’t plan on it, but I would adopt another dog or two in a heartbeat. Don’t get me wrong, I love children, but they’re just not for me…My husband and I would much rather have dogs than kids.

    • iriny

      August 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm

      ur gr8 and ur decison is the best trust me:)

  2. O Khan

    April 7, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    How can you guys even compare having kids with having Dogs .. is really sick.. and inhuman….

    • berta

      May 20, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      you r sick!!! I love my chihuahua!

    • lovemyk9

      November 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

      having kids because you think you should & then neglecting them or even worse abonding them & having them abused is sick.. and inhuman…

      having a dog that u’ll love & will love u unconditionally – awesome!! I love my furry baby 🙂

  3. Greg

    April 18, 2008 at 4:09 am

    They are not. It’s just easyer to have it. Less problems.

  4. Valerie

    September 26, 2008 at 7:41 am

    I agree with you. They have different roles in our lives.
    And there cannot be any firm conclusion whether a dog is better or a kid.
    Here is a list of Dogs that are good for children
    and a list of Stubborn Dogs Difficult to Train.

  5. Tommy

    February 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    I can’t say that either or is better. but I am sure that some people have their preferences. I love my dog and think of him as part of the family, but I wouldn’t place him above my kids.

  6. Jon

    March 5, 2009 at 2:05 am

    Just totaly different. I guess owning a dog is alot easier than a kid so thats where people are comming from.

  7. Baby Pushchairs

    April 23, 2009 at 4:06 am

    Well, I think ultimately the answer does of course have to be no! But there are definitely some days when I wish kids would be as obedient as dogs!

  8. Ru

    April 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I agree that we are missing each other in our society. Yes, both dogs and kids should have roles in our lives. I love dogs, and I love kids. I understand completely why someone might not want to have kids, but people who dislike children but say dogs are okay sort of creep me out. I respect someone who does not want to personally raise children; there may be good reasons for this, but someone who cannot stand a child’s company is an example of our isolated society, and it scares me a lot. I agree with what you say that most people are better for having a dog, but I think they are even better when able to deal with other humans, and all their failings, and that starts with children.

  9. Marc

    July 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    People who aren’t sure they could love children, who would resent having children, who would not be willing to make the huge sacrifices that children require, should not have children. There’s nothing wrong with such people…the world has no shortage of children, and I am very happy that such people get dogs instead.

  10. German Rottweiler breeders

    August 18, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    There’s truly not many things in the world like being a dog owner, but the same is said also about children, so it’s hard to assess about either or.

    Vom Bullenfeld German Rottweilers

  11. mr ong

    September 28, 2009 at 7:07 am

    I look up to us, for certain things may be yes, but not all dog behavior better than the kids. ok

  12. Tom

    October 7, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I own a dog and understand how we love are dogs very much. But, we must not reduce the dignity of a child to that of a dog. The bond between a parent and child as compared to a dog and his/her master is not the same at all. The relationship with a child is far superior! Dogs have a place in people’s lives but lets not go crazy and start pretending they are equal to children. Stop these comparisons, they are down right degrading to the worth and value of a child. Remember, a dog is not a child, not like a child, not equal to a child, not worth as much as a child. They shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence. Compare dogs to cats, birds, and fish.

  13. Guinness

    February 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    True that we don’t have time for family and friends but I think dogs are still better than kids.


  14. dawn clayton

    April 5, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Dogs are good company,but i am so worried that my young dog may not return when we are on a walk or may fall in a quarry that i think children are easier to raise as they can’t run so fast. I am trying hard to train her but she is into everything when i take her out although very good dog in the home.

  15. Colby

    April 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I like the introduction about how dogs give you a warning before they throw up. Very true…I’m always searching for a bucket when I start hearing the pre-vomit sounds.

    I don’t have kids, but my guess would be that having both would be the ideal situation. I love my dogs and will always have dogs in my household. I’d like to someday have kids in the house as well.

  16. DogsRule!!

    April 15, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I think dogs are better than kids, and here’s why…….
    1. No diapers. Diapers are nasty and with the invention of disposable diapers, they are filling up our landfills.
    2. You don’t need to buy shoes and clothes for your dog.
    3. Dog food and water is a lot cheaper than all the food your kids eat.
    4. Dogs are way cuter.
    5. Dogs are easier to train.
    6. There are already enough people in the world. We don’t need anymore.
    7. Dogs don’t cry when you tell them to do something for you.
    8. Dogs don’t judge.
    9. You can party and get drunk around dogs and they enjoy it.
    10. Dogs don’t scream and cry to get what they want.

