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Puppy Questions

(42 Posts)
PerfectlyChaotic Sun 26-Mar-17 23:30:43

Dh & I have been talking round in circles about adding a dog to our family and I think we've just about decided that we would like to...seems harder than deciding to have children!!

I wondered whether anybody could advise on good timing? How long should we be able to dedicate 24/7 to the pup initially? I work mainly from home...need to be out about 3 1/2 hrs in the morns 3 x a week (& only term time). I assume summer hols might therefore be good timing?

We don't go away all that often but obviously there would be occasions when we would need to leave him/her. What age is realistic to do this? We have a hol booked over New Year already...

And finally any experiences with introducing puppy to elderly (v laid back & affectionate) cat? Disaster?! Would feel awful if dcat became distressed.

Feel as though waffling, but so many things to consider & I'm slightly terrified about getting it wrong. Advice welcome!

BiteyShark Mon 27-Mar-17 05:36:46

I stayed at home 24/7 for the first month to settle the puppy in. Because I knew I would have to leave him for about 3-4 hours when I went into the office I made sure I left him from day one on his own for short periods building up to that time at the end of the month. This did mean leaving him to cry so he learned to settle himself so if that isn't something you cannot do (some people won't let their puppy cry) then it could take longer to get them used to being left depending on the puppy as they are all different. Mine also has a secure outside area so can pee and poo outside if he needs to whilst I am out as puppies cannot hold it for long initially.

If you plan to use kennels whilst you go away I found that all of them had a minimum age of 6 months so we had to delay getting a puppy until after a major holiday. If you plan on leaving your puppy at an earlier age I would make sure you have someone lined up who is 100% prepared to look after a puppy with all it entails.

Don't have a cat so cannot advise on that.

Hidingtonothing Mon 27-Mar-17 06:07:50

We adopted a 4 month old puppy with a middle aged and extremely grumpy cat. Dcat retreated upstairs for a few days, coming down occasionally to sniff the puppy disdainfully. After that it was a series of cautious encounters including several incidents where puppy got a bit too playful and received warning scratches to the nose to show him who was boss.

It's all good now, Dcat has coped with a house move, a second puppy and, just recently, a female kitten. He's 13 now and still rules the roost, he is for the most part treated with the respect he demands smile

You've had good advice about your other concerns so hope that puts your mind at rest a bit about your cat, it does of course depend on their individual personalities to some extent but it can work.

Best of luck if you decide to go ahead, it's good you're thinking about all this before you jump in flowers

Cocobananas Mon 27-Mar-17 07:49:27

Our elderly cat is also laid back, has grown up with dogs and seemed clueless about giving pup a swift smack with the result that play and interaction was fine until pup grew four times the size of cat! Then he became really wary and upset as boisterous hairy dog gleefully pounced all over him. In hindsight I would have limited their interaction in the early weeks. All fine now, cat gets fed first in morning, cat sits on sofa, dog is not allowed and Cocopup will sit and wait whilst cat strolls past him in the house. I make sure they are in different rooms when I go out though.
Feel quite sad for cat because as a kitten he used to sleep curled up with our old black lab. Think it does depend on your cats personality, I wish ours would teach pup a lesson but he won't and so we have to protect him and train,train, train her.

PerfectlyChaotic Mon 27-Mar-17 13:47:53

Thanks all. Coco...I imagine my old lady cat would react in a similar fashion I've NEVER seen her swipe at anything!! We introduced a pup to our cat growing up...pup got a bop on the nose and that was that, all sorted & they reached an understanding. I imagine current cat would just remove herself to upstairs, which is fine...would be happy to move her things up there if necessary.

We're fortunate to have a large kitchen & sitting area which we could easily restrict potential puppy to whilst not directly supervised.

I've had recommendations for dog sitters who offer boarding in their own homes or potentially family could help. Just wondered how unsettling it would be for a 6/7 mth old puppy?

So, so may things to consider. We've possibility over-thought everything & keep what-iffing to the point that it'll never happen 🙈

BiteyShark Mon 27-Mar-17 14:12:26

I think if you have friends or someone boarding in their own home where you have the chance for dog to meet them prior to your holiday it should minimise any upset.

Cocobananas Mon 27-Mar-17 14:16:42

Recommendations from other dog owners for a home boarder is good, check they are licensed. We took Cocopup to ours to meet her for half an hour or so when pup was only four months and then she did a morning there at five months and a two night stay at six months. Shades of playgroup settling😂 She loves going there because there are often other dogs and she is very sociable and the boarders dog who is an elderly giant breed who Cocopup is in total awe of. Check whether boarder is happy to look after a puppy. I don't think it is unsettling if started as part of early socialisation experiences.
We had a sociable, friendly black lab who made infrequent trips to kennels from around five years old and hated it and a grumpy, set in his ways Heeler who went from six months, also infrequently, and never minded.

