Thinking about getting a puppy.

(44 Posts)
molly29 Tue 12-Feb-13 21:42:06

Any advice greatly appreciated.
We are considering getting a pup in the summer (we need to get our garden secure first). We are a young family, i am mostly at home so would be able to puppy train. But i am scared about getting it wrong. I have considered the time and money factors. But what breed? Looked into a cockapoo, because they are a medium size dog, good with kids, easy to train ect. I have a bad back so i don't want anything that will pull to much on the lead. Can anyone tell me their experiences with this breed? I want to weigh everything up before deciding.

Shelleylouise Wed 13-Feb-13 17:47:54

Hi, I wish I'd asked for honest advice before we got a puppy! Hes a lovely golden retriever and is now a calmer, placid 2.5years old. But he was hard work for the first 18mths and i wasnt really prepared for it. All of the eating everything (toys, plants, socks), destruction in the garden, pulling on the lead, hanging off your clothes during the "bitey" stage, jumping up pulling things off the washing line, the hair everywhere etc,etc....
Im sure you ll be far more patient than me! But we do love him! Good luck!

SilverBellsandCockleShells Wed 13-Feb-13 18:01:51

Prepare to get roasted alive for considering a 'designer' breed rather than rescuing ... but, that aside, we are getting a cockapoo in a couple of months times. From what I have seen they are lovely, affectionate dogs. The ones I know haven't been trained as well as they could have been, but we dog-sat a three-year old cockapoo for three weeks last year and even in that time her behaviour was improving, so they are trainable enough that you can teach a slightly older dog new tricks.

They are not technically a breed, and there are differences between breeders inasmuch as some breed between Cockers and Poodles and others breed between Cockapoos. I believe the second-generation puppies are more predictable in terms of curliness of fur, etc., but I could be wrong. It also makes a difference whether they are from show cockers (which are relatively calm) or working cockers (which are mad as a box of frogs).

Overall, if you can withstand the flaming, you'll find they are lovely family dogs. Albeit a bit on the expensive side.

Muddles2 Wed 13-Feb-13 18:10:08

I had always wanted a retriever and loved having one but .... when she died I got a cocker spaniel and I can honestly say she has been the best dog ever - such a friendly almost human companion, adored by all the family. Am sure you will love a cockerpoo - there's cocker in her!

We have a springer puppy. My dc are 13 and 11. I love our puppy to pieces and he is adorable but I am going to list the reality!!! If you still fancy a puppy then at least you know the realities. Not being negative just realistic.

2 hours exercise a day. Would imagine similar with the breed you are considering.
Mud mud mud mud... You get the picture!!!
Sleepless nights.
Toilet training.
Puppy training, lots of it!
Nipping, biting, chewing.
Changing work life holiday patterns to not be away from house for too long.
Insurance costs, vet bills, cost of toys, food, etc etc
Muddy car.
Guilt at not spending enough time with kids even though they help out loads.

I still wouldn't change it as he's so good and tons of fun, he's fab and given us back so much but you need to know the Andrex puppy ain't the reality.

Good luck!!!

It's hard work that's all!!!

Over use of 'reality' . I am multi-tasking!!!

broadsheetbabe Wed 13-Feb-13 19:52:01

We've got a springer-poodle cross. She's 23 weeks old now - and amazing.

But it has been hard work, exhausting most of the time.

So long as you are up for the work, I'd say go for a puppy.

And as for the popular poodle crossbreeds, they are brilliant with children, easy to train and very cute and cuddly... and all-round great family dog.

Good luck!

ballybee Wed 13-Feb-13 20:29:12

if you're thinking of getting any breed/ crossbreed i would seriously recommend finding one that health tests. Both cockers and poodles have a fair few tests for each breed that really should be done.

If you google cockapoo forums i know there's a sort of breed club for the UK that can point you to some breeders that health test. Alternatively you can try using the kennel clubs breed finder quiz and see what comes up that could suit you.

molly29 Wed 13-Feb-13 21:22:20

Thankyou so much guys, Brilliant replys, i have alot to consider. I thought a cockapoo would be calmer than a springapoo(if thats what they call it) but i don't know that to be fact?
I have considered a rescue pup,but after advice have decided that wouldn't be right for us with such small children, but when kids are older if we had another dog we probably would.
Cockapoo's are an expensive breed but if i know its the right dog for us i feel it would be worth it.
Thanks again.x

Floralnomad Wed 13-Feb-13 21:29:48

Cockapoo is not a breed it is a crossbreed , hence you cannot guarantee what the dog will turn out like . If you're spending that much money why not just go for a pedigree that has had all the proper health checks . Both Poodles and Cockers are lovely in their own right and at least you know what you get . I would second the poster the said to do the suitability thing on the kennel club site . Lots of young families round here seem to be getting miniature schnauzers and I'm told they are very good with children . Also no 'breed ' is uniform in being easy to train ,even within a litter they can be very variable.

