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What's it like being a Newbie Dog/Puppy owner?(7 Posts)
After Christmas I won't be working outside the house and we have often thought that we would like a dog.
We've only ever had cats and recognise that dog owning is completely different but that, ultimately you get a lot more back from a dog.
The DCs are 11 and 13 and would love to have a dog.
Love the idea of a golden retriever or Labrador puppy.
I have had goldens for years-
They (and labs) are very social dogs who don't like being on their own much.
They need a fair amount of exercise, they shed for England and both breeds love water
But- they are fantastic companions, love their families- I wouldn't have a different breed.
You do have to train them- they are big dogs so you can't let them pull on the lead, jump up, steal food or run off. Look for a good dog class and start early - they are very food oriented which makes training easier.
Finally- a puppy (of any breed) is hard work - they don't sleep all night, they are like an over active incontinent toddler, who can run faster than you can- with teeth that can destroy your best shoes in seconds!
As puppies/teenagers they are really hard work. You have to get up with them in the night, take them out regularly for the toilet and clean up their accidents. They can't be left alone for long so you need to either have someone sit with them or take them with you, which isn't always possible.
Labs and retrievers are both pretty big, strong breed and while both can be exceptionally obedient if well-trained, they are also greedy and excitable as puppies and will pull, jump and mouth a fair bit, which can be overwhelming for an adult, let alone for a small child. We have a beagle (so only 17kg full grown) and when he first met my 9yo niece he was really excitable and she was scared - not because he was aggressive but because of how bouncy and nippy he was. Be prepared to have your things chewed, for you to be nipped at/scratched, and for you to be exhausted for a good few weeks!
However all that said, if you put the work in, they are incredibly rewarding. Mine is coming upto two years old and is my best friend. He's obedient, cuddly, makes me laugh and cheers me up no matter what. Put the effort it when they're young and you'll be rewarded ten fold. I'll never not have a dog now.
The only thing I'd add is that the hours and hours put into daily training during the first few years is absolutely worthwhile. Nail heel, recall, stay and the distance stop and you will have a dog you can take anywhere.
We were the same as you, no puppy experience, and our spaniel is now 5 months old.
To be honest, you know how you’ve no idea of how having a baby changes your whole life? Well I found getting a puppy the same kind of feeling.
We got ours at 8 weeks and it’s completely all-consuming obsessing about when she last had a wee, waiting for ages outside for her to have one, worrying we weren’t doing enough to socialise her etc etc.
Being confined to the kitchen (our pup peed the minute her feet touched carpet) was hard, longing to just have a relaxing evening in front of the TV etc.
We also got a pup who hates being by herself. We had 6 weeks at home with her and are still having to pay for daycare every day (which she loves).
On a positive though, I had no idea how much we’d all love her. The kids play with her (mine are 11 and 13 like yours). They spend loads less time on screens and loads more outside playing with the puppy.
Training her is great fun. Walking her is great.
Five months on the work isn’t over yet but she’s 100%easier than she was and she’s just gorgeous.
We got out first rescue dog 2 years ago. I thought I had done lots of research but I have learned so much since having her.
Owning a dog is much more expensive than I calculated.
Although she came from a loving home it took about 6 months for her to settle and be confident in us.
She was 8 when she came, so despite having a behaviourist, some bad habits still persist.
She has brought me so much joy and the best thing I have ever done,
She likes lots of different beds around the house so that she can take herself off. Her biggest comfort is chew toys. I have to buy really strong ones as she can chew through anything.