PerfectlyChaotic Mon 27-Mar-17 17:07:31

Is IS very much like considering the needs of a small child isn't it? Maybe there will never be an absolutely perfect time to do it.

Just can't decide...somebody said to me recently that on paper there are an awful lots of cons to dog ownership, but you can't explain the hugeness of the pros!!!

BiteyShark Mon 27-Mar-17 17:37:43

Read the puppy survival thread for the cons. The pros for me is having a loyal loving family member which I agree is so hard to explain.

PerfectlyChaotic Tue 28-Mar-17 12:27:25

I think the puppy's survival thread is what's making me nervous!! Although would want to make commitment under no illusions that it's all just cute & cuddly...

BiteyShark Tue 28-Mar-17 12:32:41

OP I didn't really relish the puppy period even before I got my DDog and it has been bloody hard but now he is 6 months old he is a completely different dog and is a lovely companion for me and I adore him. My mantra was the puppy period does not last long and I was and am fully prepared to throw money and time into training for a minimum of a year. That mantra got me through the tough times grin

PerfectlyChaotic Tue 28-Mar-17 12:43:45

I guess it isn't actually that long then is it?! I found newborn baby bit hard, but then nobody's ever going to question your wisdom in having a baby...!

BiteyShark Tue 28-Mar-17 12:47:21

The smaller the dog the quicker they mature. Saying that I am bracing myself for my dogs teenage years which fortunately in dogs that should last only months and not years. So puppy hard work, slight breather, then teenager ignoring you and forgetting all the training followed by a loving adult dog grin

My dog is on the small side of a medium dog ( he is a small working cocker). If you go for bigger dogs they will take longer to get to adult maturity.

PerfectlyChaotic Tue 28-Mar-17 12:54:04

Goodness, lots to learn about. I so want to do it & do think we have lots to offer...but sensible head keeps telling me to just go for a quiet life 😂

purplecoathanger Tue 28-Mar-17 13:13:04

You have to be prepared to devote yourself to your puppy for the first few weeks. With our last puppy we did crate training and I cannot speak too highly of this way of training.

She loved her bed in her crate as this was her very own quiet place. She still loves her bed. Whenever it was sleep time she went in there and if we had to go out, she went in. This meant that we had no worries about what she was up to.

To start with I took her outside very frequently, when she was awake, just to make sure as many poos and wees were done outside. I took her out after a game, after food and after she woke up.

I also set the alarm to get up in the night to her, as little puppies cannot go all night to start with.

It took about ten days to house train her, which was brilliant.

Our friends wouldn't use a crate, saying it wasn't right to put a puppy in a cage. You have to get over this idea as a puppy sees it as their haven rather than, as a cage.

Our friends also put newspaper down at night, rather than taking their puppy outside. Their puppy is now seven months and still not reliable. He doesn't sleep in his bed either, he prefers their bed.

PerfectlyChaotic Tue 28-Mar-17 13:24:39

Thanks purple. Yes, have done a bit of research about crate training & definitely seems sensible for the safely & sanity of all concerned. A funny one to get your head around I guess, but of course animals would naturally want to be able to get to a place that feels small and secure. Wouldn't want a dog on the bed (I said that about the cat, but harder to implement!!)...So pups generally will settle overnight in a crate will they? However do you know when to get up to take them out? Will they let you know?!

So a few weeks of round the clock dedication to get toilet training...then a good year or so of basic training (I know training carries on for life, though I imagine it gets easier to maintain?)?

purplecoathanger Tue 28-Mar-17 13:30:35

Our puppy cried a bit the first night but that was it. We had a soft toy that you could heat in the microwave and we gave her this. She loved it. She had blankets and toys in the crate and very quickly grew to love it.

We brought her home on the first day in the crate, so she was introduced to it straight away.

I set my alarm for around 2am and she was ready to go out then. They grow very quickly in the first weeks and in no time they can go through the night. I realised she was ok when she didn't really need a wee in the night.

BiteyShark Tue 28-Mar-17 13:37:15

I went with the '1 hour for each month old plus 1' in the night so 3 month old puppy can hold for 4 hours overnight. Like purple I set my alarm to take the puppy outside to pee. And yes to the crate, my puppy loves his grin

PerfectlyChaotic Wed 29-Mar-17 10:08:30

Thanks both. Wow, feel like I'm researching everything in minute detail, yet we still haven't actually decided 🙈!

applesareredandgreen Sat 01-Apr-17 19:32:25

Agree you need a few weeks off work with your new pup to start with. If you are able to have school holidays off then this is ideal (assuming you are able to link this in with availability of puppy from breeder, probably would only work if you are looking at very popular breed, and willing to travel)

We managed to do this last summer, puppy had crate in kitchen with back door open all day.