NewYearsEvelyn Wed 13-Feb-13 21:36:41

I have a cavapoo. She was a pig to train, but is loving, friendly and a good size to walk, etc. She doesn't pull on the lead too much, but she still pulled me over this time last year and I ended up with a fractured wrist and plate in my arm! Dogs are unpredictable at best. Cavapoos, I was told, were easy to train, friendly, placid beasties.

Mines got all the neurotic tendencies of a poodle. She's demanding and high energy at times, wants to be a lap dog like a cavalier the rest of the time. She's a so called designer dog, cos I needed something poodly because of my asthma. Sorry but I don't like poodles... Did it work? She doesn't shed at all, but didn't stop me getting pet related asthma. My asthma is worse than it's been in years. BUT I wouldn't swap her for a hundred snickers bars, and I love snickers bars.

She's currently whining at me to take her out in the rain (we don't currently have the secure garden, so that's one advantage you have over me) so I have to go. She had us at the end of our tether for months with the house-training. NIGHTMARE! BUT I love her to bits.

I would just say, pick the breed or crossbreed you like. Make sure your breeder is reputable rather than buying from free ads. We sourced ours through an ex-cavalier breeder and had to go on a list. Make sure you've allowed for expenses like pet club and health insurance. It's expensive, but gives you peace of mind.

got to go or I'll end up with a puddle....

NewYearsEvelyn Wed 13-Feb-13 21:48:28

She's 18 months old now. She's settling into a beautiful dog has never been destructive and is happiest when she's with people. She thinks everyone has been put on earth for her pleasure. Definitely a santa dog, ie she thinks everyone who comes to the house is Santa Claus and greets them excitedly, like a small child would. We need to do some more work on this. I'll be getting a child gate shortly so we can start working on that one! Good luck if you go for it.

tabulahrasa Wed 13-Feb-13 22:19:25

I'm not sure in what way a rescue puppy is less suitable? While rescues do get lots of half grown or adult dogs they also often have plenty of little puppies come through the door.

If you definitely want to buy a puppy - there are lots of things to avoid.

Anyone selling lots of different crosses is more than likely a puppy farmer, for similar reasons don't buy from anyone without seeing the puppies with the mother at least twice and you're happy with how they're being kept. (the father is less important as using a stud that isn't your own means you can pick the best one, not just the closest).

Don't buy from anyone who makes unrealistic claims about coat - you can't tell how crossbreed puppies will come out and if they offer more than an educated guess based on past litters they're dishonest, if they're dishonest about that, they could be dishonest about anything.

Don't buy from anyone who hasn't done all the relevant health tests - that is not a check up at the vet, but health or DNA tests on the parents with accredited paperwork that they should be happy to show you. Crossing them does not make them healthier, nor does it mean diseases can't be inherited.

Don't look on gumtree, pets 4 homes or sites like that - you'll find puppies, but it's not likely you'll find goo breeders on there. Look at the clubs for the mix you want, they'll have a list somewhere.

LadyTurmoil Thu 14-Feb-13 02:04:00

Agree with all the above and would just add, again, that it's possible to find puppies or young dogs in rescues. It's a mistake to think you'll only find dogs with "issues". It may take a while but if you register with a few rescues, be honest about your needs/lifestyle, you could be lucky. some dogs end up in rescue due to relationship breakups etc. smaller rescues may be more flexible re. your young kids. I just think it's crazy to pay £600-1,000 for a dog! It just encourages dodgy breeders and all these fancy "poos" are what we used to call mongrels! If you have young kids, you will really have your hands full with them and keeping eyes on a puppy 24/7. If you read some other threads on here you'll find that people have been driven to tears and frustration by the amount of work and constant surveillance needed. Having said all that, good luck!

How old are you dc OP?

