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Managing a puppy and toddler/child - Ridgeback

(18 Posts)
AnnaBeginsToChange Mon 15-Apr-13 16:05:48

I posted a while ago about Rhodesian Ridgebacks. We have since done some more research/reading and been to see a few RR experts/occasional breeders and are hooked. We had planned on getting one next Spring when youngest DS will be almost 3. However a litter is planned for the end of this year from a bitch we really like.

Its sooner than we planned and will be winter (obviously), yuk. We are experienced dog owners but have not had a puppy since having children. Is it a nightmare? Will the puppy be a real pest and get in the way and I'll feel like I don't have time to enjoy him and train him as I am too busy stopping him doing things? I don't mean to sound negative but I vaguely remember puppy-hood as being hard work, and with all the toddler paraphernalia/mess/chaos around, is it awful or perfectly manageable?

I want to be able to enjoy it and do it well, not survive it and find it stressful. I'd love to hear experiences. We have 2 DS's btw, 5 and almost 2, very used to dogs and puppies.

AnnaBeginsToChange Mon 15-Apr-13 19:15:18

Bump... Would be great to hear of your experiences of toddler and puppy management smile

ruledbyheart Mon 15-Apr-13 19:53:57

I have 3 under 5 and am pregnant with 2 dogs both rescues and both small, my pup was 14 weeks when she arrived, my DC knew from day one they weren't allowed near/ or to touch the dogs without me being there.

Toilet training was tough as it was winter but thankfully it didn't take too long, I have wood flooring so any accidents weren't soaked up and easily cleaned.

Walking the dogs in winter with the DC was an absolute nightmare and so much easier now the weather is better.

Having time to train is hard and at times the dogs do get under your feet, I would put off getting such a large dog for a little while yet, a bouncy puppy will easily knock little ones over and if you haven't got a lot if time to train then you will have a large bouncy untrained dog which isn't a good mix with toddlers.

Plus puppies chew and you need to have eyes in the back of your head, however they are lovely and u wouldn't be without mine.

petitdonkey Mon 15-Apr-13 20:03:33


We got our pup when DD was almost 3 (a month away from her birthday) and it was February. I actually felt like it was a really good time. With regard to the weather, yes it was no fun traisping him around the garden in the snow and rain sometimes but I actually really enjoyed how much more time we all spend outside when I knew that, ordinarily, we would be holed up inside. Also, by the time the spring/summer kicked in, he was able to come out with us or be left at home for a slightly longer time.

With regard to DD - I had thought about getting a pup the year before when she was just two and was very glad I didn't. The difference between two and three is enormous - silly things like if I wanted to take the do out in the garden I could just tell my girls where I was and they would come to the back door and call if they needed me (we have a large garden) - there is no way i would have been able to do that when they were 2 and 4 but 3 and 5 seemed so different - does that make sense?? (I also have a boy two years older) At three they really aren't toddlers any more - while you are with the dog he/she is less likely to fall and hurt them selves or need a poo now!

I guess there is never a perfect time to do anything but my children were 7, 5 & 3 when we got our dog and it was perfect all 'round. Old enough that I wasn't juggling babies and dogs and could take on small responsibilities but young enough to grow up with him and not remember a time when he wasn't in the family.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are gorgeous btw envy

AnnaBeginsToChange Tue 16-Apr-13 12:55:52

Thanks. I can see there are good reasons to wait, even another 3 or 4 mths as DS will change so much. I just don't want to miss out on what could be a lovely litter. Hmm, have to think on. I don't know how Tidgeback puppies compare to say gundog or herding types as pups. Lots depends on that; how noisy/chewy/active/demanding/easy to housetrain etc they are in comparison to what I'm familiar with.

