So, getting a puppy, what to expect?

(58 Posts)

Just that really. Grew up with dogs, have had cats for the last 19 yrs (the same 2 they were just very long lived)! My ds is an only one, and although I had a sister i was very close to growing up the sense of companionship I had from our family dog was immense and I want this for my son.

We did look into an older rescue dog, but my ds is a little nervous around dogs, and I feel that a puppy coming into the home and 'growing up with him' would probably work better, especially from a pack point of view iyswim.

So, tell me the worst...grin

Lilyloo Fri 04-Jan-13 12:15:21

We have had our puppy a week now. It has mainly consisted of watching him for wees and poos both in the garden and house.
Get a good umbrella and coat its not the best time of year to be standing around in the garden.
When are you collecting your puppy?

littlewhitebag Fri 04-Jan-13 12:25:31

What breed are you getting? My lab pup is 8 months and was a lots of hard work in the early days. My advice - get a crate and start any training from day one. We babied our pup then had to unbreak bad habits.

Other than that expect to be up in the middle of the night to let it out to do its business and as lilyloo says - get wellies and a mac to take it out at all times in all weather.

Ours is fab now but she it has taken a lot of training!

We decided on a staffie, as they are so brilliant with children and very loving and loyal. Yes everything I've read indicates that crate training will lead to a happier more secure dog, and make other training easier, like wees and poos and feeding, etc.

Just had a text whilst typing this about going to view!!!! Arrgghhhh! grin

tabulahrasa Fri 04-Jan-13 13:04:12

'We did look into an older rescue dog, but my ds is a little nervous around dogs'

Then just to warn you a puppy might absolutely terrify him...for he first 6 weeks my DC couldn't walk across the room without a tiny furry thing attached to their feet with his teeth, you couldn't stroke him without being chewed. At 6 months he's mostly ok, but he will randomly charge at the DC and have a bite of an ankle or more recently a bottom hoping to start a wrestling match - bearing in mind they've never played like that with him and he still tries.

My DS especially struggled to cope with him for months, it got to the point where he avoided being downstairs and it's only recently that it's gone back to normal. We've always had dogs, it's just the puppy bit that was new - so they're both fine with dogs, they're now both nervous of puppies.

ijustwant8hours Fri 04-Jan-13 13:40:42

Just to echo tabularasa really, my kids (6 and 4) were absolutely terrified of the puppy for a good couple of months and still have times where they don't want him around. The puppy is very full on all the time, we are a few months in now so I am not always watching for him weeing but I always have to be watching him for digging holes in carpets, chewing jumpers, snaffling the kids toys etc etc.

How old is your dc?

We have had to banish all toys upstairs, which has pros and cons, and there is a bit of an attention struggle. Also getting the kids to come on a dog walk everyday can be a pain.

Mmm, what else, the garden was never pretty but it is worse now. The dog and the kids can't be left alone together which can be a pain...there are logistical issues - can't just go out to the zoo for the day anymore.

New things start happening, so just as I think we are improving there is some fresh new hell to deal with (barking is a current issue).

BUT - we love the puppy and wouldn't be without him! Also dd was very nervous with dogs and now is too confident if anything...

Rikalaily Fri 04-Jan-13 13:46:21

Honestly, I would get a rescue dog who is already house trained and knows the basic commands. Puppies can be a nightmare and harder work than a toddler, they have to be watched constantly, can't be left alone for long and they are very handy with thier teeth when playing/excited and most young children are scared of them for a while, they will eat and chew anything not nailed down when teething.

We got a 7m old rescue last year, he's a Boxer cross so still very energetic but he's alot calmer than a small puppy would have been and I didn't have to worry about house training accidents, we have a toddler so keeping an eye out for puddles and poops would have been a nightmare.

This is such a depressing OP. I have just come home from spending the morning transporting a beautiful 7 month old dog. He was in kennels, and is now on his way to a foster home. He was surrendered by his previous owners because he was "nippy" hmm - apparently this normal aspect of puppyhood was a mystery to them. Please refresh yourself on the reality of life with a pup, and especially a "teenage" dog. Nippy, bouncy, mouthy, chewing everything, attitude in spades. If your DS is very nervous around dogs then this is not the way to cure that.

