I have very young kids - is a rescue dog a bad idea?

(23 Posts)
Pinkypurply88 Wed 07-Nov-18 12:49:47

I want to get a dog to complete our family. We were planning on a rescue, but the more I read about how rehoming a dog can be, the more I wonder if we’d be better off getting a (non)-rescue puppy from a reputable breeder.

While I love the idea of helping a dog find a loving home, realistically, dealing with issues in a pup might be crazy hard work while I already have really little kids?!?!

Did anyone go down the rescue route (with small kids)? Do you think I’d be crazy?!

OP’s posts: |
Rainatnight Wed 07-Nov-18 12:51:32


practicallyperfectmummy Wed 07-Nov-18 12:51:59

I think lots of rescue centres won't rehome a dog while you have young children. Which is sensible for the children and the dog really. Maybe wait a few years to bring a rescue dog into your home it would be a lovely thing to do.

Wolfiefan Wed 07-Nov-18 12:56:44

I think a puppy and very young children is probably an even worse idea. They need constant attention and are bitey little buggers.
I would leave it until they are school age. (If you want a reputable breeder you would have to wait anyway).

tinstar Wed 07-Nov-18 12:58:25

Personally I think getting any dog, especially a puppy, when you have very young kids is risky and not really sensible.

Very young kids may have difficulty remembering always to treat a dog with respect and one too many pokes in the face or tail pulls can cause an understandable reaction in any dog. A simple nip can cause serious damage or fright to a little person. And all too often the dog that has been pestered into a reaction is blamed and swiftly got rid of.
And no, you can't monitor them every second of every day.

Having said that, some rescues have issues and some don't. You can buy a shiny new puppy from a breeder and it may have issues too. You just don't know. We got our first family dog when our youngest was 8 - a puppy from a one-off litter where we knew the mother's family. She has been quite a madam all her life and used to try and dominate our youngest. Conversely, our 2 year old rescue lab/shepherd is as soft as can be.

But really, why not wait until your dcs are a bit older?

Pinkypurply88 Wed 07-Nov-18 13:04:26

Okay this is interesting! My youngest is two. I think it’s because my eldest is desperate for a dog (and so am I! I miss having a dog around!).

OP’s posts: |
CMOTDibbler Wed 07-Nov-18 13:08:02

I foster for a rescue which does rehome to people with any age children (where it is appropriate to the dog in question) , but I would say that I am always concerned when someone has very small kids - not because its a rescue pup but because puppies are bitey, bouncy little things who need a huge amount of attention and very small kids don't respect the rules around puppies


DeerHearts Wed 07-Nov-18 13:08:38

It all depends on why the dog is being rehomed. I worked in a rescue shelter before I had children and saw so many older dogs being dumped because the family was just too busy for them and they were no longer cute in their old age.
Absolutely zero behaviour problems, just old and not long pretty. They were hardly ever adopted and often ended up being put to sleep.
Since having children, I have made it a rule that we only ever adopt the oldest dog in the shelter. They come fully house trained, low energy, and basically just want somewhere warm to sleep and peole to cuddle them. My children accept that the dog won't be with us for long, 2-3 years on average before they pass away, but the joy they bring us is worth it. And with a young family I'm fully aware that I just don't have the time to train or exercise a young dog enough. All our dogs we have rescued have had their individual quirks that we have had to adapt to, but ultimately an older rescue dog works best for us.

Picking up a 18month old dog thats never been trained would be a disaster, go for something 8+ years. There's plenty out there, who due to know fault of their own, find themselves looking for a home.
Our past dogs have included a beautiful mastiff x whose owner trained her well and adored her but sadly died, a 14year old mongrel with impeccable manners whose owner lost his home and had to choose between living on the street and keeping his dog or rehoming her and going to live with his daughter, and our current dog a staffy boxer cross whose owner fled a domestic violence situation and was unable to take her dog with her.

The thing to keep in mind when rescuing a dog is to find out WHY they need a home. Dogs with horrific behavioural problems don't tend to live 8+ year. They tend to be the 2-5 year old dogs in shelters, being rehomed for the 3rd or 4th time. Dogs that have been around for the better part of a decade are generally a good bet as its the good tempered dogs that people keep and train well.

tinstar Wed 07-Nov-18 13:09:08

Two is not great op. I remember my eldest toddling up to my MIL's dog at that age. I asked her to pick ds up as she was next to them both and as she was saying, "oh he's fine, my dog wouldn't hurt a fly" the dog snapped very angrily at his face. No contact made, but very scary.

tinstar Wed 07-Nov-18 13:12:45

I assume if you're contemplating a dog you don't work, or at least only part time. Worth thinking if your hours are likely to change when your 2 year old starts school.

Breaks my heart when I see all the lovely dogs on rescue websites where the reason for rehoming is given as "change of circumstances". Some you can't predict of course, but others you can.

Wolfiefan Wed 07-Nov-18 13:14:15

Wouldn’t at 2! Toilet training a human and a pup together? Lots of accidents.

