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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When is a good time to get a dog if you have young children? How old should the children be?<br><br>
We have a 17 month old son, and we don't know if we will be having another child (we are leaving that up to divine providence, I'm already 41 so who knows if I'll get pregnant again).<br><br>
We live in the city. We will be buying a house or flat with a yard before we get a dog, but we are also close to two different parks with great off-leash dog areas, where there is plenty of room to run, and nice friendly local dogs. We go to these parks at least twice a day already with DS. He loves the dogs he meets at the park, and we are working on teaching him not to run towards them waving his arms and screaming with toddleresque glee <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
My DH loves dogs and wants a dog and is very responsible about caring for animals, but has never had a dog before. So he really leaves all the decisions up to me.<br><br>
I would prefer to adopt a young adult dog, preferably one that already had experience with young children. I would rather avoid puppyhood, and I would prefer to get a dog that is more of a known quantity.<br><br>
We are not in a hurry at all about getting a dog. We could wait for years and years if that's really the most prudent thing to do.<br><br>
On the other hand I remember how much I loved growing up with dogs as a child. I lived part of the year with my grandparents who raised (at different times) GSDs, labs, and standard dachshunds.<br><br>
I should add that my grandparents were backyard breeders. Their dachshunds had back problems, and their GSDs were aggressive and had bad hips and one of their young dogs died of a heart problem. I was the one who trained all the dogs, from reading books I got out of the library, and I was always reading about what proper breeders ought to do, and trying to get my grandparents to be more responsible.<br><br>
I loved the personality of the dachshunds. They were great partners in crime for me as a child, I liked their affectionate nature, happy fearlessness and sense of humor. I do not mind the idea of a somewhat mischievous and strong willed dog (and do feel free to remind me of this if/when I come back to this forum posting for help with behavior problems! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> ). I also like the feel of a dog with a smooth coat, and I like the 20-30 lb size.<br><br>
I would really prefer a more "natural" dog than a dachshund though. I don't want a breed that is so prone to health problems. This also makes me leery of the brachycephalic breeds.<br><br>
The breed that really appeals to me is the staffordshire bull terrier. Is anyone here personally familiar with them? How much of an issue is dog aggression in this breed really, would it be that difficult to find a young dog who could be trusted off-leash at the dog park? We would try to find a breeder who has a young adult dog that needs a new home, so presumably the breeder would be able to tell us a lot about the individual dog's temperament.<br><br>
I would also consider a shelter dog, but in the past when I've visited local shelters (and prowled Petfinder) I haven't seen many dogs that fit my needs and desires... there are lots of rescue pit bulls, but although I like them a lot, even the small pit bulls are too big for me... and the small dogs I've seen in the shelter are not usually the type of dog that appeals to me. But you never know what will turn up.<br><br>
So, I know this is a long post but... any advice? When should we start thinking about looking for a dog, am I nuts to think about getting a staffy, and what else have I failed to consider properly?
 

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I would consider fostering for a local rescue. This way you can kind of test out what works for you and what doesn't without making a lifetime commitment, all the while doing something for the dog! You might find that you aren't ready for a dog, that you want a smaller/larger/older/younger/female/male, etc... dog.<br><br>
I know that some people shy away from doing it because they are afraid of falling in love with a dog that they have to give up. I can tell you that it is difficult - especially the first (I cried with every application that came in!) but finding them the right home is such a wonderful blessing to be part of. Also, when you foster it helps the rescue help more dogs.<br><br>
Good Luck!<br>
Christy
 

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I got a Boston Terrier when my first born was 8 or 9 months old though it would have been better to wait until she was over a year just because she knew what 'NO' meant. when she was tiny, she pulled a few toes and he was so small that it really hurt him. As a result he HATED her for almost three years. Now they play together and are friends but we have another baby now and are really worried about going through that again. That being said, I think if you want to get a dog now, it would be fine, but get a medium breed of bigger. Once you know that you aren't having anymore for certain, then you can have a Chihuahua (or not...) My suggestion is an Australian Cattle Dog (or a Blue/Red Heeler) They are rated as one of the best children's dogs. They are family oriented and protective and very loyal. If you want to look for good breed info (at least enough to get you started try <a href="http://www.puppyfind.com" target="_blank">www.puppyfind.com</a>
 

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I have an article on breed choice on my website--click on either link and then on "articles."<br><br>
I would not recommend a Cattle Dog--unless you have a ranch or are an exercise nut. Miles and miles a day exercise nut.
 