Please also get rid of any notions about your family being a pack. It isn't. It will be a family who have a dog. Try reading any of Gwen Bailey's books such as the Perfect Puppy. Pack theory has been completely discredited and is a load of codswallop. No reputable trainer or any person with involvement in dogs who is credible has had anything to do with it for years.

And finally, virtually every rescue in the country is awash with beautiful, housetrained, child friendly Staffies and Staffie Xs. No dog is currently more carelessly bred, and the KC have even asked people to STOP breeding them. Many of these beautiful dogs will end their days facing a needle in Council pounds for no reason than for some idiot wanting to make a quick buck and another who thought a puppy would be cute.

Please get a rescue, I can't comprehend why you wouldn't . There are lots of puppies in rescue if that's what you want but lots of older overlooked dogs too. Follow battersea on twitter - lots of lovely examples there come up everyday.

Lilyloo Fri 04-Jan-13 14:40:48

I am absolutely sure you would be able to get a rescue staff puppy, the rescues are over run with that particular breed.
Our puppy is a rescue however we weren't looking for a particular breed so I guess that was easier.

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 04-Jan-13 14:43:14

Pack?

<head/desk>

Are we ever, ever going to get rid of that nonsense?

Oh, and what Scuttle said.

Do you know how many staffies are in rescue right now?

They are amazing family dogs, definitley. But there are so many waiting for a good home.And yet people are still breeding these poor dogs, and people are still choosing a puppy over a lovely dog that needs a good home.

Its really sad tbh. You can get younger rescues, LittleDog was 3 months old when we took him in as a short term foster and he is still here

As for thinking a puppy will be easier for your son, you know puppies are a bit bonkers dont you? especially staffie pups.
They need watching, training, they want to play with everything that moves, LittleDog has a mad aversion to gloves, socks and slippers and will happily try and remove them from whoever is wearing them.

Staffies need training, they arent just born being wonderful docile placid dogs, they want to play with everything, chew everything.

I dont understand why you wouldnt rescue an older puppy or dog.

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 04-Jan-13 14:56:42

I just clocked the Staffy bit sad

I love Staffs. Adore them. I am determined to own one, one day. I keep trying and keep meeting other breeds who need me more.

A staffy puppy with a nervous child is a recipe for disaster and will almost certainly result in the puppy being handed over to a rescue within a year. Staffies are puppies until they are about four. They are very demanding puppies too. Very demanding. I like to refer to them as tiny whirlwinds of destruction. They need constant supervision, an experienced trainer and have a seemingly limitless supply of energy coupled with an insatiable urge to play (play to an untrained staffy pup is to nip, jump, scratch, mouth, chew and generally be a pain in the arse)

Please, please reconsider OP. Adopt a Staff age 4+, you'll have a wonderful family dog.

And please remember anyone breeding staffy puppies are going to be a BYB at best. No responsible breeder would touch Staffies these days because of the amount of them that are pts daily through lack of homes and over population.

I missed the "pack" part of the OP.

There is no pack. They are dogs, not wolves. You do not need to make sure your dog never goes in the house before you, never goes upstairs first, you do not need to "alpha roll" the dog or carry a big stick or whatever else. You dont have to pretend to eat the dogs food from his bowl. It will be a part of the family.

Hi.

It's up to you whether you get a puppy or not and from where, that's not my business.

I will just let you know that we have an 11 week old Pedigree Springer pup (from A Breeder!!). He's wonderful, adorable, sleeps well (about 10/11 hours at night), easy to train, placid, toilet trained in a week, doesn't nip too much etc. Happy in crate etc. We are lucky, he's a good little thing.

But - he is still hard work!! Like having a baby again as when he is up then he's playing (although he does play well by himself too) or we are training or out in the garden etc. Kids are great with him but do their own thing too so it's really the responsibility of DH and myself. restricted our Christmas considerably (that's fine btw for us). We don't watch a lot of TV now, we play with the puppy.

I wouldn't change him and to some extent we are trying to put in a lot now to get a lot back later, but it is full on, even with a 'good' puppy and I wouldn't want you not to understand that.