I feel like I am being terribly negative but having a puppy is like having another baby, if your DC are very young then that's pretty stressful. For instance, could you commit to two good walks every day even in school hold etc?

Just want you to be aware of all the facts to make a fully informed decision.

Also agree re breeders etc, especially with these designer 'breeds', it's a profitable business.

tabulahrasa Thu 14-Feb-13 08:10:00

It's worse than having another baby, lol, you can't put nappies on them and they have horrible little needle sharp teeth. I think it took about 2 months before I could stroke mine without getting bitten or the DC could walk across the room without a puppy attacking their ankles.

He is mostly very lovely now, but he's definitely put me off tiny puppies. I genuinely have no idea how people manage younger DC with a puppy.

BangersAndMashh Thu 14-Feb-13 08:47:02

Hi the advice I would give you, especially if you have children, is when you go see the puppy make sure you see its parents as this is the only way to gage an idea of tenprament. Also make sure to see it with the rest of the litter - don't choose the most shy one or it could be timid, but equally don't choose the one that is the most forth coming either.

Cockapoos are mostly lovely, just watch that the poodle it is bred off isn't snappy as they can be.

Both cocker spaniels and poodles are high energy dogs so when it is old enough, be prepared for an hours walk in the morning and an hours walk in the evening - they will just get destructive if not exercised in this way. Obviously when theu are puppies it is more like 3 lots of 10 min walks a day. Lots of mentally stimulating toys in the daytime and lots of 10 minute bursts of obedience training throughout the day will make pooch calmer and happy.

My mum was going to get a cockapoo but ended up with a cocker spaniel in the end.

Puppies are great fun but also very hard work. And even when they grow to dogs you can't leave them alone for more than 4-5 hrs as they will need to toilet, so very tying!

Good luck smile

Agree with Bangers re exercise requirements. My springer puppy does that now (pottering in fields and woods at his pace but we are still out there twice a day, plus garden play)

Agree also to see parents.

Also, the breeder should be prepared to give lifetime advice, back up, have a waiting list etc. Post puppy updates to you etc, choose the most appropriate puppy for your needs and experience. Hard to tell yourself who is the timid one of the litter etc, you might think the puppy who woke up from a three hour sleep five minutes before you visit is the busy one of the litter, when this might not be the case, but the breeder will be the best judge. They will have health tested the dogs and have appropriate paperwork. There's so much profit out there for designer breeds, don't use Gumtree etc.

Our breeder wants our puppy to come to her for holidays (ours, that is) rather than kennels and is busy visiting all 13 new owners to see how they are getting one, taking pictures and making a montage for us all to see the siblings as they grow!!!! We regularly get emails, supposedly from the 'mum', asking for updates re her babies etc. smile

molly29 Thu 14-Feb-13 18:56:21

Hiya All,
My dc's are 7 and 3. Also my son is at school full time in September, so wa thinking that if we got a pup in the summer, i would have more time to concentrate on it.
I'm still a bit confused on how i find a good breeder? Looked at kennel club but as they are not a recognized breed i couldn't find anything about it.
Also i am visiting a puppy class next week while i am considering breeds ect,thought i could pick some peoples brains and see the dogs.
Thanks again

molly29 Thu 14-Feb-13 19:05:25

Just found a breed quiz that just gave the result of a cocker spaniel!

tabulahrasa Thu 14-Feb-13 19:08:08

My DC are 12 and 16 and used to dogs - they still didn't cope massively well with the tiny furry bitey thing, lol.

There's a cockapoo club they have information on health testing and breeders.

molly29 Thu 14-Feb-13 19:33:17

oh thats great thanks, will have a look!

spudballoo Thu 14-Feb-13 20:22:33

I am one of the posters here who has cried tears, oceans of tears over our puppy. He's now nearly 1 and is a labradoodle. I have a two boys, 7 and 6 and I don't work.

I would seriously consider getting an older, rescue dog. If I had my time again that is what I would do. The trouble with a puppy is that you have no idea, none, what kind of temperament your puppy will have once it's grown up and much of that is down to nature and not nurture. So it's almost irrelevant to talk about which breeds are 'good' with children etc, as the honest answer is 'none' - it's down to the individual dog. I thought, wrongly, that rescue dogs are all vicious nasties that no one wants and that rescues wouldn't consider us anyway as we have young children. I now know that to be wrong.

