what things would you want your child to consider when asking for a puppy?

(28 Posts)
Adikia Tue 20-Aug-13 14:56:27

My mothers dog is pregnant. Mum had been looking after my dog and thought they'd be ok together as the previous owners of her dog had told her she had been spayed (which was clearly a lie) my dog has now been done and mums will be once shes had the puppies. (we already have friends and relatives interested in giving the puppies good homes)

DD (4) would like to have one of the puppies when they are ready, DH and I have agreed so long as she can tell us why its a good idea and how it would work, my younger siblings have been set the same task by my parents as they want to keep one too so they are working together. What things should I be looking for her to mention?

I already know that we can afford to get all the jabs, feed it, get pet insurance etc and we have enough space, I'm a stay a home mum so have enough time to look after it and do separate walks if necessary but I've never had a young puppy before so don't know if theres anything extra to think about. I want one of the puppies anyway but wanted DD to look into everything as hopefully then she'll understand why we cant keep more than 1.

Adikia Tue 20-Aug-13 15:13:08

oops, forgot to say mum is a black lab, dad is an Irish wolfhound/husky cross so the puppies are likely to be quite big when the are grown.

ourlittlestreet Tue 20-Aug-13 15:20:10

Hi there , I was going to say getting a puppy based on a young Childs wishes was a bad idea but read you want one too.

Does she help with you exsisting dog? Maybe encouraging her to help there would prepare her.

Puppies are HARD work! Its like having a naughty toddler.

cathpip Tue 20-Aug-13 15:34:37

They wee and poo everywheresmile
They chew your toyssmile
They puppy bite, teeth like needlessmile
They need trainingsmile
They need to be walked even when it's rainingsmile
They jump upsmile
It's been 12 years since I had a pup, will not do that again. He is 18 months old now and delightful, they just take up a lot of time... I do like your thinking though and enjoy your new puppy when it arrives!

Adikia Tue 20-Aug-13 15:39:02

Now we have finally got him trained enough not to pull her over while walking him (he had never been walked let alone trained before we got him and it's taken a while) she helps with everything apart from picking up poo.

moosemama Tue 20-Aug-13 16:04:11

We had lots of discussions with the dcs before we took on our new pup. (We already have an adult male lurcher, my dd is also 4, but I also have ds1, age 11 and ds2, age 9.)

We made sure they understood that it meant absolutely no toys downstairs and why (ie that swallowing a small toy could be fatal to the puppy), that they would have to accept that, as he is basically a baby, I would have to see to the pup's needs as and when it needed me, so they would have to be patient and wait their turn.

We were getting a pup in the summer holidays, so they also had to understand that it meant we wouldn't be going far, except to carry pup for socialisation purposes, so no daytrips or meals in restaurants or cafes etc.

Finally I explained that, whilst I want all three of them to be actively involved in the pup's care, I want them to allow me to do basic training and not try to continually do things like ask him to sit or lie down, when he hasn't been properly trained to do it yet. It's confusing for young pups to have lots of different people, especially young children making demands of them, using different hand signals and postures etc and personally I feel it's best for them to leave this to a parent, but be involved in lots of other ways, such as grooming, feeding, walking, playing etc then eventually positively reinforcing already learned cues, once he reaches the point of knowing what's expected of him.

We also talked about all the mayhem and mess pups can bring into the home:

Nipping,
Scratching when jumping up
Weeing and pooing
Howling at night

... and this involved lots of discussion about never putting their faces near the pup's face, no flapping or squealing and what to do if he nips or grabs their toys.

We picked up our boy just over a week ago and so-far-so-good. They all seem to be remembering our discussions and trying really hard to behave appropriately around him and help out where they can. smile

I don't think you should ever get any animal based solely on a young child's wish - the responsibility of ownership should be borne by an adult.

Moose has given an excellent post about the reality of living with a pup - and bear in mind that many children will find the needle sharp teeth and curtailment of activities a turn off, not to mention walks in the rain and picking up poo.

Have a read of some of the puppy threads on here for a good reality check - I'd be thinking about things like can she be trusted to not leave potentially dangerous food lying around (no more half finished bowls of Cocoa Pops or slices of fruit cake for instance), understand that day trips may be curtailed or changed to be dog friendly, realise that dog walking and training is going to be a non-negotiable part of every day activity. That's a lot for a 4 year old to take on board. How do you think she will cope with that size of dog? If it's a wolfhound x, it's going to be pretty big.

Adikia Tue 20-Aug-13 16:29:59

Scuttlebutter, the wolfhound x is my dog, we've had him for 2 years so the house is already dog proof, its the extra responsibility of adding a puppy in as well as the dog we already have that I want her to think about.

idirdog Tue 20-Aug-13 17:03:48

You are asking your 4 year old shock

Never ever get two littermates together you are asking for mega trouble even if your 4 year old does recommend it.

This is not a decision to be made by a young child - you need to look at the time implications, the financial implications, the implications of being tied to the dog for the next 13 years what ever happens.

I think the naivety already shown by your family may mean that this is not a good decision to keep one of the puppies

MissDD1971 Tue 20-Aug-13 17:10:23

The word no. LOL. grin

Also who will walk it every day in all weathers? Bound to be you or your DH as a 4 year old won't do it.

