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Puppy and 18 month old....madness??(35 Posts)
Hi we have been researching breeds and considering a dog or puppy for a few years now but work was an issue. I'm no longer working so I'm around all day. We have 3 children 10, 7 & 18 months they all love dogs and are used to being around my parents two dogs. The 10year old has high functioning autism and anxiety and we feel a dog could be beneficial to him in particular as he has a huge love of animals.
I grew up with dogs but this would be our first dog of our own so I'm anxious to get it right with training and everything. We can't rescue due to young toddler so we are probably looking at a puppy which obviously means toilet training, dealing with chewing and probably crate training. My OH is very house proud which I know could cause issues with toilet accidents, paw prints and hairs potentially destructive behaviour etc etc.
We are likely to get a poodle cross probably a golden retriever cross or Labrador cross due to them often being used as therapy pets and generally having a good reputation as family friendly dogs. I'm researching breeders and health testing etc
How much of a nightmare is it going to be training a puppy with a toddler around? Tell me honestly do people manage or am I being stupid considering it? I know there is a huge amount of work involved and there are a lot of negatives.... are there positives too? I've being going round in circles on this for a long time lol. Thanks in advance
We'd go for a miniature poodle cross in the hope of getting a slightly smaller slightly less shedding dog although I appreciate not always the case. And have gone for golden retriever or lab due to them being commonly used as therapy dogs and having family friendly reputation.
We got a cocker spaniel puppy just before Christmas when my little boy had just turned 2. It has added a whole other level of chaos to the house but we really love having the dog and wouldn’t change it. It’s been really hard work but not as bad as I expected. The trickiest part has been the toddler being able to play on the floor with his toys without the puppy running away with them, eating them or jumping too enthusiastically at toddler. We’ve been really strict on training and though the first few months were tricky, he can play 90% of the time normally (she has the odd naughty moment).
She was quick to house train so again, although initially it was hard, once she knew to ask to go out to the toilet, accidents were few and far between.
We love that the puppy makes us get out more. I usually pop toddler in a backpack carrier and take the dog out for a walk after the school run in the morning and then after school we all either go out in the woods/fields and play or we take bikes down the local riverside and kids ride while the dog walks along with me.
If we want to go out for longer than we’re happy to leave the dog (4 hours) we have a casual arrangement with a dog walker who will pop in and spend time with the puppy and play with her.
We have crate trained the puppy and she’s very happy to spend time in her crate even when we’re in the house. She often takes herself in to sleep or relax.
We’re only now working on leaving her unsupervised for short periods outside of the crate with a view to getting rid of it altogether eventually.
I took my daughter along to the training classes with me and found this was good for both her and puppy. We’ve really enjoyed them.
The puppy has added so much to our lives - we’ve just come back from a holiday with her and she was no problem. There were plenty of dog friendly places to eat and we didn’t really find her a tie.
I honestly thought having a puppy would be much harder tha. It has been. Don’t get me wrong, there have been situations that have been trickier but there’s always been a solution or it’s been a passing phase.
But why a cross - if you want a small, non-shedding dog wouldn't it be easier to find a good poodle breeder than find a non puppy farmed cross?
We brought our lab home at 8weeks....he's 19weeks now and he had nearly broke us... we are lucky he does sleep through the night. Our dcs are 10 and 13 no idea how we would have coped with a todlar ddig had nipped all the kids when they haven't had hands flat for traets or he has taken a toy fro them. Me and dh hands and arms have been shredded by puppy teeth. It's only last night dh said that today was the first day he has enjoyed having pup.
He sleeps in a crate at night but will not go in crate AT ALL in the day. So can't really be left atm which we are working on.
Your OH better get used to the paw prints, accidents etc. Training is a nightmare anyway so X3 that with a toddler in the mix.
I was anxious to get it right too..which only makes things even harder when it doesn't all go to plan!
I really wouldn't.
Thanks for the replies, one positive story and a couple of negatives as I expected really. Common sense says wait another year or more.... however I do think it will benefit my oldest greatly and he's been really struggling this year. Argh don't want to make a mistake buying one and then feeling out of my depth with it all!
I’ve got a puppy and 3 kids, but my youngest is 8. It has been tough but bearable because when the kids have been at school/their dads I can focus on the puppy. When the kids are around there’s a whole other layer of stress because you have to look after the kids and how they are interacting with the puppy, and vice versa. If I go to the loo no doubt I’ll here “muuuuuuum!!” and there will be some child/puppy situation going on, mainly the puppy getting places he shouldn’t because someone has left the gate open, or left down a toy/game console. I think if I had an 18 month old as well I’d have lost my marbles. You wouldn’t be able to go to toddler groups for a while or anywhere else, that you usually go with toddlers such as the play park or soft play until you manage to get the dog to be happy spending time on his own. As there are no guarantees to how long this could take it could be incredibly isolating for you.
We also have a poodle/lab cross. We were happy with a cross because both lab and poodle were breeds we’d have been happy with on their own. Although our puppy’s dad was a miniature poodle I think he’s going to be huge (his mum was lab/standard poodle). He’s only 14 weeks and much bigger than his 2 year old cocker spaniel friend! Our puppy doesn’t shed much (still sheds) but I know that some of his siblings have been shedding a fair bit. With crosses there are no guarantees.
How is your OH with the idea of a dog? If he’s supportive and maybe around sometimes in the day it could be do-able, but if you are going to be left to do everything by yourself it would be hard. Very hard! Might be easier when your 18 month old is in nursery.
It's madness if you ask me. Puppies and autism and anxiety don't make good bedfellows. My son and daughter with autism hid in their rooms when our dog was a puppy because he was unpredictable, noisy, he nipped, hung off their clothes, destroyed anything they left lying about (thankfully he was clean in the house within a week or dd might have left home) Add a toddler into the mix and it will be hell on earth for a year at least.
