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OK - so how long do I have to wait until I can get a dog?

(18 Posts)
Emmylooagain Tue 18-Nov-14 05:18:01

Hello again, I have posted here a couple of times about a suitable dog for my family. Everything I have proposed seems to get a negative response so I have concluded, or at least my DH has concluded, that we need to "park" (his words) the dog idea for a little while. The backstory is I have an 18 month old and a 4 year old. We both work FT but I will be working from home a day a week next year and we have someone at our house every other day. I was also planning on getting a dog walker. However, every option seems to be impossible. A puppy with an 18 month old appears to be a no go (puppy is too much work with young kids, bites toddler etc), older dogs are a no go (can't trust old dog with children, will knock over toddler, requires too much exercise, will dig, will run away etc).

So it appears the universe it telling me to wait, which while I am devastated because I really want a dog, I will wait. So do you think when the youngest turns 2, this is ok, or should she be 3 or older? I am not going to go into breeds because I have been back and forth and we have a rough idea as to what breeds might be good - something small/medium with short hair and not huge exercise requirements.

I really just want a realistic idea from people as to what age they think kids need to be before getting a dog so I can then put it out of mind until that time.


Costacoffeeplease Tue 18-Nov-14 05:51:33

I would say the youngest needs to be at least 4 or 5, if they've not been brought up with dogs from birth. They need to be old enough to follow instructions - not to pull the dog's tail/ears, scream in its face etc, and to realise that it's a living creature not a toy - sorry if that seems like a long time now, but it would seem sensible to me and I've had dogs all my life (parents had dogs before kids!)

Emmylooagain Tue 18-Nov-14 06:30:50

Gosh that is another 2 1/2 years away!! Do people always wait until their kids are that old?

I am sure it is a sensible age though. Damn - I am very impatient. That is going to be a long wait for me....

goshhhhhh Tue 18-Nov-14 06:43:01

We have just got a puppy. My dcs are 8 & 12. It really is like having a very sweet but sometimes very naughty toddler that chews & eats everything including the dcs when not watched. Oh & pees everywhere.
It is much harder work then I ever imagined (& I love him!) I can't imagine doing it with little dcs & it is only really working as dh is at home full time.

VeryStressedMum Tue 18-Nov-14 06:47:26

My dds were 4 and 3 when we got our pup (ds wasn't born yet) and that was probably the youngest I would go as puppies are hard work, I wouldn't have wanted to cope with a very young toddler and a mad puppy!

NCIS Tue 18-Nov-14 06:56:59

No they don't always wait, I certainly didn't, we've had dogs (all got as eight week old puppies) since just before DC1 was born BUT you have to be strict and I am, kid and puppies were bought up with strict rules and boundaries especially relating to their interactions.
Dogs are always trained and I put a lot of work into that, kids have always known that the wrath of Mum will descend if they are cruel to the dog and they have grown up knowing that the dog does not get disturbed whilst sleeping/eating and that walks are non-negotiable regardless of weather etc.

I can honestly say I haven't had any problems despite having what people see as high energy dogs (Border Collies and Springers) it is doable but you have to be very clear about how it will be managed and everyone has to know and adhere to the rules. I was probably considerably stricter with my kids (and possibly my dogs) than many people are today.

It probably helped that I had grown up with big dogs and so had a model to work to.

KittieCat Tue 18-Nov-14 07:00:21

We were in a situation where we didn't choose to get a dog but one was in need so we felt compelled to help her. This was five months ago.
DS is three.
We have been unbelievably lucky that she is such a good girl and that DS, on the whole, behaves around her.
That said the biggest challenge has been not leaving them alone together (even for a moment).
She was we think about a year and I definitely would not feel comfortable with DS around a smaller puppy as DS is still clumsy and could so easily accidentally hurt a small puppy.
Again fortunately our girl has been really easy to train but this has still taken up time and that's in short supply with a toddler!

Emmylooagain Tue 18-Nov-14 07:04:41

Thanks all. I think I will struggle to wait another 2-3 years because I have waited around 10 years already.

I am hoping when the youngest turns 2, it might be possible. I know, I know, still too young....

NCIS - yes I plan to be very strict re the dog and the kids.

I always thought you had to wait until after you had kids to get a dog but now I wish I had done it before hand!

NCIS Tue 18-Nov-14 07:09:17

I know how you feel Emmy I finished work on the Friday on mat leave and had my puppy on the Saturday. I did know I wasn't going back to work for a while (turned into 5 years due to rapid succession of babies) and I had missed having a dog since I left home. I do think sometimes, like deciding to have children, we wait for the 'perfect' time whereas, in reality there is no such thing.

Emmylooagain Tue 18-Nov-14 07:13:33

Thanks NCIS. I have wanted a dog since university (I started university in 1995). Our last family dog died around 10 years ago. Every time I ask my DH whether I can get one, it's always a different reason. Living overseas, renting, no backyard, no one home during the day, about to have a baby, have a baby, and now it's have a toddler. The goal posts are always shifting. Now people are saying wait another 2 or 3 years. I find that really hard even though I know they are right and waiting until my youngest is 4 would be the sensible's just difficult. I should have got one just as I went on mat leave with my first baby but that would have been considered ridiculous as well!

