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To get a Staffie or not?

(20 Posts)
Mitmoo Sat 17-Sep-11 17:06:38

My son (14) has seen a Staffie pup in a rescue centre and fallen in love with her.

We've googled and realise that it will be a lot of hard work and sleepless nights at the start. I had said no as to buy the dog £150, crate, bed, bowls hardwearing toys, pet insurance etc would be too much. I would not have a puppy unless it was 1000 percent cared for, fed, had all medical needs met etc, walked. We're both pet lovers.

He told his nan who without asking me said she buy everything for the puppy including the puppy to my son angry I had just calmed him down after a meltdown when he realised I was serious and it was too much to spend out at once right now he had got used to the idea of not having the pup.

Since then we've been to the rescue centre again and held the puppy and she's lovely my son desperately wants her and I mean desperately (he has HFASD) but I'm not convinced it's the right time and that he'll be ready for the commitment. I fear I'll end up doing all of the walks, cleaning up etc. (He's fantastic with is cats, though doesn't do the litter trays, and has a real affinity for animals).

I am happy to share but don't want to be talked into getting a dog and then left to do all of the work. Just thinking out loud and canvassing other people's opinions.

3cutedarlings Sat 17-Sep-11 18:29:43

To be totally honest unless you are willing to commit 100% for all the daily care yourself then i wouldn't, even joint commitment is to much for most children.

The dog needs to be totally your responsibility, and tbh im sure most rescues will make this perfectly clear.

However i do think having a dog around for a child with ASD is a massive!! plus point! my DD1 (9) also has ASD and the joy she gets from our dog makes every cold/wet walk and ever penny he costs TOTALLY worth it.

Another thing to consider is holidays and days out, do you have anyone that could care for the dog when your out for the day ect?

buggerlugs82 Sat 17-Sep-11 18:36:44

I've never owned a staffie but i have fostered one. They are the most loyal loving dogs BUT boy do they need a lot of long walks / runs.

I'd say if yo can commit to 2 45-60 min walks per day at least then go for it.

When we got our dog, she was 1 and from a rescue place. The first 6 months were awful, she had no training and was nuts but now, she is a part of our family we'd never want to be without.

As for training, me and my DH (we don't have kids) use 1 word for everything, not two and are calm and consistent. They learn quickly. (i.e sit, down, leave, come... etc)

I wouldnt personally have a staffie though, far too crazy for us but we have a plodding rottie.

DooinMeCleanin Sat 17-Sep-11 18:42:03

Staffy pups are extremely high energy and require experienced owners and constant and consistent training. Fair, but firm.

Saying that they grow into, with the right care, the most loving, loyal and courageous dog you could ever hope to know.

If you think you have the time, the experience and the dedication, the staffy pup will not dissapoint you. Your son will have a new best friend for life.

Mitmoo Sat 17-Sep-11 18:43:19

This is why I would put in the commitment, he is so in tune with animals, more so than humans that I think like you to see the joy he gets out of her would make it all worthwhile.

I've got a friend and mum who share looking after the pets on the very rare occasions I've managed to get a break so that will be fine. I think I'm going have to give it some more thought, I don't want to disappoint him, but if I took on a puppy it would be with 100% commitment. This site has given me a massive insight into what is really involved.

Mitmoo Sat 17-Sep-11 18:44:15

Thanks for that buggerlugs

ditavonteesed Sat 17-Sep-11 18:46:38

agree with the others, it hs to be your dog and your responsibility. if you are willing to commit to that thendogs make wonderful fanily members and give so much to any child. but you have to do it even when it is freezing and chucking it down, and you have flu, and your ds has flu, the dog still needs its excercise.
If you think it through seriously then go for it, the only other thing is they cost a lot of money, even if you have insurance there is usually an excess of about £70 on any condition making most things not worth claiming for. As 3 cute says holidays and days out can be a pain unless you have a lovely friend around who will help out ( thanks again 3cute).

CoffeeIsMyFriend Sat 17-Sep-11 18:48:36

Mitmoo - doesnt matter the breed, most puppies are hard work. With training, firm but fair rules it will be fine.

I just came on to tell you about a buddy dog that someone I know got for her children. Dont want to go into too much detail but after 1 week with the dog one of her children who hadnt spoken in 5 years said "mum" - animals can make a massive difference to children with SN.

Whatever decision you make you need to be committed to 100%.

Mitmoo Sat 17-Sep-11 19:07:10

Thanks Diva all good points.

Coffee I swear my oldest cat saved my child when he was totally debilated with OCD, when I couldn't reach him I could tell him the cat was upset and crying because he was upset. The cat was totally in tune with him too and would go to him when he was distressed. My son would comfort the cat and that would bring him down to a calm place. The bond they both have is amazing.

There can be something totally wonderful about children or adults with SN and their pets. It is lovely.

CoffeeIsMyFriend Sat 17-Sep-11 20:38:24

It is lovely and to see it first hand is heart breakingly wonderful.

Mitmoo, I am not saying get a dog, but I think it would be a lovely thing for you and your son. But you have to be 100% on board.

Mitmoo Sat 17-Sep-11 21:40:58

It's a toughie but I can say I will balance doing right by my child with doing right by the puppy too. What decision I come to is yet to be decided but both son and puppy have to be at the top of the list or I can't get the puppy.

MotherJack Sat 17-Sep-11 23:50:41

Mitmoo - I love Staffords. My son also has HFASD and has lived around Staffords and an odd assortment of bull breed crosses all of his life. We have visited the local SBT rescue kennel where he patted the older ones lovingly and completely freaked out (meltdown) when confronted with a boingy stafford pup. That's what a lot of young Staffords do - they can boing, relentlessly.

