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Thoughts ....getting a lab ??(19 Posts)
Sooo for a long long time now I’ve wanted a dog , a Labrador in fact. I had labs growing up and I just adore them although fully appreciate the enormous responsibility and hard work that goes into having one especially for the first few years. Here’s my situation ;
I have 2 children 1 aged 2 - loves dogs is a bit crazy herself and I’m sure she could handle a puppy ( most of the time )
My son is 7 and has autism and epilepsy - our house can be madhouse at times. my son does have to be rushed into hospital quite a bit however, as we have another child it’s not always possible for my dh to go hospital aswell and so wouldn’t really affect the dog.
We have a reasonable sized house, huge garden, live in the country and are very outdoorsy when the kids are willing 🙄 ( which they are a lot of the time ) we really think a dog would compliment all of that and more importantly I’d love a companion for my son. He loves dogs however, I’m quite aware dogs at other peoples houses is a lot different to having one live at your home.
Sooooo do you think just by looking at my situation I’d be mental to consider having a dog. A lot of people I have spoken to about it seem to think it’s a ridiculous idea considering the amount of day to day worry and stress we have - which we do but We can cope with it and do so well I think, we’re a very happy strong family and I’m confident that although it will be frustrating, tiring and I’ll regret it at times I just can’t help but think it could be the best thing we ever did.
What do you think 🙈 if you think I’m a twat go ahead and say - I’m ready for it 😂
I forgot to add - I work from home .. dd is at playschool 3 days a week and my son is obviously at school so have a good amount of time to spend with the dog to train etc
You sound like you have already given it quite a bit of thought. Some other things you may not have thought about yet:
- A lab will be a big, bouncy baby until it is about 2 years old. A various points during that time it will probably wee, chew, bark, whine, cry, howl, knock the kids over, ruin their toys, puppy-bite and hurt, be upset at being left, over excited and uncontrollable. I guess only you would know if your children would be ok with that? I could imagine an autistic child might struggle with some of it or the little one might not like being knocked over etc - but am far from an expert on kids and active supervision at all times would go a long way to reducing he chances of any of that.
A young lab would also need walking every day - and do better being walked twice a day. Think something around an hour each time, across parks, woodlands or fields. Even in the cold, wet or ice. Is that both possible and something you would want to do? I am thinking of the times when you have to bundle the toddler up in warm clothes and get him to walk for an hour twice a day? Or maybe times when the lab is young and pulling on the lead and you have to control him and the toddler? Again, only you would know your capacity and patience for that?
Holidays. Not sure what kinds of holidays you like (or get to have) but you would need to think about what taking the dog or where he would go to be looked after.
What you would do if the lab was not the companion for your son you had hoped for. Maybe your son doesn't bond with the dog or the dog doesn't bond with him (dogs have a funny knack of bonding with the people who do the most with them)? What if the dog struggles with your son's epileptic fits? Training can help much of this but perhaps think about whether you have the knowledge and skill for that training or are willing to work regularly with a trainer to help you?
None of that is meant to sound disapproving or negative. It's meant to be helpful so hopefully comes across as such.
Make sure you've got a decent hoover, the moulting is unreal. Get a Furminator, it will be your new best friend
Thank you - that is very helpful.
I have thought of all of the above and if I’m completely honest some of what you have asked is the reason we haven’t already. Mainly the part about the dog or my son not bonding and in actual fact one of them being uncomfortable around the other one. The puppy stage doesn’t worry me too much in that I’m confident I will put a lot of work into training both myself and with a trainer to lessen hopefully some of that but of course, puppies are babies and will do what they do and I’m under no illusion that I / the kids won’t be pulling our hair out at times but it’s never something I would consider rehoming a dog over as I know it is fairly short lived and will get better in time.
Re walking - doesn’t really faze me that, I’m happy to walk the dog both morning ( 3 days a week in the morning for an hour or so ) and evening and so will my husband especially during the evening. My kids like to go on walks and we do go out in all weathers. Again, I realise there will be days when I’m ill or the kids are or the weather is so bad we can’t but on those days we will work round it so that my husband takes it on a longer later in the evening. I’m also going to get a dog walker on standby for emergencies as I know there may be times I need to dash off. These times will be rare though and the majority of the time it won’t be an issue.
Holidays - we only ever holiday in the UK at present ( due to my sons condition ) and we go on a couple of holidays with friends who also take dogs so that would be fine. Of course, if my sons epilepsy becomes more stable then we would possibly go abroad in a few years.
It’s such a hard decision - one that I still have a lot of thinking to do over and a lot of what’s ifs .... 😩
Labs are a lovely breed and tend to do very well with children, although they can be mad as well. If you do get one make sure it's from show bred lines as they tend to be calmer than the field bred ones.
When looking for breeders look for one that socialises their puppies with children, and get them used to household noises such as hoovers. Ensure that they've health tested for Hips and eyes minimum but elbows and DNA testing for prcd-PRA is useful and tends to be a sign of a good breeder.
Puppies and young dogs can be hard work but with training, exercise and mental stimulation they are much easier!