I thought a puppy was a good idea as my children and cats would get along better with a puppy growing up. I was wrong. the children HATED him as a young puppy and the eldest cried and cried and begged for him to be sent back. He hated the jumping and nipping and chasing and that is an inevitable part of the puppy months. The cats hate him too.

Frankly, I really found the early puppy months appalling too. It was worse than having another baby. I lost loads of weight and couldn't sleep, I just could not believe how all consuming looking after a puppy was. And then we had lots of problems with him biting me but that's another issue.

Personally I would never have a puppy again, and certainly not with young children about. I've had to organise all kinds of dog and child care for half term as my children just can't walk the kind of distance the dog needs to be walked every day. It's ok for a few days, but they just can't do it every day! And when the children are home sick from school, or I am sick, it's a nightmare as the dog must be walked regardless or he is so hard to manage in the house as he's still very young. Playdates involve the puppy having the be kept apart from nervous children. All toys must be kept upstairs or he eats them. I could go on...!

I would also never have a poodle mix again. I would look in to cocker rage before considering a cockerpoo.

Next time I'm getting an older dog from a rescue. any kind of dog, I dont' care what breed or what kind of mutt. I just want the right dog for our family and not a puppy that could grow up to be quite the opposite.

Floralnomad Thu 14-Feb-13 20:32:34

Well said spud.

Excellent post spud. Spot on.

My kids are 13 and 12 so brilliant with the puppy. They are also too old to need bathtime, storytime, er... time really, other than me being there to randomly nag and be available to chat when they need, plus taxi service. Dd can take herself to do the pony and ds is like another adult and sorts puppy while I make tea etc. They organise their own school bags and homework etc.

Even so, it's still full on, i reckon i spend 4 to 5 hours with our puppy a day. that probably sounds extreme but thats walks, garden, training, play, feeding, cuddling etc. then the kids and dh spend tine with him too. appreciate hes a lucky sod but thats the reality of a clever and active breed. I have to split my work up too now to ensure that he isnt left too long etc. hard at start as you really cant leave them long at all. Go into this with your eyes open and the very best of luck!!

Why not simply a Cocker or Poodke though, if you don't mind the question?

Hope it works out whatever happens!!

On phone, typos will be dreadful!

Considers if I do spend that much time with the puppy and its not too far out at all, especially if you add in the rest of the family taking turns too.


LadyTurmoil Thu 14-Feb-13 21:11:34

VERY well said spud

LadyTurmoil Thu 14-Feb-13 21:13:11

Just read other thread about Spuddog in the river - blimey and lol smile

Can I just mention yet again, that many rescues will have the most beautiful puppies, if that is what you want? Pregnant bitches are often abandoned and then have their pups in experienced foster homes - this happens regularly and the pups are beautifully looked after by skilled rescue volunteers who realise more than many profit grabbing "breeders" the importance of good vet care and excellent socialisation. Similarly there are also often young dogs available for rehoming that have not come from poor circumstances. Typical reasons for rehoming include divorce, emigration, redundancy and the arrival of children - none of these have anything to do with the individual dog but are more a reflection on the people involved.

Spud's post is an excellent one about the reality of life with a pup. Have you thought about a whippet or a lurcher, or even a greyhound? Pointies make excellent family pets, and quite a few MNetters with young DC have them and they are much loved family members. They are also very healthy, long lived dogs (an important consideration) - lifespans to early/mid teens are common, virtually no HD and very few inherited nasties to worry about, unlike many of the pedigree breeds.

ijustwant8hours Fri 15-Feb-13 08:17:53

I wrote a really long post and lost it! But it basically said what Spud said.

My DCs are 6 and 4, the puppy is now 6months. I love the dog but I would not do it again. We have good days and bad days! Puppies and young children are really hard work.

tabulahrasa Fri 15-Feb-13 08:44:17

I've said before in here that I'll never have another puppy - He's my 5th dog, but my first tiny puppy. I've always had adult or 6 month plus rescues before and I never want to go through the mouthing or teething stages again.

I love dogs, the two years before getting this one was the longest I've ever been without one, it was all well prepared and planned for - I just hadn't realised exactly how hard the reality of it was.

Grunzlewheek Fri 15-Feb-13 18:46:29

I remember having 2 toddlers and a puppy, it was very hard work.