I am telling you this as a lover of ever tolerant, people loving Staffords. If I were you, I would ask that your son could meet other Staffords in the rescue so he associates them with possible boinging as well as placid young pup to see if he can cope with that part of their potential nature. It can be dealt with, but my son wold not be able to cope with a pup where he is now, at all. There is a good chance your son may be able to deal with it as he is older than mine. I know someone else who got their Aspergers son a Stafford as a pet - around the age of 14 too, incidentally. It couldn't have worked out better. I'm sure I don't need to add that you need to commit to 100% responsibility yourself before any commitment whatsoever,and consider that if he were ever able to walk the dog by himself in the future then he would need to get over his litter tray aversion and pick any droppings up himself.

You do sound in theory a good candidate. My first dog was taken in as a pup with a cat and he loved cats by the way (although he had to be heavily supervised to start with so he didn't lose anything physically whilst finding out about my cat grin)

Mitmoo Sun 18-Sep-11 07:13:27

The other benefit that I can see is my son is terrified in the house on his own which makes life difficult, I went out while I tried to work last week, I had a call within the hour to get home as someone had knocked on the door and it scared him. Having another "friend" in the house might give him some more confidence.

Don't worry I will not be a teaching the dog to be hard (hate those kinds of owners), just thinking he'd feel more secure with a loving dog than he does with the cats who are out a lot of the day anyway.

Lots to think about.

Mitmoo Mon 19-Sep-11 21:10:56

Unashamed bumping, we have been passed for a rescue pet, now I really have to make a decision. So many fors, and a few againsts

Vallhala Mon 19-Sep-11 21:38:52

I can't see a problem with you owning a dog, and clearly rescue can't either if they've passed you, but, speaking as a mum, a dog owner and a rescuer, I'd have to say 2 things.

1. YOU must be totally committed to this (and your DH/DPif you have one), not just your son. Rescue rehomes to families, sure, but the contract and the responsibility for the dogs needs and walks etc is with YOU, the adult/s and not with a child.

Kids can be fickle buggers! My DD2 is, like me, a volunteer for our local rescue. She is 14 and goes to stay with the owners on her own in her school hols to help out, brought up by this animal rights fanatic she's almost as bad BUT she's a bugger when it comes to caring for her own pet ferret and I sometimes have to nag and I know that at the end of the day I agreed to take on Charlie the ferret and he is my responsibility, not hers. She can swan off to help rescue or go to grandmas for a week, I can't, I have to get care for our pets or take them with us first.

2. A pup is bloody hard work. You may find it wiser and far easier to take on an older, house, lead trained dog which won't chew your slippers or DS's favourite things. I think that's worth speaking to the rescue about... what do you think?

Vallhala Mon 19-Sep-11 21:47:50

PS but no issue with Staffies here either... I work with lots in rescue, have fostered SBT and owned until he passed away a SBT cross, the kindest, soppiest dog you could wish for. smile

chickchickchicken Mon 19-Sep-11 22:23:52

my oldest dog has made the biggest single improvement in my son's ability to cope with his ASD for the last 14 years (and we have paid thousands and thousands for OT and SP&L, private school, etc etc). it really is amazing and i love her more than i ever thought i could possibly love a dog. she has helped him settle into a new school, get used to being in shops (that allow dogs) and all sorts of social occasions that he would have found difficult or impossible without her

now for the but!...it has been hard work. worthwhile but still hard work. i decided early on that son had to adapt (not easy for him to do) to the dog's needs and this has had a massive impact on his ability to think of others. we have had 'i dont want to walk the dog' and such like when he was younger but he did - eventually - learn that as we had decided to have a dog he had to do what was required to look after her for the rest of her life. i would say this process took years though! he has been walking the dogs for the last two years or so on his own. before then he had to come with me to walk dog whether he wanted to or not as i wanted him to take responsibility (i have ultimate responsibility of course but i wanted him to develop some as he got older) for the life long care of having a pet

son is 18 now and our oldest dog has lived with us for the last 14years.

staffies can make wonderful pets. i would be wary of having a puppy though. they are so much work and ime can be harder for kids on the spectrum to adapt to as they chew, jump, wee and poo lots in the early months. are rescue fully aware of your dc's needs? we made our rescue fully aware and they matched accordingly. a good match is crucial for success for anyone but especially when you have a child with sen

chickchickchicken Mon 19-Sep-11 22:28:28

val - your dd sounds like me at that age. my dad was left with all the day to day care of our family dog once i was a teenager blush

well in fact reading that i think i was a lot worse grin out with friends and ignoring family dog

hangon Thu 22-Sep-11 23:53:01

I have had a lab pup and a staff pup and the staf was so much easier to train the lab stayed a puppy untill it was four the staf calmed down at 18 months.

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 24-Sep-11 09:53:06

Staffs do tend to be a bit loony for the first couple of years, (said as she watches loony staffy puppy doing wall of death circuit of garden, running up the slide and then sliding back down agajn) but they do make the most amazing pets. Despite what I have read, I found mine very easy to train except for pulling on walks, but she does have some seriously big gnashers and can destroy toys/skirtings/toilet roll in a matter of minutes. She is a real people person though, and loves curling up with the kids on the sofa and sleeps on their beds if she can get away with it, they are devoted to her as are we. We find that she is absolutely fine with 3 15 minute walks a day and any excess energy she runs off herself in the garden, I just sit on the chair reading mn, smoking a fag and she brings the ball for me to throw when she isn't running round like a nutter.

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