Kids & dogs-growing up together
So you are having or just had a baby? Great! Congratulations!
You think it's a good time to get a puppy, so they can grow up together?
You have a 2,3,4,5 year old child? How nice!
You want him/her to grow up with dogs and not be afraid of them
Thinking about getting a puppy as a gift for your child, because
he/she REALLY wants one this year? There is the cutest puppy at the pet store/breeder/online.
OKAY, lets talk about this for a minute. I grew up with dogs. I can't remember a time during my childhood that we didn't have at least one dog, sometimes two. I grew up in a very pet friendly household and the love of animals was certainly genetic. My older sister is an animal control officer, my younger brother owned a pet store and I have had a long career in veterinary hospital management and am now a certified obedience instructor. I understand why you might want to add a dog to your family. Growng up with animals can be a wonderful experience!
Now lets delve into the reality of dog ownership and all the reasons why you think a dog is a good idea at this moment in your life.
Having or just had a baby:
Hold onto your hormones!! Babies fill our hearts up to overflow of love and affection. We females feel like we need to nurture every thing, especially when we are pregnant,nursing or postpartum.
The reality is that a new infant and a new puppy are just a ton of work and responsibility.
Unless you are super woman, changing diapers and housebreaking a puppy at the same time is nearly impossible. So, who is going to miss out- Baby or the pup?
Your options are to send the puppy off to training school, which can be very expensive and puppy gets trained without you, making upkeep of the skills learned even harder for you to maintain once the pup comes home.
Keep the dog in the yard or a crate, so you don't have to deal with it? Have you met an unsocialized/untrained dog? What happens when the baby is big enough to use the yard that the dog thinks is it's territory.
Your child is afraid of dogs and you want him/her to learn to love dogs:
Forcing a child to experience a nipping, active puppy 24 hrs a day, might make them tolerate dogs, but probably wont make them love dogs. Your job of caring for the pup and keeping your child safe, calm (and not screaming )every time the pup jumps up on them, at the same time, means double duty as a parent.
That puppy is just too cute, looks abused, is on sale, the breeder is offering a 2 for 1 discount etc:
Dogs are a lot of work! Puppies even more. No matter what the situation if you have children and want to get a dog.
Do you have time to train a dog? It takes several minutes, multiple times a day, for many months,to really work with your dog, create a bond and see results-Do you have the time for that?
Dogs are expensive!
Do you have some extra savings sitting around to provide medical care, puppy shots, spay/neuter with a bit left over for emergencies & sick visits? Can you afford the time and expense for training lessons with a certified trainer that uses positive methods?
Your child has been begging for a dog all year:
Depending on the age and maturity level of your child, do you really think he/she will be 100% responsible for the dog?
Do you have a back up plan for when the novelty wears off?
Who will feed, exercise and groom the dog? What if your dog gets sick? Your child may not be able to recognize a serious problem, will they tell you if the dog swallowed something bad? Will they notice if the dog has diarrhea? Is your child responsible enough to keep the gate latched? Strong enough to manage the puppy on a leash?
Dogs are a huge commitment that last for 15 plus years!
Do you really have the time, energy and dedication it takes to add a dog to your family?