We actually left crate door open with puppy pads around the room at night. I know other people will say this isn't a good idea. But this worked for us as after the first week we let him out about midnight and he didn't start moaning to be let out until about 6.00, and 2 weeks later was sleeping through about 8 hours.

We were able to take him outside to toilet constantly during the day, and although we had a few weeks when he was about 12 weeks old when he was confused by the rooms with carpet (I think he thought it was like grass) we didn't have many toileting accidents.

We introduced him to his crate by putting treats in, then stroked him off to sleep to start with but left him sleepy,but awake after a couple of days (closed the kitchen door on him for him to nap alone . He moaned a little bit but only a couple of minutes .

We also started leaving him for short periods after we had had him 2 weeks so he was used to being alone when we went back to work/school . He is left for between 3 - 5 hours depending on Dh shifts and my PT hours.

We have a small jack Russell if that's any help!

We don't have any other pets and regarding going on holiday we have only been where we could take pup since having him and I'm not sure how I would feel about leaving him. I always thought if I had a dog I would just put him on kennels And go on holiday but now it would feel like leaving DS behind in kennels. I would worry he would miss us and if I had to do it I think I would look for home boarding and make sure he had visited a few times and got to know the family.

applesareredandgreen Sat 01-Apr-17 19:34:52

Oh. Just remembered that DS and I took it in turn to sleep downstairs on the sofa for the first two weeks so we could hear him when he woke .

JigglyTuff Sat 01-Apr-17 19:46:36

We got our puppy at the start of the summer hols so were around constantly. He was crate-trained at first but now sleeps on my bed (I like the guard dog aspect of it as much as anything).

He was 12 weeks when we got him and slept through the night from the off and toilet trained fairly easily - we have hard floors downstairs so that helped.

Three things I wished I'd known as a first time dog owner:

1. That puppy/dog training is about training you and socialisation for the puppy. It doesn't actually train your puppy and you need to practice A LOT between classes. Get a book too - The Perfect Puppy is great - and work through it. Little and often is great. Dogs carry on learning though so don't be despondent if your puppy seems to get something and forgets it again a week latre
2. Impetuous days out are no more. You can't just decide to hop in the car and go to the beach for the day because you have a dog. You can't go shopping for a day and then decide to stay out for dinner and a film because you have a dog. They seriously impact on your ability to do stuff off the cuff. You need to plan.
3. Dogs have teenage years. You can be a smug one year old owner who thinks they've got their dog brilliantly trained and they get to 18 months and it all goes to shit. It gets better again but it's a bit of a shock

Having said all that, our dog is bloody brilliant and we love him to bits and can't imagine our lives without him. But it's much more like having a child than any other pet is.

Booboostwo Sat 01-Apr-17 20:32:39

Just going through the puppy stage for the sixth time so it's all fresh in my mind.

We had the pup in our bedroom for the first week but he quickly got too heavy to carry up and down the stairs for toilet so I slept on the sofa with him for another three weeks. After that, at around 13 weeks, he could sleep on his own with our other dog and the door to the garden open.

He is still crate training, he will go in there all the time, short periods with the door closed but it does take a while for a pup to settle for hours in the crate. I do not like leaving them to cry in the crate as that risks turning it into a punishment.

I am SAHP so it's a bit easier but we left the pup on his own for 3 hours around 14 weeks old. I made sure he had a lot of stimulation before and after so he slept in between.

I try not to leave a puppy for holiday until about 8month old, but we get a house sitter which is less stressful.

Keep in mind that bitches do not go into heat at pre-selected times and you won't have that much choice on the timing of the birth. Also any decent breeder will have a waiting list so you'd be unlikely to get a puppy this spring (be weary of a breeder with a lot of readily available puppies). If you are thinking of rehoming there are more puppies available year round but you may have to wait for the right type and temperament.

arbrighton Sat 01-Apr-17 21:18:29

our pup went to doggy daycare about 16 weeks (they take as soon as all jabs are done) and has been for fairly regular daycare since then plus overnights as needed (including nearly a whole month last oct).
She's always been happy there and I'm happier with her being there

We didn't get her til I stopped the term time only job I was doing though. But she arrived the same week as renovations started on our house so it was a very busy time and helped get her used to a lot of noises etc. She's had spells of separation anxiety but currently, at approaching 3 years, has chilled out a bit. And we've just got another dog

arbrighton Sat 01-Apr-17 21:23:23

oh and our dog has NEVER slept upstairs with us at home- only when we're away and she's unsettled or goes to harass other people.

However, I think the breeder did a lot of the hard work in settling at night/ nearly toilet trained, as she's always just taken herself off to bed at the right time and nearly always stayed there quietly til we go to her in the morning (or on the sofa, but she THINKS we don't know about that) unless she's had a dodgy tummy when she will whine etc to wake us.
She starts being restless then goes to stand by the door when ready to go. As a pup, we used to know when a number two was imminent as we usually had a mad five minutes immediately beforehand.

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