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Puppy and a baby?(25 Posts)
Re-posting this here as was advised it was busier and would get more replies, so here goes...
Hi everyone, new to posting on here although I have read many threads already so I know I am touching on an “already covered” subject!!
I would love to hear views from both sides, is this really such a crazy thing to consider? So a little about us, I have a 7 year so he’s at school. I also have a 5 month old and yes we are considering bringing a puppy into our household. Specifically a Labrador!
I have done what feels like endless research into this although I fully appreciate you never do quite know what it’s like until you’re in the thick of it, up to your ears in poo / wee / chewing and so on, but I still find myself wanting to do it. I realise it will be hard work!
My parents have had dogs over the years and I have played a role in helping (although again I appreciate helping and being ultimately responsible are totally different).
I have researched the breed and the initial stages. we would crate train from day one. Hubby would take 2 weeks off work when we bring pup home. He is also in a position (once pup is ready) to take him/her into work, not everyday but certainly a couple of days a week.
We will book into puppy training classes and have already looked into this. I fully appreciate the first few months will be mayhem but is it still advisable to wait?
Time wise I feel is never going to be perfect but as my little one is not yet on the move I feel we could get the initial toilet training under control first? Also by the time she is walking I would hope the puppy will be starting to settle so not so bouncy?
Would love to hear both sides, has anyone managed it?
Thanks in advance x
I don't have children but some things to think about based on what my puppy was like.
After the two weeks how will you manage toilet training when your DH goes back to work. Lots of puppies take weeks to fully toilet train (don't believe the articles saying you can do it in a week because threads on here will show you that doesn't happen for lots of us). How will you manage keeping an eye on your puppy and taking it out after every meal/drink/play and sleep when you are looking after your younger one.
How will you manage if the puppy cries lots in the night and you also have to get up to take it out to toilet.
Yes you will get the poster who says their puppy never needed nightly pees and was a dream dog but for lots of us the reality was different.
How will you manage the jumping and biting (mouthing stage) around your children. From the threads on here that seems to be a BIG issue for some people (often causing them to rehome). A lab is a big dog and they are 'fully grown' in size but still be a bouncy puppy.
How will you manage training. This is beneficial to continue past the puppy classes. I was advised to do obedience training for the first year at least. Will this fit into your household schedule not just for 6 weeks puppy lessons.
Have you looked at beyond puppyhood e.g. adolescence is a really testing time for dogs. They 'forget' all their training so you can spend months reinforcing a stubborn deaf teenage dog who also forgets recall etc. For a lab I think this time can last up to 18months to 2 years of age.
My biggest problem with having a dog and young children has been walking it when it's cold and miserable and dh isn't home, meshing I have to tog up the dc and get out. At the minute you have a baby so can pop them in a pram but my 3yo would never have gone in a buggy but couldn't walk far enough to exercise a dog. Also in an evening once the dc are in bed I can't leave to walk the dog if dh is away, or late back or out for the evening.
What about if it cries or barks and wakes baby from its nap/ at nighttime ?
I found having a pup is like having a newborn for the first few weeks, they cry at night and need to be let out to toilet every few hours.
Who will look after the dog if you want to go out as a family for the day?
Labradors are powerful dogs who can be strong on the lead and need a decent amount of exercise and mental stimulation otherwise they become naughty. Personally I would wait until your baby is older before adding a dog.
Please, please reconsider.
Labradors stay in the puppy stage for a good 2-3 years. They are also very mouthy dogs and, like all pups, will bite and nip while they're teething and learning bite inhibition. Razor puppy teeth are painful and unpleasant for adults, let alone small children.
Then, you move on to life with a puppy. The bite, have accidents all over the floor, chew, eat things they shouldn't, get into all kinds of mischief if not supervised, can't be left for longer than about half an hour at first, can't go out much at all for the first month - how are you going to cope with that and a newborn? Mine also didn't sleep through the night without needing the toilet until he was 5/6 months old. Are you happy to get up through the night with a puppy as well as with a newborn?
How are you going to keep the puppy and your baby safe? What if both have accidents at the same time? What happens when the baby becomes a toddler and is crawling? You'll need to supervise them constantly and if not, take one or the other with you whenever you leave the room, even if it's just for a second.
Labradors need a lot of exercise - at least two good walks a day when they're fully grown. Are you happy to take a toddler out for 2+ hours a day in all weathers? When you're ill or they're ill or both? When it's filthy and pissing rain and your stuff is still wet from the first walk and you have to go out again else the puppy will eat your house out of boredom.