  17. Chantal

    May 18, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Dogs are the ideal “children” for me because I do need companions, but I’m not a people person. I don’t even like human children, really. I like being a “pack leader” rather than a mommy.

  18. berta

    May 20, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    crap, if u even LOOK at a “minor” sideways nowdays… they call the cops on u 4 child molesting!
    gimmee a dog anytime!!

  19. Shower Caddy ·

    November 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    i love to play different internet games during my idle times at work _

  20. Lisa

    April 21, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Some people on here seem very angry or taken aback by the fact that a dog can be compared to a child. Why is that? In your human mind, the only thing you can probably comprehend is that animals are somehow LESS than humanity, because they do not speak our languages, walk upright and eat with silverware.

    To me, it is a disgusting attitude to think that the entire purpose of this planet and the whole meaning of existence comes down to one thing: humanity. And frankly, if you are a person who have never loved an animal (nonhuman) and had one love you back, I feel sorry for you. You should open your heart and understand that if it breathes and feels – it’s worthy of love and companionship and placement in a family.

    Not to mention, humanity may be PHYSICALLY most closely related to apes, but intellectually (look it up) humanity has most in common with the K-9 species. Dogs aren’t as far “below” us as most of you entitled-superior minded human breeders may think.

    And I agree with most of the people on this forum – the planet is overpopulated and surely does have enough children already. So why not start helping out some of the lost K-9s who give so much to us and ask nothing but love in return. They’d otherwise be put down in humane societies, as if they don’t deserve any more of a chance at llife than any human does.

    Another thing for you mommies and daddies out there to google – did you know that an owner bonding with his or her owner releases the same hormone as a mother nursing her infant? The dog releases it too – just as a baby would. Scientifically, dogs and humans are mere chromosomes from being equivalent. It’s the selfish nature of humanity that labels dogs (and other animals) as “less”.

    Try being more openminded. You want people to coddle your infants and tell you how cute they are when they aren’t – then have a little more respect for a loving dog owner. The way I see it, it’s inhumane of you not to (to the idiot who can’t spell “inhumane” correctly – spelled it as “inhuman”)

    • Diane

      June 11, 2011 at 3:57 am

      WELL SAID!!!! The world desperately needs more intelligent, compassionate people like you who realize that humans are NOT “higher” than any other species. Now I’m off to hug my 4 rescue dogs : )

  21. David

    May 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I hate all of you dog people who make all sorts of outlandish arguments like:

    “I’d prefer having a dog on a plane next to me than a screaming child”

    Last time I checked, my kids have never defecated on your lawns, bit you, or gone outside and screamed at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night.

    And of course there is the slight logical problem that all of us were once small children dependent on adults for everything.

    The last comment is so repulsive, that even though I’m essentially a secular agnostic liberal guy, I hope the liberal fascist who wrote it simply burns in hell. We’ve gone from self-loathing, white-guilt to human-hating. Great going liberals.

    Your overpopulation crap is sickening and sounds just like the garbage screwed by Betty Friedan and her ilk who have really destroyed this country over the past 40 years.

    I’m a Gen Xer, and a massive liberal, but I simply can’t stand the anti-child ethos in our culture, and if I’d be happy to come to blows anytime with anyone who thinks it is acceptable for us to equate animals and human beings.

    Keep after em parents….

    • Diane

      June 11, 2011 at 3:58 am

      Wow, bitter and angry much?

    • Dillen

      July 17, 2011 at 10:54 pm


      You asked: ”

      Last time I checked, my kids have never defecated on your lawns, bit you, or gone outside and screamed at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night”.

      In a way, you are right. Kids don’t defecate on lawns, they defecate in public pools. Kids in general DO bite (ask child care providers, or other children); your particular child may not, but neither does my particular dog. Kids also don’t go outside to scream at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night because they don’t have to — they scream at the top of their lungs in the middle of the night from the comfort of the interior of the apartment. Also during the day. And everywhere in between, when they aren’t getting their way, or their parents are trying some new age “cry it out” method instead of being responsible and dealing with them.

      At least you can call the bylaw people if a dog is yappy/someone doesn’t pick up after the dog — I can’t do that with your kids in any of the above situations.