mummycowp Tue 16-Apr-13 21:52:39

hey, I'm going through it now.I have had a puppy for nearly two weeks now. He's a sheltie and is 11 weeks. I have a 21 month old DS and 4 year old DD My husband bought him for my daughters 4th birthday. I thought it would be hard but it's VERY hard. My head feels like it's going to explode with the stress. I get up at 6am, give dog breakfast and stand outside freezing till it does its poo then I literally have to carry it round and do everything with one hand because he cries in his crate and if I let him down he will do his business. When the kids get up I put him in his crate while I make breakfast, when the kids aren't here he settles eventually in his crate but when they are there he cries and howls and it is so loud. Meanwhile my 21 month old is shouting BOC BOC and TOOOOOAAAST at the top of his voice, and my daughter is shouting at him to be quiet which makes him scream even louder! Then I end up Shouting and it's like being in an insane asylum. Then when breakfast is over and done with I let him out and have to have eyes in the back of my head while I dress my kids. My 4 year old is constantly trying to pick him up and gets upset because he runs away from her. My 21 month old actually doesn't bother with the puppy but the puppy seems to treat him like a litter mate and when my toddler runs around as toddlers do the puppy chases it and barks and scares my boy. I'm absolutely paranoid about cleanliness too. My toddler insists on giving the puppy his toys. When I let them all play in the garden together it's not as bad but I still have to watch him constantly in case he poos on the grass where my toddler is playing. It's really hard to clean up because it gets stuck! Another hard time is bath time. I'm upstairs so have no choice but to leave him in the crate howling and crying. My toddler is screaming in his cot while I bath my DD, my DD is crying because she doesn't like getting her hair washed! Finally, the kids are in bed and now I can relax. Wrong! I clean all the floors and follow my pup round all night until it's time to go to bed. Then after sleeping.... the same thing the next day...

Aside from all the stress, I do love the puppy. I have bonded with him. I do spend a lot of time with him. The trouble is, i'm so up the wall, I have little patience which means i'm telling my kids off all the time for this and that.

The puppy is adorbale, we have wanted one for a while and kept saying we would wait because EVERYONE said it would be hard with young children. I should have listened but I thought I knew better. I thought I could cope... The truth is, I can't. Our puppy is called Jake and we have him now so I'm going to take responsibilty of him and keep trying. Hopefully we will get through it and once he is housetrained it won't be as bad. I feel so mean writing this because Jake is so cute, he is laid back, clever, we taught him how to sit in 5 minutes. I just think we got him at the wrong time. I'm so tired, I forget to eat and have lost half a stone which I suppose is a plus haha. I literally do not sit down form the moment I get up til when I go to bed. My Husband works 12 hours shifts. My mum comes and helps sometimes but she cant all the time because she works..... Never mind... I just wanted to warn you but I know exactly what it feels like to REALLY REALLY want a puppy...Sorry for going on. You have experience with dogs so you may not find it as overwhelming as me. This is my first puppy so everything is knew to me... Just really wanted to help xxx

Willowisp Tue 16-Apr-13 22:21:12

Rhodesian ridgeback & an almost 2 year old......?

What's the hurry? Wait til both kids are settled at school & give your puppy & kids the time they all deserve.

Mummycowp I feel your pain, what on earth was your (d)h doing buying your dd a dog ? Whatever was wrong with one of those fake dog toys ?!

I have 2 DD's & the reality is they HATE going for walks at the weekend. School run is fine, but they groan & moan at having to walk dog after school...they are 7 & 10 too. Fortunately dog is mine & I love walking her !

lougle Tue 16-Apr-13 22:23:56

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are big dogs. Would it be wise to wait until your DS is at least head and shoulders above an adult Ridgeback?

LadyTurmoil Tue 16-Apr-13 23:01:03

Dear mummycowp, I just wanted to send you my sympathies for the hard time you are having. I can't imagine looking after a young pup with 2 small children so you are brilliantly - you really are! Is there any way you can put pup in crate in a separate room from your children to get a bit a peace? I would hope that, as puppy gets a bit bigger, it will feel a bit more relaxed and won't bark/whine/ whimper so much, so it will get a bit easier for you. Perhaps you could try getting a cheap 2nd hand playpen for pup, he might prefer it to a crate??? Anyway, the very best of luck for the next few weeks wine and flowers x

Cheddars Tue 16-Apr-13 23:16:46

It would be better to wait in my view.
Ridgebacks need a massive amount of attention and training during their early years, if you want to end up with the perfect dog. They need much more than just a stroll around your local park while the dc play in the playground.