I also very much doubt your husband will cope at work with a young dog - we had the same idea with ours and it lasted two days! He now goes to doggy daycare on the days we both work. Puppies are incredibly needy and need a lot of input. How is your husband going to work, entertain a puppy, let it out for the toilet (because small pups can't wait - when they need to go, they go), take it for walks etc? It could work for a calm, older dog but not for a small pup. A friend of mine takes their Labrador to work - the dog is five and it only works because it's an outdoor shop and all the workers there are dog-friendly and will take the dog out for regular walks and runs throughout the day. The dog certainly wouldn't cope otherwise.
Please have a good long think about this. So many young dogs end up in rescue because people get them at the wrong stage in their lives and can't cope. The dog then gets given up on and ends up in rescue because people realise that young dogs require a LOT of work and can't juggle their needs along with the needs of a toddler.
Please, please don't. If you've been considering it for a long time, then what is the rush now?
It is hard work. Dogs and toddlers together are hard work. I would wait until children are at school personally.
How would you feel if the baby crawled through dog shit?
How would you feel if the puppy nipped him with sharp little teeth?
How will you feel rushing back from play because the puppy needs you at home?
Don’t do it.
Borrow a dog for a week.
I've got a 6 month old sprocker puppy, and 4 grandchildren who are regular visitors to the house.
6 and 4 year olds love her and are amazing. 2 year old is very wary as puppy has cannoned into her a few times and knocked her over. Baby is terrified.
You're mad, frankly, and it's not fair on puppy or your DC. I was exhausted for the first 8 weeks we had her, she needed taking outside to toilet every 45/60 minutes and I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees cleaning the floor with disenfectant. She's only just reliable day and night now, at around 28 weeks. And has boundless energy, chews everything in sight and her nickname is Hooligan.....
This is definitely a 'hope for the best but prepare for the worst' type situation. It would be a huge risk to take on a puppy if success was reliant on said puppy being super easy right through puppyhood and adolescence.
I would suggest joining the FB group Dog Training Advice and Support and having a look at the collection of guides and articles called 'Congratulations on Your New Puppy'. It covers pretty much all the necessary basics for successfully raising a puppy and you can decide how realistic it is to be doing all that alongside a baby.
It's also worth finding the various puppy support threads there have been in the Doghouse over the past few years for a good insight into puppy ownership. There's an early one here and a more recent one here, plus there have been lots in between as well.
Some people do successfully manage both a puppy and a baby or very small children at the same time but equally it's not unusual for young dogs to end up in rescues because it turns out their new owners just couldn't cope with the demands of both.
I haven't read the whole thread so sorry if this repeats.
I've had a Labrador....I don't have any children. I now have a smaller (think cockerpoo size) dog. Both dogs were perfectly behaved and very very gentle.
The children in my extended family loved both dogs....but with the second dog they are so much less fearful and happier with her altogether.
The Labrador was the prefect size to accidentally knock over toddlers, and their large months are right at eye level with toddlers.
Labradors can be very bouncy (mine wasn't) and obsessed with food.....could easily lead to a child being accidentally eaten when the dog almost inevitably steals food from the children's/baby's hands at some point.
Walking a larger dog is a pain....when I go to the park with child, the dog has to be tied up by the gate (which they hate). I would struggle to walk a dog properly with a toddler (fine while you have a pushchair)
I personally would wait until the children are both in school to get a dog (assuming you don't go back to work then)
Yes to the puppy biting....I hated trying to cuddle my Labrador puppy, he just wanted to mouth (bite) me the whole time. I would not have let him near children until this stage wore off (sorry I can't remember how long it was, but probably a couple of months)
Our pup cried first few weeks through the night and still now occasionally and he's nearly 1. He is loud enough to wake the house.
What about family days out and taking a toddler to playgroup? You will need to be back and it is a tie.
What about the walks and exercise/stimulation juggled with baby/toddler needs. I also wouldn't fancy pushing a pram and handling a pulling pup in unison.
Bouncy pup will not understand the rattling toys/ baby's 'things' are not for them and may go for them or potentially become withdrawn at being put in crate or somewhere else.
We were lucky but some pups take a long time and lots of dedication to be fully toilet trained. Your priorities really will be with baby. Will you have the time and energy to put in the hard work?
Another memory... the Labrador was a struggle to train to walk to heel...we got there....but it took a lot of patience and consistent training....after that he was great and we could trust him not to pull, but don't think it didn't take a lot of hard work to get there.
I waited until my dc were 7 and 11 before getting a puppy, similar breed to the one you are considering
Other people might have managed fine but I found a puppy very very hard work and with a younger child (let alone a baby) I think I wouldn’t have been able to cope. I had grown up in a doggy owning family and thought I knew what I was letting myself in for, but I really didn’t.