      That’s what I can a pro-child ethos in our culture.

  22. Ria

    May 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Kids and dogs are adorable in their own ways…:)

  23. nick

    June 24, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    I HATE children!!!!!!!!! They fucking suck so much that if I got a girl pregnant I would take off just like that!!!!!!!!

  24. nick

    June 24, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    I HATE children!!!!!!!!! They fucking suck so much that if I got a girl pregnant I would take off just like that!!!!!!!! no regrets

  25. Kathina

    July 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Dogs are better than people because they don’t hate anyone, they are only aggressive to protect their young, if they feel threatened, while humans on the other hand harbor lots of hate. And to the person who believes there is even “anti child ethos”, give me a break! Most people breed. The population rises with the times, leaving us with less resources just because people believe their genetics are so special that they must spread them. Who is destroying our beautiful planet?…HUMANS!!!!

  26. Brendon Paquette

    July 17, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Dogs and Cats are better than children because they DON’T take all of your hard earned money, they are cuter, have better personalities, and don’t suck the life out of you. Can you say ” get that freakin’ screaming kid away from me?!!” All the parents of children I see are haggard looking, don’t take care of themselves, and are juggling a million stressful chores ‘for these children’. When I see and play with my beautiful cat i’m on cloud nine. Can you say that about the druggery of everyday life with kids? I thought NOT!!! Oh and stop having kids, they are taking away the habitats, of animals that are far superior to your stupid ‘accident one night’ spawn!!! Yeah!!!

    • Dillen

      July 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm

      Woah, Brendon, is this trolling or what?

      A little respect, hey. You may love your cat a hundred billion more times that you love anyone else below the age of 18, but insulting both children and the right to thoughtfully make the decision to have them(which is the same right that alsos you NOT to have kids) is jerkish in the extreme.

      How about spending a little less time on the message boards, and a little more time volunteering or donating to help said habitats of animals you are concerned about? It would make you seem like a much more positive person.

      Kids are people too, and if I was a kid reading this, I would definitely bite you the next time I saw you. ;b

  27. tory burch shoe sale

    August 17, 2011 at 7:08 am

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  28. Anonymous

    January 12, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Geez, you freakin’ anti-human, anti-child people SCARE THE HELL out of me. And humans are above animals. Period. It says so in the Bible. Kids cannot be compared to dogs or any other animals. May I remind you all that you are NOT animals, you are humans and you’re just insulting your own species. People are much more important than animals. GET OVER IT. I would kill any animal to protect a human. We matter more.

  29. mooingtricycle

    January 25, 2012 at 10:10 am

    If you check out the latest research, Dogs/Wolves and Humans co evolved together, through the years. Essentially, we made each other what we both are, without it, we would have been different things.

    Im definitely alright with that. Dogs are fun, easy to train, and are willing to climb a mountain or go off into the woods for three days without a single complaint.

    Childfree and loving it. There seriously are enough humans on this planet.

    Basic article, read through, and it makes its point well enough.

    • Dog Toys And

      January 30, 2012 at 10:26 pm

      It is not my intention to change your viewpoint, but I do not believe that humans would have evolved – or changed – into something other than what we are today without the influence of dogs. We were not made by dogs, we were made by God, in His image, with dignity and attributes that are uniquely human and utterly without survival value. There are a lot of articles published based on suppositions that are reported as fact, but only One who was there when it all began.

      I agree that evolution – as small changes over time within one’s own kind – happens. I believe that we have used selective breeding to alter dogs into the variety of breeds we see today (a classic example of intelligent design). But we did not turn them into dolphins or butterflies. A dog or wolf is one kind of animal, and each kind reproduces after its own kind. There has never been any recorded case – nor any evidence – of one kind of animal turning into another kind of animal. Charles Darwin himself realized that his theory was not supported by the fossil record, for he wrote in his Origin of Species:

      “The number of intermediate varieties which have formerly existed on earth must be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain: and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory.”

      When Charles Darwin penned these words, he attributed this absence of transitional forms to what he called the “extreme imperfection” of the fossil record. Since that time, however, literally millions of fossils have been found, but still the transitional forms are absent. The fossil record does not show the continuous development of one kind of creature into another, but it shows different kinds of creatures that are fully functional with no ancestors or descendants which are different kinds of creatures. (To read more, visit


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