NCIS Tue 18-Nov-14 08:24:45

Fortunately MN wasn't around to ask when I got my first dog grin or I'm sure I would have been flamed. It really does depend on the person and their experience and lifestyle. I would be more concerned about being out of the house four days a week with a puppy, I do think that would be impossible to manage. I only got my current pup because my DD was between uni and her first job so was at home for six months and I work shifts and DH can fit his days around my shifts.

Emmylooagain Tue 18-Nov-14 08:40:29

Thanks NCIS. I am seriously thinking I may have to quit my job just to get a dog! I can work from home more days if necessary when we first get the puppy. Plus I can take annual leave. But if I needed to work from home on and off for the first month, my work is quite flexible like that. DH is also the same.

I have decided to start working from home one day from next year because my DS starts kindegarten and he wants me to pick him up.

Maybe I just need to put the dog out of my mind for 12 months. I do try but then I can't help but google pictures of puppies! So cute!!

crapcrapcrapcrap Tue 18-Nov-14 09:48:46

We've always had dogs (way before we had DC) and they were older when babies came along. In all honesty they didn't get enough attention after we had children, but they tolerated it because they weren't puppies. Keeping everyone safe was tricky though.

Now my youngest DC is 4 and we've just found ourselves with a puppy (unplanned really but a short term foster has turned into a longer term thing!) in addition to the old dog we still have.

Even though I'm an experienced dog owner, I work PT, DH works shifts, she's about 6 months, only took a week to house train, and is on the whole a very chilled out pup, she's still wreaked havoc in the house, damaged furniture and toys, bitten the DC (puppy biting that hasn't been dealt with appropriately in her prevous home) and had l DH and I at loggerheads.

I'm not saying don't a get a dog. I'm saying don't let your desire for a dog cloud the reality of it. I agree that there's no perfect time, but you can't predict 100% how any dog will fit in to your life and home, or their temperament, and it's all consuming once they're there.

I reckon I have to find 2.5 hours a day now for training, walking, cleaning, preparing kongs and general refereeing. That's not 2.5 hours of my choosing either - it might be more convenient for me to walk the dog after the DC are in school, but in her view that means she's got to find things to chew for 3 hours until she gets out, so I get up early to save my furniture smile

JoffreyBaratheon Tue 18-Nov-14 14:34:34

We have a new puppy at the mo and to be honest, it would be a nightmare with a baby or even a toddler. The endless mouthing/biting and nipping that most puppies do - and I know from past experience can go on for a couple of months - would be incredibly stressful having to keep pup away from a toddler.

Kids born into family when we already had a dog have always been fine. But I have never got a dog til my youngest has been (a sensible) 5 or 6. And at the moment, I'm glad my youngest is 12, as even he is finding the mouthiness hard to cope with (as is the 14 year old) - I did warn them though and they are of an age when they are so desperate for a puppy themselves, they do as told to keep him. NCIS above gives excellent advice. Clear boundaries.

Housetraining etc requires you to be so vigilant and hands on - trying to get pup out and stay out just before they're about to go - I would hate to do doing this with a young child in the house. A school age child - less of an issue.

I am also finding that involving the kids in the pup's training is excellent. Great for them, as much as for the dog. A slightly older child will get a lot out of this.

For my puppy fix, I'd volunteer as a dog walker for a local rescue, or something. Or adopt a Dogs Trust dog and go visit it with the kids, so they can have some experience of dogs from an early age. Even if it is just reading updates and looking into a kennel!

MiddletonPink Tue 18-Nov-14 15:04:06

Who is the person at your house every other day?

SistersOfPercy Tue 18-Nov-14 17:16:32

DD was 2 when we had our Westie. She understood he wasn't a toy and was really good with him. She and Bob became best friends and when he died last year aged 14 she was devastated. She'd just turned 16 and as she pointed out she'd never known a life without him.
He was her best friend throughout her childhood. He shared tea parties and all the first boyfriend dramas.
I think it depends on the child. DD was a quiet girl for the most part and good at doing as she was told. She and Bob were always supervised until she was old enough to fully appreciate him.

fishfingerSarnies Tue 18-Nov-14 17:21:20

I got a puppy when dd was about 20 months but I'm a sahm so had the time to devote to puppy and kid my dd also has always grown up with other dogs in the family so knows how to behave and we crate trained so that dog has an escape if she needs it.
If your sensible and really understand what a dog needs I don't think child age matters so much for me in your situation working full time and young kids I think it may all be a bit much.
Good luck with what ever you decide.

Emmylooagain Tue 18-Nov-14 21:48:40

Thanks all. I know what you are saying is sensible - it's just a very long wait. Anyway, I am hearing no puppy for at least 2 more years, probably really 3 more years. Maybe an adult dog though? or still too hard?

The person at my house is my mother and mother-in-law. And no, they wouldn't want to look after a puppy. It all points to the same answer - quit my job so i can get a puppy!

(I am kidding. Sort of).

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