Far better to wait a while until your toddler is older and your eldest has coped with the transition to high school which will be another trauma and they will need calm at home to recover from school then too.
But on the positive side, our dog is mainly for my middle son, who has a lifelong health condition (there is the possibility puppy might be trained as an assistance dog at some point). The kids don’t know the dog is mainly for him, but the two of them have really bonded, and it has been great for my son psychologically. His condition causes a lot of stress but it’s been great to focus on something other than his condition, and also the dog doing crazy things or even just being a dog lightens the general mood a lot. So a dog might be a great thing for your family- it just sounds like very hard work just now.
I’m really surprised at all of the negative stories. Maybe I’ve been really lucky. There’s only been one instance when toddler has been badly nipped by puppy, I’ve still been able to go to toddler groups etc, puppy has slept through the night from end of week 1...
Doodle dogs are not as common as therapy dogs as you might think, not like full breed labs and retrievers
I know a large number of them and they are v stubborn to train. They are well known for it. I'd reconsider getting a health tested pedigree unless u are v experienced at training dogs
We were happy with a cross because both lab and poodle were breeds we’d have been happy with on their own.
This is really important. Genetics mean that any cross can be anything up to 100% of either breed. e.g. a cocker/poodle cross can end up being almost all cocker or almost all poodle and there isn't really a way of telling which you will get unless you choose one that has been bred from several generations of cross to stabilise the traits.
If you want a poodle/lab cross then be as prepared for it to have:
- all the shedding and size of a lab
- all the sensitivity and clingy-ness of a poodle
which is just as likely as it having:
- the shedding and size of a poodle
- the laid back nature of a lab
@Jaz32 the puppy years are so tough - I speak from experience, the memories of which have recently been refreshed by being drafted in to help a friend who recently got a pup. It is ridiculously hard work. Toilet every hour, spewing and pooing in the car, regular emergency vet visits due to inexplicable and sudden illness, clingyness (they're only babies and need a lot of attention) . . . it's very tough. Worth it after 2-3 years though because if you put in the effort to train, socialise etc. you'll have a calm, good-natured, obedient pet that is absolutely part of the family.
I adore dogs, but I wouldn't get another. Could you borrow a dog for a few days, see how you get on?
I'd look at borrow my doggy for your eldest. At least for a few years until your youngest is older.
@fleshmarketplace I'm not worried about my oldest with autism around the dog, he literally loves all dogs, spends hours with my parents' dogs and the neighbours' dogs and is always attaching himself to the local dogwalker and her gang in the park! I think the dog would become his new best friend.
Thanks for the other replies, yes I'd be happy with a lab, golden retriever or poodle, I also have a soft spot for my neighbours' cavalier King Charles spaniels so would consider them too. Ideally I'd have liked to get a dog a couple of years old but most rescues I've looked at won't allow homes with children under 8.
I hadn't thought about things like toddler groups so that is something to think about too, not that we go to many at mo. Also parks of course dogs can't go in the swing bit so that's another consideration if I was to go on my own with toddler and dog. Good points. Thank you.
I wouldn’t get a cavalier, they have far too many health problems
Have you considered why rescues don’t re home to families with very young children?
@costacoffeeplease yes I understand why but also lots of families with young children have dogs too and they grow up with them as part of the family. The only thing with taking on an older dog of course being you may never fully know it's history whereas a puppy you have it from day one.
I think there is a huge difference between choosing to spend time with other people's dogs and having a nippy, destructive, unpredictable puppy in the place you live tbh. Dd was much the same adored dogs, happy to be surrounded by family dogs and loved them all but the reality on her was tough. Puppies don't always play nicely, puppies don't always want cuddling when you want to, puppies don't know that something you left unattended for one minute is a treasured possession, puppies take months and months before you can go on nice civilised walks and adolescent dogs are even worse to be frank like puppies on steroids with brains.
There is a reason that our second dog Bella is a nine year old rescue and that is Eric who we had from a puppy who is lovely now but memories of him as a pup make us all shudder .
Just because ‘lots of people do it’ doesn’t make it right. Small children and dogs, especially puppies, are a recipe for disaster - just look at how many puppy regret threads there are on here, it’s heartbreaking to see
we got a puppy when youngest d was 2 , we got a cavalier king charles spaniel as :
1. they are docile
2. they are easy to train
3. i never wanted dog to get bigger than toddler and knocj her over in exuberance and frighten her
4. they dont need too much exercise - they are very lazy !
5. they are number one breed for families
6. they are small enough to have a large cat flap out to garden so we can leave them for the day and not worry about accidents
ddog number one was all of those things and is still referred to as the most angelic dog ever to have lived..he is long gone to doggy heaven now, since we have stuck to cavs...and now on mark 4 and 5 and mostly they have all been excellent pets, though mark 2 was more lively and very chewy !
go for a cavalier or a small poodle
and dont be put off by negative posts, having a pet is excellent for a family in so many ways.
Mark 2 though hardest of all helped my dsd through severe anorexia ..he was amazing, knew when she was ill, sat with her, licked away all our tears, cuddled up to her when she was freezing cold, slept on her bed and even seemed to get distressed when she was secretly exercising at night which woke us up so we could help calm her....for a child or adolescent with a mental health or some form of disability ( sorry did not want to label autism as a mental health problem ..not sure what you woudl call it ?) a dog can be a great great comfort.
Should perhaps add that dd our youngest was eleven when we got Eric and it was still a nightmare. I think it was about twelve months before I stopped asking myself what on earth I had got a dog for. Yes he is lovely now but it was twelve months of hard graft to make him bearable tbh.