Puppy and where to start(17 Posts)
We are considering a puppy to join our family but would appreciate some advice on breeds! We have 4 children ( 3 of which under 4) and 2 have special needs. They are very gentle with animals so I have no concerns about them in that respect. I am however keen to get a puppy that ( and I know all dogs are different!) is generally easy to train / intelligent, good temperament around kids and not too large. So far the two that have been recommended to me on a regular basis are Labradors and cocker spaniels .... Any tips?
Training a puppy is very full on and with 4 young children you might find it's going to be very hard.
Having a puppy is almost like having another baby, most won't sleep through the night for a while, some puppies take several months to house train and many young puppies are nippy and will chew everything.
Labs can be easy to train as they generally want to please but it's really down to the individual dog in the end.
You might find you're better off getting a slightly older dog, although having said that most rescues won't rehome a dog to homes with small children and likewise you might also find that a good breeder would be a bit reluctant to sell a puppy to a family with so many young children.
Sorry, I know that wasn't answering what you were asking.
No that's fine! Honesty is best the hard work aspect doesn't worry too much < famous last words > but the nippy aspect does a little bit .... Is that a long lasting phase as a whole?
Also .... How do I find the good breeders?! If we were to go further I want to make sure it's with responsible ones
Puppies are incredibly nippy, many for months! A slightly older dog might be easier, have you had a dog before?
We got a puppy last year, honestly the first few months are tough. The crying through the night, having to get up with them, having to get up early with them, them destroying things you wish they hadn't. Following every trick in the book to get them toilet trained, staying outside with them an hour waiting for wee wees for them to walk back in and pee on the carpet.
Totally worth it in the end though our 11 month old has just figured out he can do wee wees when out on a walk. We got a miniature dachshund. He gets much more attention than a baby every would. Weird!
Personally I wouldn't get a puppy with young children. I can't begin to tell you how much hard work it is and there's no way of knowing what the pups temperament will be like.
Labs are massive and don't know their size, they also stay puppies for a long time. Cockers are lovely but some have cocker rage. Do you work? Puppies can't be left for long so if you work or like days out you need to factor in cost of getting them looked after.
I have a cocker he's 11 months. I'm a lone parent of a now 3 and 6 year old.
My honest appraisal is that he was a loon but he's calming down now and is a very loving soft dog. However. Dd1 has always been find with him but dd2 struggles to understand he isn't a toy and I never ever leave them alone together. This is not breed specific it's toddler specific.
Cockers need a lot of exercise. I got him because I plan to run with him several times a week when he's full grown. He needs an hour a day now but we split it between the school runs.
Cockers are very social and only aggressive if cornered pretty much. They are playful and cuddly and I agree they are suitable as family pets, just a bit bonkers! Also they need a lot of field exercise as in off the lead though their recall is pretty good.
Again with the nippiness, depends on the dog. Obviously while they're teething they'll be at their nippiest.
Chewing can go on the whole of a dog's life with some dogs. I was lucky mine wasn't a chewer and soon learned that there was things she was allowed to chew - her toys - and things that she shouldn't chew - everything else.
You have to be on top of these things all the time really if puppy is going to learn. They do spend a lot of time asleep, of course so you're not having to watch them all the time.
A good breeder? Recommendation from someone is helpful. Good breeders don't advertise of places like gum tree. Being KC registered is not necessarily a sign of a good breeder.
Dog should be in breeders home and you should meet mum at least - even if dad has come from a stud - and see the puppy with it's mum. My breeder welcomed me coming to see my puppy several times before I took her home - first saw her when she was 3 days old so it was a long wait. If your instincts tell you it's not a good set up, trust yourself and walk away. Anything that looks like a puppy mill steer clear of; if breeder says they breed more than one breed of dog then it's likely to be a puppy mill.
Lots of fab advice and info so thanks! I don't work so am almost always ( my little ones with SEN don't like to venture far ), we have a very large garden and woodlands beyond so plenty of time and space to walk - but it's definitely something we won't be rushing into!
I haven't owned a dog myself, my parents had a rescue dog when we were teens and my husbands family had a dog from a puppy and still have several. I think my initial gut reaction was waiting another 18months till the youngest is almost 3 and then start the thinking process again
Depending on the breed you get I would wait till your youngest is able to go for a wall without needing a pushchair or a lot of carrying. Excitable puppies need a lot of training to walk on a loose lead and it's not easy to do with a pushchair or young child hanging off you! It is doable but it's hard work and requires a lot of patience.
An older dog would be easier in this respect.
It's good you are looking in to it though you're best off finding out as much as you can before you make a final decision.
It's definitely not something to rush into. Sounds like you're giving yourself time to look into it and do your research.
I hope you find the perfect dog when you do start looking.
Dogs bring so much into your life, it's well worth the effort.
I always recommend Cavalier's. My Cav was amazing with my disabled daughter and even used to lay outside her bedroom door when she was having a seizure. I trained him up to competitive obedience levels so they're super bright, love people, small and less nippy than other breeds we've had and I just love him so much. Will walk for as long as you want or just laze about. He used to go to dd's school and was amazing with all the special needs children. They also do small poos and that's always a plus
No responsible breeder would sell you a puppy when you have three DCs under four and they'd be doing you a favour. The puppy will keep you up at night, pee and poo in the house, whine when left alone, chew everything, jump up with sharp little nails, knock the DCs over and play bite. You'll need to make time to take the puppy to training classes and spend time training him. How would you cope with walking an unruly puppy, pulling all over the place with the DCs along in all weathers?
To find a good breeder start with KC registration, it's not a guarantee but it is a good start. Ask them what they are breeding for? You want a family pet so the breeder has to be aiming for a good temperament. They should have done all the health screening recommended for the breed for both parents and have the paperwork. They should have few dogs and few litters a year to give each litter their full attention. They should be open to a visit beforehand, the dogs should be clean, healthy looking and happy to interact with people. You should be able to meet the bitch and be given information about the dog. The breeder should look into your circumstances and ability to look after a dog and ask you a lot of questions. A waiting list is a good sign, an invitation to pop over anytime and pick any puppy you want is a very bad sign.
We have a working cocker. She is wonderful and brilliant with our 3 year old. He can do anything with her and not once has she even snarled. Even when our son has accidentally fallen on him or taken the dogs toys.
She is really well behaved and doesn't chew or steal food etc. They are super intelligent so easy to train and potty training was a doodle and she was potty train in about a week. They are hard work when they are tiny though, honestly they are harder than having a newborn! They all nip when they are small but by 6 months she was fine.
Mouthing - the play biting can last right up till they're about 9 months old and that's with working on it, the thing is, it sounds ok when you call it mouthing or play biting...but it's blooming sore, especially when they're tiny and do it almost constantly with their little sharp baby teeth.
Some puppies don't do much of it, some are horrendous and you end up covered in cuts.
Small children tend not to deal with that so well as they instinctively make a lot of noise and try to get away (not really surprisingly) when they're attacked by a manic playful puppy, which inadvertently encourages the puppy to carry on playing like that.
My children are 7 and 11 and we got a Golden Retriever puppy in January.
It's been very stressful to be honest and even my DD who is brilliant with animals has had times when she would happily have sent him back, DS isn't too keen either at times. I really wouldn't advise it with 4 young children, even the calmest of puppies ( which isn't very calm) can hurt children by accident and as for the play biting - DD looked like she was self harming at one point!!
In your shoes I really wouldn't get a dog at all and certainly not a puppy.
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