DeerHearts Wed 07-Nov-18 13:15:51

If you're bringing a dog into a house with young children, whether its from a breeder or a shelter, its important to ensure the dog has a space to retreat from the children and make damn sure the children respect that space. Our dog's beds have always been absolutely off limits to everyone, much the same as the fireplace was. The dogs were also crate trained so they could be kept safe from visiting children who didn't respect animals.

Needlemaker Wed 07-Nov-18 13:20:15

Please don't rescuing is a wonderful thing to do but not at the risk to a child, some rescues from over seas will home to people with young children a friend of mine did this a spaniel breed apparently great with kids cats dogs ect
The dog ripped apart their elderly sleeping cat within seconds of being home savaged my friends hand and I have no doubt nor does he that had his grandkids been there they would be been targets

would you consider a cat or house rabbit instead?

BiscuitDrama Wed 07-Nov-18 13:22:55

I’d maybe wait a few years. Don’t get a cat now because it isn’t great for it when you then get a dog (we have just done that. blush)

We tried to get a rescue and couldn’t find one that was ok around children. We then got the mumsnet rescue greyhound which is mostly working out well. I wouldn’t do it with a two yr old though.

Twirlbites1 Wed 07-Nov-18 13:28:10

We’ve just gone through this exact thought process. We started by saying we wanted a rescue mongrel, and we are going to get a pedigree puppy. Most rescue centres won’t re home dogs in families with children less than 8 yo. And the more you read about rescue dogs, the less you will want one with small children. It’s a lovely idea, but just not realistic or safe. Have you had a dog before? They are seriously hard work. You might want to wait til your youngest is a bit older.

Okki Wed 07-Nov-18 13:29:24

My DC's are 11 and 8. We wanted to rehome a dog and all the rescues we approached told us no until youngest DC is 10.

tinstar Wed 07-Nov-18 13:48:13

And the more you read about rescue dogs, the less you will want one with small children.

Sweeping generalisation there! Dogs from breeders can also have issues. Particularly if the breeders aren't reputable and there are plenty of those about. Sadly.

Wolfiefan Wed 07-Nov-18 13:51:32

We got a cat then a pup a couple of years later. I wouldn’t take in any new dog with tiny children. Rescue or not.

florentina1 Wed 07-Nov-18 14:53:24

There is a lot of time, patience and training that needs to be given to most rescue dogs. Our dog came to us from a Rescue as an 8 year old . She came from a very loving home with children. Sadly the mum died and the dad could not take the dog as well as the children,

We were advised to keep the youngest of our grandchildren away until we had had the dog for 3 months. She had lots of issues when she first came and it took 6 months of love, care and training for her to be truly happy and settled. My grandchildren visit but even though I have had her a year I won’t leave her alone with them. The dog is obsessed with the youngest of them. She is 3 and the same height as the dog who jumps on her and licks her face. Although the 3 year old thinks it is funny and loves the dog, I keep her close to me on a lead when she visits.

I think you should wait until the youngest is 5 and then go for a puppy. For very good reasons, few rescues will allow a dog into a home with small children. Their experience is that a dog needs a long period of calm and steady handling if the rehoming is to be successful.

SilverbytheSea Wed 07-Nov-18 15:10:07

Wait until your children are older. We got a pup from a reputable breeder (we got rejected from the rescues in our area because of our rescue cat) and then found out I was pregnant shortly after.
The cat and dog get on great and dog is really patient and gentle with DS (now 18 months) but even still I am CONSTANTLY on edge as he has recently started taking interest in our dog and sometimes gets a bit over excited when he’s petting her, and obviously doesn’t understand ques such as the dog going to her safe places jus yet etc.
It’s exhausting. Like pp have said, depending on the dogs temperament it doesn’t take much to make them have a nervous reaction to a little one, and while our dog is currently very gentle and patient, I would hate to take my eye off the ball and for something horrible to happen to either dog or DS.

TropicPlunder Wed 07-Nov-18 16:20:40

I rescued a 5 month old puppy with a just 4 year old kid.it went really well, but we had open space, lots of help, and luckily, the right dog!
Maybe get in touch with rescues and chat about it. Would take a while to find the right dog. Some rescues do family info sessions, to teach kids how to behave around dogs and understand their needs a bit.

agirlhasnonameX Wed 07-Nov-18 17:02:09

I think it depends entirely on the dog and how well the rescue knows it's previous circumstances, there are not an awful lot of rescues that will re-home to a family with small children for the welfare of both.
I had rescue dogs when DD1 was born and have a puppy now DD2 is coming up 3. Completely understand why people say it's a bad idea, but personally I have had wonderful experiences and as long as you are very careful and extremely patient I think raising young children and dogs can work out.

Ylvamoon Wed 07-Nov-18 17:24:30

The questions you have to ask yourself is: how much dog experience you have? How much time do you really have to commit to a dog?
Than there are the more practical things. Is there a safe space away from the children? Are you able to take dog to training class? Is your partner fully on board? ...
Think things through, there are pro & cons for both rescue and puppies. If you have the time (money) and patience, having a family dog is very rewarding for you... Because 9 times out of 10 the kids will loose interest.

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