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I second the fostering recommendation, with the caveat that you should find a rescue to foster for that has a really good support network and someone to back you up and take the dog in if it doesn't work out in your home/with your child.<br><br>
ETA: Regarding when the right time to get a dog with kids is, I can only relate my personal experience. I spent my entire childhood afraid of and hating dogs because I was exposed to them in all the wrong ways as a kid. My grandparents bred Bostons, and some of my first memories are of swarms of nipping Bostons. That's not at all pleasant for a small child. Later, I was left alone with a Chessie and bitten. Again, that can well breed a life of dog fear. My point is just this: if you get a dog while your kid(s) are small, PLEASE be ready to supervise ALL dog-child interactions for quite some time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wow, I would never have expected that people would suggest fostering. That's an interesting idea. Don't foster dogs tend to have more troubles than a dog that's available for adoption, though? Requiring lots of retraining, etc? It doesn't help that the last post I read in this forum was avengingophelia's "my current foster dog is seriously ruining my life" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
I had considered trying to find someone in the neighborhood who has a dog and not enough time to spend with the dog. But most of the dogs that I see in our neighborhood are either big dogs, or small terriers.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>avengingophelia</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7316290"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I spent my entire childhood afraid of and hating dogs because I was exposed to them in all the wrong ways as a kid. ... My point is just this: if you get a dog while your kid(s) are small, PLEASE be ready to supervise ALL dog-child interactions for quite some time.</div>
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Of course! That's why I'm asking the question. I understand that we will need to supervise ALL their time together and I'm also willing to wait for a LONG time if that's prudent. What are the right ways to expose a child to dogs, in your opinion?<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thekimballs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7315435"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I have an article on breed choice on my website--click on either link and then on "articles."</div>
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Yes, I've read your article, was there something specific in there that you wanted to draw my attention to? You don't recommend getting a dog before the children are age two, which I wouldn't plan on doing anyway, but do you have advice about when would be the best time instead?<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>thekimballs</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7315435"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would not recommend a Cattle Dog--unless you have a ranch or are an exercise nut. Miles and miles a day exercise nut.</div>
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My mom used to have cattle dogs and I agree 100% with that. In my experience they're also suspicious of strangers and a lot of them do the biting/nipping thing with people, but maybe this is because my mom's dogs were ranch bred working dogs.
 

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I think we have a problem in terminology--the foster dogs of whom I speak ARE available for adoption, they just need someone to stay with until they find their adopters (i.e., a foster family). Some of them have serious problems, of course, but that's not always the case.<br><br>
As for my foster being a monster, he's very young and was completely untrained. I definitely DON'T suggest taking on one like him. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks everyone for your help and advice! It looks like we're going to have to wait a while longer to think about getting a dog... turns out that I'm pregnant again <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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Congratulations!<br><br>
I was coming here to tell you about our fostering experiences (almost all positive) and how and when we decided to get our dog & how it worked out...but I'll save it for later <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Happy gestating!
 

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Congrats! I would say now is not a good time to get a dog. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Enjoy your new baby!
 

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I realized that I never actually told you how long to wait!<br><br>
I'd wait until your youngest child can follow short directions (like "Don't pinch the dog") and actually be trustworthy with them, and until that same child can be told to wait for something for five minutes and not fall apart into sadness. Dogs require predictable behavior from humans, and they will at some point require you to make your own kids a second priority if the need of the dog is immediate.
 

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Oh my gosh, this was a funny thread to read! Congrats!<br><br>
We are waiting until our youngest is two. That's about all the wait I can stand! That will also, thankfully, correspond nicely with when we will be able to live in a bigger place, too.
 

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My DD is 15m and its good in one way - easy to take long walks when DS is in school, i just throw her in the stroller or on my back and she is good to go.<br><br>
But hard in another way, I have to watch her all the time. Even though Daisy has great tolerance for her, she does need a break and Elly isnt aware enough to give her that break all the time. We gate the dog in the kitchen when I cant watch them - its an open floor plan so she can still see and hear us, just no crazy kamikaze toddler attacks. Training is also tricky, since Elly wants to getin the middle of us working. So I try to schedule our training sessions during nap.<br><br>
Oh and the other issue, I suspect a food allergy in the dog and we might have to restrict her diet soon. Um, how does one do that with a mobile food dispensing unit in the house?
 
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