One day I found a puddle on the back door step, I cleaned it up and wondered how the (female) puppy had managed to wee there, then it dawned on me it wasn't the puppy it was a (male) toddler ! grin

molly29 Fri 15-Feb-13 18:50:11

I think i'm going to have a wonder round my local rescue place and have a chat with them, before deciding.
Needastrongone, i'm considering a cockapoo because ,
1: all the reasons i listed in OP.
2: because ............i just love them, when ever i see one my heart meltssmile

Floralnomad Fri 15-Feb-13 19:04:29

molly have you looked at the clip on the 'not my feet ' thread . If that doesn't convert you to a pure show cocker nothing will . I'm sure the OP on the thread could recommend her breeder.

molly29 Sat 16-Feb-13 09:59:46

Just watched! I want one! What a lovely doggysmile heart melting!

lotsofdogshere Mon 18-Feb-13 09:07:14

Lots of helpful advice and info here about puppies and poodle mixes. I have had spaniels, mongrels, cross breeds, german shepherds in the past and loved them all. I fully accept poodle crosses are not for everyone, and agree the cost of cockapoos is ludicrous. Despite this, my current dogs are a 4 year old labradoodle and a 10 month old cockapoo. The doodle was a real challenge, she has a high prey urge, was distractible, stubborn, high energy, high need for mental stimulation and by the time she was 15 months old, I'd found a local trainer to help me with her. Her temperament has always been gentle and kind fortunately. At 4 years old, she is a joy, responsive, affectionate, loyal and clever. The cockapoo pup benefitted from the stuff I learned with my labradoodle but also, he doesn't have the prey urge and is a calmer pup than she was. If you are considering a poodle cross, look at the labradoodle trust and the cockapoo owners sites. There are so many of these dogs needing re-homing, often as young as 7 - 10 months. Do not buy from preloved/gumtree etc as many of the pups on there are from puppy farms. Puppies are very hard work, it's been 40 years since I had an 8 week old pup (had rescue dogs for years) until my cockapoo arrived - it's a full time job for a while, but great fun and I'm enjoying having a pup who arrived having been properly bred and cared for, and who unlike all my rescue dogs, hasn't ever had people hurt or frighten him.

My folks have recently rescued a just over one year old chocolate lab. I've just looked after him for the weekend as they were going away, he is a beautiful lovely soppy thing but, by'eck, is he hard work! Needs at least two hours walking/playing a day, he is a Velcro dog, has to be under your feet all of 'the time. I can't imagine what hecwas like when he was a baby.
He and his brother ended up in rescue as the man who owned them had died and no-one else in the family wanted to take them on. Having met his brother, who was the more energetic of the two, I do get where they were coming from.

Heifer Mon 18-Feb-13 19:39:12

molly29 Thu 14-Feb-13 19:05:25
Just found a breed quiz that just gave the result of a cocker spaniel!

Molly do you have a link to the quiz please?

LadyTurmoil Mon 18-Feb-13 20:12:58

There is a litter of Labrador crosses at Many Tears at the moment (may be crossed with a spaniel Dad, although they're not sure) Have a look - would be hell of a lot cheaper than a "bought" cockapoo

LadyTurmoil Mon 18-Feb-13 20:17:06

Also, Four Paws Animal Rescue has some staffie cross puppies Could try looking at Hope Rescue as well. Google Dog Pages and find relevant pages for rescues in your area.

MechanicalTheatre Mon 18-Feb-13 21:33:26

Please do go to your local rescue and see what they can recommend for you.

It's great that you're asking for advice, so many people rush into getting a dog without thinking.

When my parents got our dog, he was a puppy and it was hard work - and that was when me and my brother were in our late teens so there were four people on-hand to train him. I would definitely recommend going for an older dog as they're calmer and you can see their temperament.

Hope Rescue and Four Paws Rescue are both excellent rescues who insist on all their dogs spending time in a foster home before adoption. This is an excellent policy which means that all dogs have time to be thoroughly assessed before rehoming, particularly important for homes with children. Both charities are very well run, with good teams of highly committted volunteers and I have regular contact with both (though not directly a volunteer for either). In fact I am seeing people from both at a meeting tomorrow with Welsh Govt. If you adopt from either of these organisations, you can do so with confidence.

molly29 Tue 19-Feb-13 01:31:42

Brilliant sites, thinking there should be more organisations like this, as it is a worry to adopt a dog when you have small children, will be keeping a beady eye on them.x

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