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The Practicalities of a Puppy(19 Posts)
I'm thinking about getting a puppy, but, I'm wondering about the praciticalities of it as I'm a single parent to a 6 year old.
I'm a student, so I'll have a big long break from the middle of June to the beginning of October, so can dedicate lots of time to the puppy during those first 4 months after bringing them home.
That said, I would still need to do the school run for the first few weeks (we're virtually next door to the school so it could be done in 5 minutes). And then, in the summer holidays, how soon could we be taking the dog out with us, is that only ok after their 12-week injections? Would we be home-bound for a while?
And then, my son does a few organised activities a week, which means us being out of the house for about 90 minutes 3 times a week, I don't think he'd mind missing a few weeks of those in the early days of getting the puppy, but at what age would it be ok to leave the puppy for that length of time?
Any thoughts would be really helpful. Thanks.
Our Ddog couldn't walk on the pavements until 13 weeks. Before that we took him out and about but had to carry him.
We couldn't leave him at all for the first couple of months, couldn't even go to the loo in peace! Tbh I couldn't really leave him until he was around 6 months old.
The other thing to consider are costs and what will happen when you go to uni.
Girl makes good points; my dog was rehomed from a single mum with primary kids who had a growing number of activities. She just didn’t have the time or income to look after a dog and two young children .
You won’t be housebound, in fact it’s good not to be to socialise your puppy; you just have to carry him everywhere until he’s had those jabs, so breed makes a difference there 😆
Costs can be quite high - food, vets, flea& worm treatments; stuff like bedding, toys etc.
Time for training and exercise ; puppies are hard work - see the puppy support threads on here .
That said, if you are prepared for that, they are just lovely, and a great pal to your 6 year old.
Thanks Girl and Dreamers. Lots to think about and I'm reading everything I can.
The trouble is it depends. Pup 1 couldn’t be left for about a year. She had major separation anxiety. Pup2? Takes herself to bed when she’s tired!!
What about when you return to college? Or get a job?
Could you arrange for another parent to call for you as you leave for school run and then walk together, her keeping an eye on your DS and you carrying the puppy? I couldn’t have left mine for 10 minutes that young but some puppies would have been fine - mine howled when I went for a pee. Then you can build up slowly to more time alone, but mine is now 7 months and wouldn’t manage 90 minutes alone unless I could leave him in the car. Again, other puppies would be fine. So you need a plan b for the activities in case yours is a Velcro dog too. Try dog walking/sitting apps like Pawshake/Borrow my Doggy for such short times.
How would your son react if someone stole his favourite toy and chewed it up? My 5-y-o nephew’s reactions have usually involved trying to grab it back off the puppy and the puppy not reacting well, even though I’ve told my nephew over and over to be gentle and tell me if the puppy has something of his. Plus puppies bite anyway. Get a playpen for puppy to go in and ban your son from climbing in, and crate train so the puppy an get some sleep.
Then what’s your course load like when you go back? Your puppy will be quite a bit older by then but still v bouncy and time-consuming so you won’t get as much studying time as you’re used to. What’s your schedule like when you’re in Uni and can you afford puppy daycare?
Can you afford insurance, food, toys, chew sticks, puppy classes?
Then there’s the sleep deprivation, house training and chewing everything, but if you’ve got a child you probably remember what that’s like! If you get a quiet moment then that’s usually because the puppy is either asleep or has stolen something to chew up, or is ripping up your sofa or something helpful like that! But they are lovely and I wouldn’t be without mine.
Where do I get a Pup2, Wolfiefan?
Thanks Mary for those points. Yes, plenty of friends who could help with the school run so that will be fine one way or another. At the moment, my son's school lets parents that can stay for up 10 minutes at the beginning of the day to help with the morning job. Of course my son is used to me staying so I just wondered whether it would be possible to continue taking him into the class and leave the puppy for 5 minutes or so, but if not possible, then I've friends who would take him into the classroom from the gate if need be. I've done similar for a friend at school pick up time, as it happens.
Problem with the course is we don't know until a week before what our timetables will be like for the next semester, so that's difficult to plan for in advance. But there aren't many contact hours, we only have 8 this semester. But then there'll be a placement as well, just half a day this semester but could be a full day next year. So would use puppy daycare if it's a full day, of course. Semesters are only really 10 weeks long (officially 12 but actually only 10 lectures for most modules), so any costs for daycare or walkers would be affordable because it wouldn't be every week of the year. I plan to work part-time when I graduate so would be home more than not. But it sounds like it would depend entirely on the puppy as to whether that would be too much time for me to be away from it or not...how do you know until you know the puppy?!