Thank you - I have been wondering between show and working. I had a show dog living up and she was very calm however, someone else said to consider working because of their train ability especially with my son having additional needs. Really neee to look more into that. Thank you
I think in show vs working that there is an increased chance of dog-aggression with show lines. I am not an expert on labs specifically but seem to recall reading it about the same time I was researching springer show vs working. Something linked to working lines having more emphasis on temperament so they are good at their jobs, and show lines more emphasis on looks.
That said, I went for a show springer anyway and haven't regretted it.
Just thought I'd call it out.
With aggression it really depends on the breeder, of course there are some kennels that breed for looks. But others will breed for temperament, it's important to meet the parents and see what their temperament is like.
With train-ability working may be easier to train but this may outweigh their energy levels. I grew up with show and field bred golden retrievers and some of the field bred ones although smart if they got excited all of their training went out of the window haha!
If you do get one make sure it's from show bred lines as they tend to be calmer than the field bred ones.
Mine must have been an exception.
Show bred lab, was a nightmare puppy. He didn't settle down till he was 3 despite weekly training classes as well as one to one sessions. Very bouncy, biting and chewing everything had to be watched constantly. Would have been impossible if we'd had young children.
He's 8 now, lovely dog but still tends to be bouncy and over enthusiastic at times and can be overwhelming for young children.
I think he loves people too much .
Hi! We also have a madhouse three kids aged 1, 3 and 6, oldest has ASD. We have a 9 month old lab and I'm so glad we got her! Its bloody hard work and we commit to weekly training, daily walks etc. But she has enhanced our family so much. She does chew although she's getting much better as she's growing up. She's great with the kids, goes crazy round the fields and then crashes out at home. Perfect!
You might be better looking at a dog from assistance dog lines rather than show or working lines. You could even enquire about epilepsy aid dogs.
I’m wide eyed at the “labs don’t mature until they’re two” comments. We’ve had three (one show lines, one working lines and one assistant dog lines) and none of them matured until 5! All three are rescued or second hand dogs. All three have been amazing, friendly family dogs. All three have had their mad moments, all three have moulted like nothing on earth, all year round, all three have loved children and been kind to them.
Thank you glad to hear it’s working great for you werideatdawn ... it’s the comments like this that 😬
Honeyroar - thank you, we have looked at assistance dogs and the waiting list is years and years and we were also told because he has both autism and epilepsy we probably wouldn’t be granted one as both conditions together could confuse the dog. We have looked at training ourselves - 10K !!!! After many discussions we decided it would prob be best to just keep checking out reputable breeders that breed for temperament and also trainability and if the dog so happens to have a sixth sense then amazing but we wouldn’t expect it too as in sure it will offer so many more positives to our lives as it is .... I hope 🙈
We have a 6 month old lab who has enhanced our family no end. My kids are teenagers though, the first couple of weeks were really “oh my what have we done” but like a new baby they settle. I’m not an expert but labs are a very loyal breed so make nice family dogs. I know the breeder we got our dog from has trained a lab to recognise diabetes so they are very clever ! Good luck !
You sound like you've got it all covered op! I have a beautiful lab and 2 young dcs. It is a handful, ddog wasn't even 1 year old when dc1 came along and dc2 quickly followed so it was a bit hectic but so worth it.
My ddog has 1 show parent and 1 working parent, bought from a breeder who was also a vet, very well looked after before ddog came to live with us, but it all came at a cost. I'd definitely go meet a few breeders and do your research on them all, it's made a huge difference to us, ddog has never been destructive or loud and was easily trained (but that could well be down to luck!)
My brother fosters guide dogs at the weekends when they are training to get them used to living with a family. He also has a pet ex guide dog who didn’t complete her training. They are lovely, well behaved dogs. Could you consider looking into that to see how a lab would fit in at home and how your son feels about the dog?
Ah - just came across this and wanted to update ...
So we got a puppy in the middle of June. He's a working lab ( yellow ) we had such a mare trying to find one. Originally we went for show but as pp said, a lot were being bred for looks, COI scores were through the roof and temperaments of the parents weren't what we were looking for ( very bouncy, overpowering and actually fairly rude dogs 😂 ) it's a shame as i love show labs but so many breeding for looks it's madness.
Anyways, we went for working as visited a few litters and found the temperament of the parents to be lovely.
Our puppy is now 19 weeks old. He's a joy! Honestly, he's the calmest pup I've ever met. We have spent a lot of time training, and don't get me wrong he has his moments but generally he's a very good dog and both my children love him and he loves them 😍 when my son has seizures he lays with him, so we will see in time if he sense them or alerts us.
Also. Put thought in if u have a dog that is reactive , nervous , not good with people , has issues. I bought my springer. Was nervous and turned nervous aggressive.
I had him from a puppy. Did everything I was supposed to and it was still awful.
Getting a bomb proof dog is rare. So think about what you would do in those situations.
Lovely update, OP . Sounds like a really great addition to your family.
Our yellow lab is 18 months now. He's the light of everyone's life ❤️❤️❤️ nutty, adorable, affectionate, sleepy, cuddly. Has an hour and a half field walk in the morning then sleeps around the house for the rest of the day as long as he has company.
Still the odd bit of chewing, always wakes up about 5.30 and wants a friend, but he is our baby, the kids' baby, and we all love him 😁😁
So glad you got your new baby !