I found it quite hard to combine ridgeback walking with young dc's. The ridgeback needed fields and woods to run in, which usually aren't buggy-able. You also have to contend with the strength/size of a young ridgie in comparison with small dc. Ridgebacks will tolerate a lot, but they need to learn this over time. I wouldn't expect a young dog to respect smaller children, and I think it would be cruel to get a family dog only to keep it separate from the family iyswim.

The great thing about this breed is that they are so carefully managed by breeders that good litters should be the norm.

petitdonkey Wed 17-Apr-13 09:59:18

mummycow - it sounds like you are having such a hard time, I'm so sorry. It will pass but I know it's useless hearing that when you are in the midst.

Sending you hugs x

needastrongone Wed 17-Apr-13 10:37:43

mummycow - just wanted to post you my sympathy too. Our puppy is 6 months old and our first dog, my DC are much older than yours. He's a super little dog but it's been hard work and still is tbh, but much easier than it was. Poor you, hang in there.

rtc8608 Wed 17-Apr-13 10:55:55

We had a Ridgeback and I've got to say (as a fairly experienced dog owning family!), out of all the breeds we've had, he was by far the most work as a pup.

Even as an adult dog he was a lunatic tbh - he only quietened down when he got to about 7 or 8!

I would not have wanted to think I had small children whilst he was a young dog - we spent a lot of time on training but still had a lot of problems with play-biting, stopping him mounting everybody in sight and jumping up!

They also need a lot of exercise - but beware of letting them off the lead. Ours had perfect recall until he saw a rabbit and then he was off until he had either caught it or become too tired to chase any longer!

Another issue was that he was horrendously greedy - there is no way you could leave any kind of food/drink on the kitchen surface and leave the room without expecting it to be gone when you returned! Even the trick of english mustard sandwiches didn't deter him! And the puddles of drool on the floor near anybody eating... smile

They are lovely dogs though despite all this - he was a big softie, very clever, loved people and other dogs.

Great breed but I don't think I would consider another unless I had endless amounts of time to spend on training/walking. The main issue is that it's a big dog to handle if you haven't got full control.

AnnaBeginsToChange Wed 17-Apr-13 12:26:11

Thanks, read all your posts everyone. Lots of food for thought and yes, what's the hurry, good point! Just impatience though I guess I know I should wait a bit.

I do have loads of dog experience and spend lots of time outside anyway. I just haven't had a puppy since having children and wondered how different an experience it might be. Sounds like generally a bad idea for now (with this breed at least). We'll keep meeting breeders and finding out more but it's great to hear some negative points as that's the reality I know.

So sorry you're having such a tough time * mummycowp* just ride it out and it'll get easier and be worth it x

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 17-Apr-13 12:29:52

If impatience is an issue why not foster older dogs for a rescue while you are waiting? Perhaps something a touch smaller, a greyhound for example?

I know an excellent rescue who needs fosterers and who would not bat an eyelid at the ages of your children.

sweetkitty Wed 17-Apr-13 12:31:22

Oh I could have written your post, I love qRidgebacks and soooo want one.

But I have 4DC, the youngest is almost 3 and a terror himself. My heart wants one, my head is saying wait 2 years.

AnnaBeginsToChange Wed 17-Apr-13 13:21:09

D0oin, I already have various dogs in and out of home for periods of time as I work with them! Though I don't have to and would stop for a bit with a pup.

I think we will wait actually, the risk of it not working out for the sake of a year or two is crazy.

mummycowp Wed 17-Apr-13 15:42:29

Thanks everyone, finding it a bit easier today. Glad to hear it does get easier. I think he is finally getting used to the crate as he hasn't had an accident today and we left him there for a couple of hours while we went for something to eat! When we got home he just went straight away outside :D
AnnaBeginsToChange - I think you are making the right choice leaving it a while , but whatever you decide I hope it works out smile xxxx

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