Gah, I'm going to be overthinking this one for months.
I think having four months off would be the ideal time to get a puppy, though. You would definitely have got through the worst behaviour and you don’t have to juggle work on top. Most people do have to work around commitments of some sort without the benefit of four months’ head start.
What breed are you thinking? Mine is a spaniel and they are noted for being clingy.
Yes, it does kind of feel like now or never because of that good block of time that I've got off.
I still haven't decided on breed. Personally, I'd have a retired rescue greyhound (lots in the city I live in), as I think their temperament would suit me (short bursts of energy and lots of lounging around). But I don't think they're playful enough for my son to really get the most out of their company. He'd never be able to play catch in the park with it off the lead, for example. Spaniels, I like, but my son is a bit of a springer spaniel himself, and I'm not sure I could cope with two bundles of energy. We also have a small garden, so not the best space for a very active breed. So, really, I guess I'm looking for something in between a greyhound and a springer spaniel? Any ideas?
I was thinking whippet, but my son's vetoed that. He wants a husky or similar (his favourite animals are wolves), but as beautiful as I think they are, I really don't think we could give a husky what it needs! Breeds I like are beagle (but too loud?), labrador, sproodle...I'm quite open really so I have a constantly changing shortlist as I read more and find out more about which breeds might be best for us.
If you like the look of a husky... look at Eurasiers... same wolfy look, a bit smaller and not high maintenance .. I'm a first time owner of one..I went for the breed (which I'd never heard of til I went to Discover Dogs at Crufts) because they are very family orientated, easy to train and not bonkers :D Mine was literally toilet trained in a fortnight and never poo-ed in the house at all, and has been incredibly easy.
Plus, obviously they are the most beautiful dogs on the planet...
(mine at 11 weeks old) and now at 8 months
Oh, s/he's beautiful! Will have a google...
I think having a 4 month break sounds like the right time to get a puppy.
We got a puppy last summer, my words of wisdom are get them used to bring left for short periods from day 1 (crates are useful for this.) Also socialisation is crucial, even when you can't put them down you need to be taking them out every day and exposing them to everything!!
We got a terrier mix as I wanted an active but small dog, he's been brilliant so easy to train, lovely character fab with kids.
You might find your ds struggles with the constant nipping and having all his toys chewed... plus he may feel jealous of the attention you give the puppy.
Yes..meant to add that the 4 month break is perfect. I work school terms and managed to wangle breaking up for the summer a fortnight early (I supply) so had 8 weeks at home with my puppy (a girl btw ) and it made life much easier.. I slept downstairs for the first 10 days to get toilet training right and because she needed me there, and then moved upstairs..she was in the living room (not crated ..she hated it) By the time I was back to work she was settled, the basics were achieved and she adjusted to her daily care ( a combo of doggy baby sitter and my adult son) very easily.
She was super velcro attached to me at first but that has diminished as she has grown in confidence. I think that with a little planning you should be fine to get a puppy.
Haha. Where do you get a pup 2? You find a dedicated breeder who stays with her pups 24/7 when they’re tiny then builds their confidence in loads of different ways.
One issue. If you want a pup you will really struggle to get it at the start of the holidays. Bitches maybe have a couple of litters in their lifetime. Good breeders are hard to find and the likelihood that they would have a pup exactly when you want is slim.
Very true Wolfie. We incredibly lucky to get ours just at the best time for me to be home for the summer... we'd been on a reserve list and our breeder (who was exactly as you describe.. with them 24/7 and did fantastic socialisation) contacted us when she had to refuse a family due to their changing circumstances...
Our retriever would have been fine with all situations outlined in your OP within days of getting her
We got a puppy just before Christmas which was perfect because we were all home. Dh works from home 90% of the time and I work part time. We have 3 children. We started leaving him for short periods about a week after getting him and he's always been absolutely fine. Loves his crate (he gets plenty of treats in there!) and he takes himself off in there for naps. He's a Jack Russell. Very friendly, loves people, playful with other dogs. He does have a lot of energy and can be a nippy little nightmare some days but has been easy to toilet train and learns quickly.
That's good to hear Still, namechanged & Juan. You've put my mind at rest somewhat as I was half expecting it to be a blanket 'No, it'll never work...'.
Good point Wolfie, hadn't really thought of that possibility!
Thanks for the tips Girlie. I've realised I'm going to have to keep the house much tidier to make sure nothing's left lying around for puppy to chew!