I would like to get a puppy as with the arrival of DC3 I am now a SAHM. DH isn't keen on the idea because our dog (11 year old Lab cross) was a bit of a nightmare as a pup: ate a sofa, separation anxiety, broke the front door glass going after a cat, chewed EVERYTHING, ran away whenever let off the lead, had trouble with toilet training, etc. She is now an extremely well behaved dog (apart from a bit of bin raiding), she walks off the lead, obeys a range of commands and is generally very easy to get on with.
DH thinks new dog (12 week old Labrador) will be another nightmare and it will all be awful. I think we know what we're doing now so will make less mistakes along the way AND because we have an older dog the puppy will be easier to manage because he will probably copy her behaviour. Another issue is that we adopted her from a rescue centre at five months old so she was already too big to be able to lift her and she hasn't had any training at this point.
I don't have rose tinted spectacles, I know I will have to train the dog and there will be a certain amount of accidents and damage to possessions and furniture no matter how careful we are. But is getting a puppy really the awful experience my DH expects?
From my experience getting a puppy at 5/6 months is hard as they're missed the important socialisation stage & bad habits they have are difficult (but not impossible) to cure. I'd go for an older 18mnth plus dog or a younger puppy, if you have time & lots of patience. My dh said we couldn't have a dog for years, we now have 2 (a 9yr old rescue & a 10mnt old we've had from 11wks) we all love them to bits
Puppies and very small children are very hard work - speaking from experience.
Needle-teeth and claws, jumping up (until trained), chewing the children's toys gleefully, hurtling off with freshly changed nappies (although this could just be mine!). And that's just a few things I remember (along with digging, snail wrangling, poo eating..)
Mine is 19 months now and just becoming half-sensible, although is tempting fate to say it out loud.
I have told everyone that, no matter how I much I now adore him, I will never get another puppy
Hmmm. I think if you used a crate (which helps so much with the toilet training & keeping house unchewed) and trained the pup really well it wouldn't be as bad as first time round. But it would still be really really hard.
We had our last dog from 8 weeks. It was incredibly hard work but made much easier by the fact that I wasn't working and had no DC, so was able to give 100% attention for that key period with toilet training etc
Definitely consider getting a rescue pup of 6-12 months rather than a brand new puppy. You'll still have to do the training and put the work in, but it'll be a lot easier than starting from scratch with a 12 week old. Also it's supporting rescues rather than supporting breeders. (That's assuming your 12 week old lab is from a breeder. If it isn't, please ignore that statement!)
Having watched a good friend with a young puppy, a young DS and a 3yo DD, I would whole-heartedly say get an older dog. Even with crate-training, I just think ultimately the kids will need you and the puppy will need you and it'll be too much.
I always thought it was better to get a puppy when you have children so that the dog grows up used to them and you don't get any surprises. I wouldn't get a rescue dog again as my dog had a lot of problems when we got her - she had had a botched spaying operation, was malnourished, had some kind of stomach infection, wasn't toilet trained at all and she can be quite aggressive to other dogs (anything bigger than her).
My older boys are 10 and 6 and used to puppies as their childminder got two in the last two years. I was hoping they would be able to help with letting the puppy out into the garden to do his business. I think I would put the stairgate up to keep him confined to downstairs and we would use a crate at least initially.
Seems a shame to assume that another rescue dog would have problems as your current dog did.
Toilet training isn't just letting them out though. It's taking them out at least every hour, probably more at the beginning, and also as soon as they wake up and immediately after feeding etc, and then standing outside for ages until they do their business so you can 'catch' them doing it and huge amounts of praise etc. I wouldn't want DC to have to do that.
Of course loads of people have puppies when they already have children, and if I wasn't working and had school age children, I'd consider it, but not with a baby as well tbh.
Stuntnun - the rescue I recently got our dog from fosters their puppies out to homes until a permanent home is found for them - several of the foster homes have small children - so you end up with a well-socialised, family friendly dog.
