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Old 08-17-2017, 09:46 PM   #1
KSL
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Default Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

We just recently moved from a condo to a house, which has a (small) fenced in back yard and a lot more space than our condo.
DH and I are thinking we'd like to get a dog. (I had a dog before l married DH, a border collie/lab mix I adopted when he was a year old-- he was a great dog but was several years old by the time we had DS, and he was not adjusting well to having a baby in his space so we re-homed him to dear friends where he had an awesome life. We also always had a family dog growing up.)

Anyways, we want to get a dog for a few reasons:
1) DH wants a dog who will bark/alert us if people are at the door or outside house. I would also feel better having a dog here as well when I am home on my own with kids. I don't mean like a vicious watch dog- I just mean a dog that will bark and alert me if someone was ever coming into home or was at front door.
2) I think DS is ready for some more responsibility and would really enjoy having a dog to play with. I know we (DH and I) will be doing the vast majority of the work with the dog, but I think DS could handle feeding/providing water and he loves to go on walks with my dad's golden retriever so I think the walks would be a nice family thing to do together (plus I have fenced in backyard so we can easily let dog out between walks).

So the most important qualities for us in a dog are:
1) good with kids
2) large enough so that the bark would deter unwanted guests/act as protection

Ok. So here's my question. Given the above, and the fact that we want to adopt a puppy (I really want a puppy no matter what the breed, so that it is used to DD especially and we can train it to be tolerant of kids from the beginning), what breed would you get?

I am seeing lots of Labrador Retrievers and Boxer puppies in my area on PetFinder, and actually some Lab/boxer mixes, and those breeds are appealing to me. Any others I should consider?
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

My first response would be NOOOOOO. If you must get a dog, get an adult dog. A puppy is like having another toddler except one that doesn't wear diapers. But if you MUST get a puppy...

I'd do some research on different breed temperaments and figure out what you want from there. I'm no expert, but I know labs and boxers are great dogs but SUPER high energy.

We have a 4 month old standard poodle and we are crazy about her. She's an annoying puppy, but super smart and not as high energy as some breeds.
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Old 08-18-2017, 07:20 AM   #3
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

You need to find someone who will take time matching YOU and the RIGHT puppy - no matter what breed. Every litter has it's spectrum of personalities. Breed is a starting place, but dogs are individuals.

Case in point, we now have four kittens from a litter that was born under my brother's back porch. One is very people oriented. VERY. The others are people friendly but not quite so needy. One prefers to find my oldest and hang near her while she reads. The first one would be good for a little kid who wants a kitten who 'loves' them and the other is for someone who knows that we just co-exist with cats more often than not.

Yes, you can do this, BUT you better be prepared for MONTHS of work and committment. We brought home a 6 month old German Shepard when dd2 was a toddler BUT we had dogs all our lives and already had dogs in the home - so we knew what we were doing and the kids understood dogs.

Cardinal rule in our house: I will never allow the dog to bite the people and I will never allow the people to mistreat the dog. Same goes with animals to each other. I have to make sure the kittens don't run the big dogs off these days I don't buy the 'the dog has to be prepared to have the toddler poke him in the eye and just lay there'. The dog has a right to protect itself and your job is to remove any NEED for them to do so. I have photos of all my kids climbing on or over my labs, shepards, etc, but I was always right there to make sure the dog really was alright with it.
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Old 08-18-2017, 10:23 AM   #4
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

After my first and only experience with a puppy, having a toddler and a puppy at the same time is not something I would willingly engage in. I would also consider realistically your time commitment, and how much land you have, if considering a high energy breed like a lab or boxer. I majorly under estimated when choosing our pup and its tricky sometimes. If your 8 you would want to be able to walk the dog, a larger dog would need to be meticulously leash trained, which can be very dependant on the temperament of the dog.

I'm not trying to put you off, just things I wish I had thought about more when we got our dog.
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Old 08-18-2017, 01:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

I had a puppy and a toddler. It was fine. Puppies are a lot of work but if you can be home a lot so you can be consistent, it's worth it to have a dog that loves little kids.

We have a German Shepherd. He's gentle as a lamb with our kids (and any kids that come over) and scares the poop out of strangers. He also loves to play with the kids. He never lets then go outside without him. Training him was a piece of cake. He leaned words and commands almost instantly.

We also have a lab mix. She's very good with kids, she could be a therapy dog if she wasn't so stubborn. She likes to get really dirty. She doesn't come when she's called despite really good training. She's very sweet. But she doesn't play.
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Old 08-18-2017, 02:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

Our husky is about 13 years old and she LOVES all of my kids and is generally well behaved. I have no experience with boxers or labs, so I couldn't tell you anything about those breeds.

Do keep in mind that having a puppy is just like adding another kid into the mix, so it's a lot of work (adult dogs are work too, just in different ways). But I do believe that it is good for kids to have some kind of pet while they grow up.
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Old 08-18-2017, 02:51 PM   #7
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

Thanks so much for all the tips/experience/food for thought. It's really helpful and I appreciate it.