Adikia Tue 20-Aug-13 17:27:15

moosemamma, that is exactly what i needed to know, thank you. It hadn't occurred to me about confusing a puppy whilst training.

idirdog, I'm asking the 4 year old to look into things with my siblings (9, 10, 13 and 15) as I'm using it as an opportunity for her to learn more about puppies and being responsible, I've already checked the financial/practical side and am not getting her to make the decision, just making sure she understands and realises the differences between a new puppy and our dog.

lol MissDD, I know it will be me walking it, as it is with our dog we already have, I wasn't planning to send a 4 year old to walk a dog by herself!

Cloudhoney Tue 20-Aug-13 17:30:01

What are the dog's needs (behavioural, psychological, social, emotional and physical) and how will you meet them.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 20-Aug-13 18:36:53

I made sure my DD was prepared to pick up poos. She had to do it when walking one of my Dad's dogs to show she was committed to what the dog wanted. She was 6 though and I already wanted a dog.

moosemama Tue 20-Aug-13 18:48:09

Adikia, I think people are concerned because from your OP it isn't clear that you want to keep one of the pups yourself, it sounds like your 4 year old is calling the shots.

I think you're doing right thing getting her to think about what having a puppy is really like vs the sugar sweet marketing version, but all the same, I think Scuttle's suggestion of checking out the new puppy threads on here to remind yourself of just how hard going it really is also a really good idea.

I've had dogs for many years and thought I was fully prepared, but it was a long time between puppies for us and much as I'm loving it, I had forgotten just how intensive the first few weeks/months are.

tompuss Tue 20-Aug-13 19:30:10

Gosh people are being so dour and judgmental on this thread. If some of the posters had read the original thread correctly then they would not have jumped to the conclusions that the 4 year old is making these decisions. Adikia wants her daughter to consider what is involved with caring for her puppy. The OP is NOT considering getting litter mates, her 4 year old will not be responsible for walking the dog or solely poo clearing, ridiculous assumptions

Yes of course puppies are hard work, but not one of you has mentioned the joy of the training and the progress to be achieved, the pleasure to be had from the sheer exuberance of a young animal. Give the OP a break, she sounds eminently sensible and had asked for advice, not to be jumped on from a great height!

MissDD1971 Tue 20-Aug-13 22:03:31

OP at least you have another dog!

You say you'd walk it but I used to have neighbours in a London suburb who never walked their dog their DD from age 7 or 8 walked it, alone. I'm serious.

When they got rid of the dog (forget why) they were heartless about that too to their DD.

Adikia Tue 20-Aug-13 22:10:31

shock really? i wouldn't let a 7/8 year old out alone, especially not with the added responsibility of controlling a dog!

Adikia Tue 20-Aug-13 22:23:52

Thanks tompuss I'm glad you got what i meant.

I should of explained better, I would desperately love one of the puppies, I just want to make sure that DD understands the responsibilities as I don't want her to think that its enough to just get a pet because its cute and you can afford it! I'm not expecting her to do much of the work, and definitely wouldn't ask her to pick up poo, she's 4, that would just be asking for trouble!

Speaking personally, I didn't mention all the nice things, because the OP's DD wants a puppy and therefore both she and the OP get that they are cute, joyful little squirmy bundles of gorgeousness. But you only have to look at many of the threads on here (including one only posted in the past couple of days) to see that puppies are not for the fainthearted, make many demands on ALL family members, and often people are simply not prepared for the reality of needle sharp teeth, lack of sleep,curtailment of free time/outings, constant poo and wee clearing etc. There have been some really excellent and constructive suggestions on this thread which are based on practical experience - not just of mixing dogs but the impact on DC, and the importance of, for instance, consistent messages about training etc. I wouldn't use the words "dour and judgemental" - I'd prefer "realistic", "practical" and "thoughtful".

moosemama Wed 21-Aug-13 08:44:32

I don't think I was 'dour and judgemental' was I?

I understood that the OP wants a pup, as well as her dd and gave her some suggestions as to the things her dd needed to consider about having a puppy in the house, based on my very recent experience of having both a new pup and a four year old dd.

I also suggested she has a look at our new puppy thread, just to remind herself what the reality is like. I wish I'd read a few of the new puppy threads before we brought our boy home and I am a very experienced dog owner, but had still forgotten just how full-on and exhausting very young puppies can be.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 21-Aug-13 08:48:26

I would want them to know that if they work hard at training the puppy and do as they are asked to make sure that process works,they will end up with a loyal friend who will share years of fun with them and give them a cuddle when they're feeling sad.

VerySmallSqueak Wed 21-Aug-13 08:50:04

( and that it is virtually guaranteed that they puppy will destroy at least one thing of theirs,and it could be something they hold really precious....)

HoneyDragon Wed 21-Aug-13 09:09:31

I think it is really, really important to stress that their limbs and possessions are at risk.

I think even the most dog mad and dog savvy children spend at least some of their time at the bak of the of a to get a way from the cute fluffy whirling ball of bitey evil, that a puppy is.

Also, dog comes first always. That means dogs excessive, and social needs are always met before trips out, its hard for youngsters to understand how important theses needs are to ensure the puppy frowns into a happy confident dog.

HoneyDragon Wed 21-Aug-13 09:11:08

Just out of interest if your child or your siblings feel that they can't live with the demands of a puppy, will you consider declining a pup, even tough you want one?

It won't be pleasant if the child resents it.

tompuss Wed 21-Aug-13 10:03:29

Moosemama - have just come back to this thread and no you were not 'dour and judgmental'. Yours was a very sensible and balanced response and I apologise that you appeared to be included in my grumpiness!

I work with puppies of all breeds- they are not balls of bitey evil; they are sponges of learning and, given consistency, consideration and respect can be a delightful addition to a family.

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