Good luck in what you decide.smile

Tantrums - we make our puppy sit and wait before coming in the house and before his meals etc but rather in order to give him a 'job' to do than any dominance crap. No rolling or beating or harsh words, just lots of training and encouragement. Is this ok in this context? Not pack stuff?

Staffy puppies are crazy though. Really crazy.
They need so much attention and an awful lot of training and then they get to 6 months and decide they will ignore everything they were ever taught and go through a teenage rebellion where they totally ignore you calling them back in the park, and just stand there looking at you as if to say "I know you won't leave me. I'll come back when I feel like it and you can do nothing to stop me"

<glares at LittleDog>

Well, mine did anyway.

The 2 year old we rescued, who had the most horrible start in life did not do this. However, if football is on tv he stands in front of the screen and will not move, and has an obsession with sponge. Any type of sponge.
We have to hide them.

Of course, teaching them to wait is excellent IMO

It's just I've heard people say if you let your dog go upstairs first, or through a door first they will think they are dominant, and you have to stop that, they have to know their place in the pack.
Normally the same people advocating alpha rolling and a swift kick to their back legs if they don't sit straight away.

babyboomersrock Fri 04-Jan-13 15:19:33

Who is the breeder, OP? There are very few reputable breeders of staffies around - as others have said, the rescue centres are over-flowing with staffies who were once someone's cute puppy.

I have little to add to the excellent points already made - pack theory is outdated tosh, crate training sounds simple but is hard to implement. You don't just make the puppy a cosy nest and find that he instantly settles - it takes lots of consistent training. He is likely to howl every night unless he's beside you - and are you genuinely happy to get up each morning to clean the floor of overnight messes? To watch him like a hawk in case he eats something he shouldn't?

Puppies will chew your furniture and carpets if not supervised constantly. They will nip, bark and jump up at everyone unless gently trained out of it - and this will take months, or years in some cases.

I often think that if puppies came on a trial basis (not a serious suggestion, obviously), the majority would be returned within a few days. You - not your son - are taking on 15 years or so of hard work. What if your circumstances change? Are you at home all day? What will you do when you need to go away?

If you decide to go ahead with a dog, please visit a few reputable rescue centres first. There are beautiful dogs out there, already house-trained, and information will be provided about their natures, so you'll know what to expect. I beg you not to encourage those who continue to breed staffies when there are countless numbers being destroyed every day for lack of homes.

Read "The Cuture Clash" by Jean MacDonald. That'll tell you everything you need to know about "packs" (ie - no such thing).

Puppies are lovely. I loved my boy from the moment we brought him home, but he was hard work. Harder work than our girl - a 2-year-old, abused, ex-puppy-farm breeder. I wouldn't want to do the puppy thing again! But it was definitely worth the experience and I don't regret it.

Just remember that in about 9 months time, just when you think you're making real progress, and the mouthing has stopped, and your carpets are wee-free, adolescence will hit. It will be a shock, but it won't last for ever. Prepare yourself for it in advance.

Enrol in puppy training classes ASAP.

EuroShagmore Fri 04-Jan-13 15:24:45

OP, my parents got a puppy to help me over my nerves about dogs (for nerves read sheer terror - I would cry and have to cross the road if I could see one coming towards me on the pavement). It worked brilliantly. I hope this works for your family too.

It's interesting that the pack stuff appears to be outdated now. It was absolutely drummed into us when we went to dog training classes with ours (and it seemed to work really well).

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 04-Jan-13 15:39:42

My whippet puppy helped my sister's children over come their fear of dogs, but she's not really a dog. Whippets aren't. You could say the same about Staffies as puppies, too, really, except Staffy pups are at the other the end of the "not really a dog" scale, along with natural disasters and the like.

My children are not scared of dogs at all. Not even a tiny bit. Three weeks of looking after a young staffy puppy left them in tears. They were literally begging to send it back, it put dd2 off puppies for life, you could literally see the colour drain from her face when I told we were getting a lurcher puppy. She cried.