A few things-- we've mostly had large dogs in my family (labs, boxers, and golden retrievers- the one medium size dog we had was an English bulldog and I loved her but would not want another one). DH and I both work from home, backyard is definitely big enough for games of fetch to let dog run off some energy, and I run a few miles (well, did consistently before DD came and trying to start again) 3-4 times a week, and would like o bring dog with me so I think we can handle the exercise for a larger breed between that and family walks.

I do appreciate reminders that puppies are lots of work. I just feel strongly that I want to start with a puppy so I can train it, and my office set up at home is that I work on the back porch or the adjoining deck- so for the next few months before it's cold, I can be outside or in back porch with puppy most of the day while we work on potty training and also between DH and I we can give lots of affection and attention during the day (DH and I both work from home). I also have no carpet in new house (all hardwood or tile) so I feel good about inevitable accidents during potty training. Also, not for excessive use, but as a safe place for puppy and for sleeping, we'll use a crate.

I hadn't considered a husky but I actual see lab husky puppies at a local shelter too- I will add that to my list of potential breeds as well!

Any tips when picking a puppy about how to pick for temperament? DD and DS will be with me when we pick. Would it make sense to go to larger adoption center and request that someone knowledgeable help me pick a puppy that would be good with children?

I feel pretty strongly commmited to adopting through a shelter or rescue ...do you all think however I would have better luck getting help picking a dog with the right temperament for our family through a breeder, or do you think a rescue/shelter can help with this? We live in a huge metropolitan area and I've seen some rescues that look really well organized and have a lot of puppies. I'm wondering if a larger place will have more knowledgeable staff? The place I want to visit requires you to bring all kids under age 5 to meet the dog before you can adopt, which makes me think they observe the interaction between them?
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Old 08-18-2017, 03:58 PM   #8
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

Your work set up is ideal! Choosing a larger breed was a must for us. Little dogs can snap out of self protection. Call the shelter ahead of time and just explain your family dynamic and ask if they have puppy evaluators to help you find a good fit. Many do....they don't want them coming back later.
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Old 08-18-2017, 04:44 PM   #9
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

Shelter sites let you search by breed, now. You enter the radius you're willing to drive and see what's available.

Our breeder helped us choose a family dog from the litter so I don't know how to do that. But I bet there's articles on it.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

Well, I spoke to my sister and she reminded me that one of my best friend's mom's is actively involved in the shelter in my hometown (small town in Northern Wisconsin)and she fosters puppies. She's a dog lover and expert and my sister said she'll talk to her (she thinks she's fostering a lab puppy right now). I trust this woman and know she would only recommend a dog that would be a good fit for my family. So I think I might just ask her to be on the lookout for me.
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Old 08-18-2017, 06:55 PM   #11
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

Quote:
Originally Posted by CelticJourney View Post
You need to find someone who will take time matching YOU and the RIGHT puppy - no matter what breed. Every litter has it's spectrum of personalities. Breed is a starting place, but dogs are individuals.
This!

Our local humane society offers such a program. It's amazing!
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

Just picked up DS from a play date at a school friend's house, and the mom's best friend was there and we were talking about dogs (that family has 3) and adopting a puppy and the friend actually works at an animal shelter near here and knows the "dog matcher" there very well- she said she'll set up an appointment for us with her and that she's awesome and really knows what she's doing. She said the will observe us with puppy and that if they don't think it's a good match they won't let people leave with the dog. They take it very seriously. So I think that's another great lead! I feel so much better having someone recommended to me. I'll keep you posted and share a picture when we find our new puppy.
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Old 08-19-2017, 08:19 PM   #13
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

That's great!

My SIL bought a little resort in Glidden, WI. When we lived in WI we always went to Fence Lake which is just west of Minocqua.

I like hearing about northern WI. Many happy memories up there.
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Old 08-19-2017, 10:09 PM   #14
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

My hometown is 20 minutes away from Minocqua. I love the Northwoods and it was such a wonderful amazing place to grow up-- so many outdoor sports in every season, summers in the lake, and I spent so many hours hidden up in trees I climbed reading books. We spent SO MUCH time outside. My sister and her husband and 4 kids live there still and so does my dad, and DS absolutely loves going there and asked me if next summer he could spend a whole month there
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Old 08-25-2017, 05:18 AM   #15
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Default Re: Adopting a puppy with a toddler and almost 8 year old

I have actually had much better experiences adopting puppies than adult dogs. Yes puppies are a ton of work but you can shape and train a puppies behavior in a way you just cannot with an adult dog.

One thing I would suggest is to possibly consider a smaller dog. The larger dogs can bowl over small children without meaning to which can make so much chaos!


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---------- Post added at 07:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 07:17 AM ----------

Oh an also most of the time when rescues say lab/boxer mix it's what most people would call a pit bull.


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