We actually got ours direct from the breeder. He was returned to the breeder by the family who initially had him due to a change in circumstances, but they'd looked after him well and socialised him brilliantly, so he's a great (although bouncy!) family dog with no behavioural problems or anything.
I understand getting a dog from a rescue with small children/a baby might be difficult, but I'm sure people on here could advise good places to try if you do want to go that route.
That's such a sad thing to read - that you wouldn't get a rescue dog again. Between myself and my immediate family we've taken on 6+ rescue dogs between us and each one's been completely different in terms of health, training and temperament. Some have had issues, some not so much.
It looks like you're pretty much set on the 12 week old lab, and I'm not sure we're likely to change your mind on that front. Just so long as you realise it's going to be hard work; really hard work - harder than before because you have the extra complication of the DCs this time.
Also don't be so sure your old dog will be happy with a new puppy. I also have an 11 year old lab cross and she's fine with older dogs, but she really doesn't like puppies; anything which will try to clamber over her really stresses her out.
Unless both of you want a dog then you shouldn't get one. Agree with flowery on this. I'm not a dog person but I know several people who are. And some of them have the patience of saints with those rescue dogs.
Personally I think a puppy is much more of a gamble than a rescue dog - its all a surprise with a puppy, you put in the early work and just hope that they turn out ok... But you've no idea what personality is going to emerge really.
A good rescue should be able to match you to a dog that already suits you.
My DC found my puppy way too much for them - they're not even young, they're teenagers and used to living with dogs, but a small bitey thing was something else entirely.
As what I consider a reputable and responsible breeder, I think you are seeing it through rose tinted glasses tbh. Where is this 12 week old puppy coming from anyway? You could well be setting yourself up for problems because it's unbelievably rare that any decent breeder has a 12 week old puppy left available and at 12 weeks, unless they have already had extensive socialisation, they have missed almost all of the vital socialisation period for puppies. Plus, if DC 3 is very young, no responsible breeder is going to let you have one of their puppies anyway. I wouldn't. So, if the puppy isn't from a responsible breeder, it's possible that health tests to the parents haven't been done and no thought to temprement or health has been given with breeding the puppy.
IMO, allowing a 10 and 6 year old to 'help' with a puppy in any serious way is also setting yourself up for problems IMO. I wouldn't allow them to be with a puppy with no supervision, for a start, so that means helping with toilet training is out. (you need someone to stay out with the puppy, you can't just let it out) Yes, they can help with training, feeding etc, but this all needs to be under strict adult supervision. Children can very easily inadvertently encourage undesirable behaviour in puppies.
I agree with the other posters that you would be better off with an older 'made' dog. One that is toilet trained and has basic commands. Even if there are minor problems, if you can cope with a puppy and all that entails, you can cope with that. Not all rescue dogs have problems though, in fact, far from it and sometimes breeders will have older dogs of 6 months to a year or so that they have grown on for showing but have turned out not to be quite good enough and they are looking for pet homes for these. They will have impeccable behaviour and manners and be well socialised.
Thank you for your considered posts, especially Midori. The puppy that I am considering is currently 3 weeks old so I have a bit of time to make a decision. It is not from a breeder, it is a family pet that has been bred. It seems to be more difficult to find dogs here in Northern Ireland, I have been looking for some time and have my name down on a number of waiting lists.
I am weighing up my options. I realise that I would be solely responsible for the dog. I would hope that my older boys would be able to help out but I wouldn't expect them to do more than give me a hand or to get the pup outside if I wasn't available (i.e. on the loo or something.)
The feedback on this thread seems to be that it would be very difficult to handle a puppy.
Personally I wouldn't go for a young Labrador with a baby or toddler. They are so bouncy and over excited - they tend to bounce all over young children who are just finding their feet etc and they aren't exactly small dogs...! But having said that, plenty of people disagree and think they make great family pets and you already have one so.......!