Wait until both dc are at school would be my advice
Yabu, as the owner of a rescue dog on it's fourth owner by time we got it and poor thing had more baggage than Heathrow Airport. We were told two of the previous owners brought her back as they had toddlers in one case and a new baby in another and just couldn't cope with her jumping up, scratching, mouthing/biting etc. She is not aggressive at all was just vyeing for attention. She's lovely and definitely here to stay.
Thank you all for taking the time to reply. I REALLY do appreciate it. I am actually reconsidering now.
My children (especially littlest one at the moment) have to come first and you’re right, I doubt I can do right by toddler and puppy. It just wouldn’t be fair on them, especially pooch who just wouldn’t understand.
Sad times but I think it’s decision made
Meant to say we were fourth owners and she was only ten months old.
If you wait until the youngest is 4/5, everyone will enjoy it much more. Your children will be more independent and better able to understand how to behave around the dog - the older one will be capable of watching the youngest (or walking the dog) so you can get more done without needing to supervise what's essentially two babies all the time.
The dog will also have a decent amount of time spent on it, and that's vital when it comes to training and having a contented dog.
I have wanted a puppy for a long time. We're only now going ahead as my youngest son gets ready to start school this September for all the reasons people above have mentioned.
It's going to be hard enough without the added concern of protecting a small baby from an over exuberant pup.
I would say wait a few years as well.
Labradors are fantastic family dogs but very bouncy when young and need a lot of time training otherwise you'll have a strong dog that isn't trained and will be difficult to walk with a pram and kids.
I have a 10 month old baby and a 7 year old Labrador who I have had from a pup she is very well trained and it has been hard trying to give her the attention she needs as well as take care of my baby. Thankfully she's been brilliant but definitely hard work with them both!
I raised a Guide Dog puppy for its first year.
This is my forearm three years on.
It was like being a single parent. She mouthed me for the first few months. My arms were covered in Elastoplast, the bites bled like hell.
I loved her but she was hard work. And she pulled on the lead. When I took her on a training walk there was no chance of me even doing any shopping, never mind coping with a buggy at the same time.
You could apply to rehome a retired Guide Dog, that’s what I did when my pup went off to Big School. I got a soft, sweet retired black Lab.
Also adding to what has already been said above.. Its not just YOUR baby/toddler you have to consider... What will you do when you want to have playdates/coffee mornings with other mums who ARENT as happy to risk their toddler near a mouthy pup, or who haven't been taught how to behave around young bouncy dogs?
I say that as a mother of two boys (aged 7 and 8) and two miniature dachshunds (aged 18months). My kids miss out on a lot of after school play dates with friends coming to the house as some are allergic/scared/just unable to follow my clear instructions not to disturb sleeping dogs or try to pick them up....
I am 100% confident my dogs would never hurt a child, but only if they behave appropriately around them (which I have gone to great lengths to do with my own children). I would never feel totally confident turning my back for a second with someone else's child in the house, and I'm not able to shut dogs away in a separate non-accessible room due to nature of the house. Obviously we compromise by going to visit friends rather than have them to our house, but in the first year of puppyhood you won't necessarily be able to leave them that long so you are very much tied to your own house.
Toddlers and babies are hard enough work and can leave you sick of the sight of your own four walls as it is, so maybe compromising your ability to socialise or get out to see people might not be great? If you're not a big one for socialising, it might not matter... But it's worth considering cos it's certainly not something I factored in when we made the decision to have kids and young dogs together
It IS sad. Sometimes when you are the parent you have to give up things that sound SO lovely, but you have a lovely stage to go through of giggling toddlers and happy times. Enjoy the bit you’re in, puppy time will come.
Perhaps consider an australian labradoodle? These are the easiest family dog. Very good with children, so smart and easy to train. She slept all night in her crate from day one, never cried in her crate ever. But I appreciate that we probably got an angel for a dog. However, every person I know that has the same breed is absolutely in love and no complaints. In fact, we got our dog after randomly meeting two different dog owners who had the breed (a year apart) and both RAVED about their dog. And now I have one I can not say enough good things. I know two other dog owners I met that also got one around the same time that live in my area and they absolutely love theirs. The only thing is, the puppy stage they can nip at your feet etc and they have sharp teeth. That lasts a couple months so wear jeans! But I think most dogs go through this phase.
For play dates, you can always put the dog in a crate, that is what I do and the kids never approach the dog. But I only do this with two kids that come over who are afraid of all dogs. When others come over, I let her out, as the dog is always around me anyways so I don't have to worry about the kids annoying her (not that she would get annoyed easily anyway). Dogs need a good play outside every day though so they are tired out and happy.
A labradoodle isn’t a breed, it’s a cross.