Staffy adults = Brilliant, bomb proof, cannot fault them at all.
Staffy pup + small children = a sure fire way of getting a prescription for Prozac.

D0oinMeCleanin Fri 04-Jan-13 15:49:39

I feel I have been a little unfair to Staffy puppies. They are wonderful, bloody hard work, but wonderful.

I would absolutely do it again, now that I am an experienced dog owner and have older, dog savvy children. I'd still go into it with some trepidation.

Staffy pups need experienced owners, as in people who have owned and trained their own dogs before and they do not mix well with small children, especially nervous children.

OP, if you need a puppy try Scruples Whippet Rescue, they're always getting Whippet and Lurcher pups. They are the kind of puppy a first time owner needs.

If you're really stuck on a SBT, and I can't say I blame you, they are awesome, then do yourself and your child a favour and go for an older, proven Staff, from a reputable rescue. You won't regret it.

A staffy pup is far more likely to make your child's fear worse than it is to cure it. I cannot stress enough how much work this breed needs as a puppy. Leave it to the professionals and get an older, ready trained one from a lovely foster home like Tantrum's.

You aren't being unfair to staffy pups at all d0oin

We have lots of dogs over the years. LittleDog was our first staffy pup.
He has bought me to actual tears on more than one occasion.
My DCs grew up with dogs, some of them fosters with pretty bad behavioral issues. My ds2 was terrified of LittleDog after 10 days.

OP if you are still reading this, let me tell you how it went.
He howled for 18 nights in a row. Even when he was sleeping upstairs. I don't know why.
He point blank refuses to let anyone wear gloves and he is not keen on socks or slippers.
He chewed a hole in the carpet whilst I was having a wee
He chewed a hole in my mattress whilst I was sleeping.
At the slightest noise from anywhere, he would bark and run up and down for 10 minutes.
If anyone left the room, as soon as they come back he would jump up at them like they had been gone for a year, barking and mouthing.
If anyone sat on the floor, he would literally jump all over them. He also liked to grab onto ds2 trouser leg and shake it about.
If he saw a pushchair or bike he would immediatley try and bolt after it.
Staffies, even puppies are very atrong when they get an idea in their heads.

It took me 21 days to teach him to sit. We had to do it in stages. The only reason I persevered is because I refuse to be beaten by a puppy.

He is a amazing dog, he is loyal, friendly, loves everyone, very playful and energetic. I wouldn't be without him.

But dear god he is hard work. Even now with 5 months of puppy classes, god knows how much training at home, long walks, he is hard work.

Please please think about all this before getting a brand new pup, otherwise you will be posting in a few months that the dog snapped at your child, and trying to rehome him.

Cuebill Fri 04-Jan-13 16:11:22

The worst if you get a Staffie puppy and bring it up under the "pack theory"

will be:-
stressed owner who can not get the dog to do anything it is asked
a stressed son who is terrified of said puppy attacking his feet and jumping up at his clothes
a stressed dog who has no idea what everybody is on about.

However an older staffie that has been introduced to your son correctly, who your son has had time to get used to, who has been vetted by a good rescue "not Battersea" will be a fantastic addition to the family. If you are prepared to put in some research etc before hand.

Do some research and reading on positive dog training methods, Jean Donaldson Culture Clash, also the following:-

Dominance in Dogs: Fact or Fiction? by Barry Eaton (small but vital book - easy and
interesting)
In Defence of Dogs - Why Dogs Need Our Understanding by John Bradshaw
The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
Oh Behave by Jean Donaldson
Dominance Theory and Dogs by James O'Heare
Bonding With Your Dog by Victoria Schade
The Other End of the Leash: Why we do what we do around dogs by Patricia
McConnell
Dogs are from Neptune by Jean Donaldson
100 Silliest Things People Say About Dogs by Alexandra Semyonova

The right Staffi will make a fantastic dog for your family and teach your son the joy of owning dogs.

Also be realistic about things:- dogs may have some issues that need accommodating are you happy to do that, all dogs get ill and all dogs will need attention and consideration for up to the next 16 years or so. Are you sure you are able to make changes to your life, etc to accommodate this. If so let us know the area you are in and we can give you a list of fantastic rescues.

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