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    1. #1
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      carrieann's Avatar
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      talk to me about puppies and kids

      So I've been talking about how we want to get ready for a puppy next year. I had Lily as a puppy, but I was also single at the time. I remember how insane it was, but I had the luxury of free time and energy myself as a girl in my 20's

      My kids are 6 and 2. I was hoping that we'd be ready next spring/summer (or even fall) and by then my kids would be 7 1/2 and 3 1/2. Twice breeders have told me that they usually shy away from giving puppies to families with kids under 6, mostly due to the biting/chewing and as they grow to adolescents, the size of the dog and knocking the kids down or jumping and hurting them.

      I am a firm believer in good, consistent training, but I am having flashbacks to my struggles with Lily as a puppy. I used to take her for long runs and to the dog park to get her energy out. I don't have the luxury now, but we do have a big yard to let her run in (and I would still take her for runs in the morning and evening after kids are in bed).

      So, what's your opinion on my situation? As much as I'm longing for a new puppy, and want my kids to have a family dog... am I setting myself up for a disaster those first two lab puppy years? Will my kids hate the puppy because of the crazy energy? Both my kids love dogs, but they have never been around a super energetic or bitey breed (only smaller calm dogs and older big dogs).

      Help me think this through!! If you had smallish kids, what did you do?
      My first lab, Lily 2004-2013 (Love you Lily Bean, we miss you every day!)
      Our video tribute (on her 9th birthday, we lost her a month later): Hidden Content

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    2. #2
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      Well, it's not a good idea to run with a puppy to get their energy out, so you will need to find another outlet.

      I think, if I were in your situation, I would be in contact with a reputable breeder (or two, as long as they know about each other) and ask them to keep you in mind for an older puppy or a young adult.

      My puppy, Theo, has been a challenge from the start and I don't know if I could have handled him with two small children in the house as well. For him, the biting and the putting EVERYthing in his mouth were the biggest issues. When my 7yo nephew comes, they have to be constantly supervised which I do think is appropriate. I have to keep the boy somewhat calm around the dog (no running, yelling and waving his arms) which is hard for the rambunctious kid.

      It is MUCH better with Theo now. He's 10 months old and much more manageable now. I would really consider looking for an older puppy that a breeder has been working with already, one that is crate trained, house trained, and is already through the teething stage. Maybe one that didn't make the cut for the show ring. Still a solid dog with clearances and solid lines, but better suited for a pet home.
      Hidden Content Theo 8/14/14

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    4. #3
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      I'm trying to think back, and I ran with Lily as a puppy, but it wasn't full on running. Maybe around the block fast, and then walked a lot? We slowly upped the distance as she grew. We did a lot of yard play, too. But good reminder not to expect a jogging partner at 12 weeks

      I didn't even know young adults were an option! I'll definitely ask about it!

    5. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Laura View Post
      Well, it's not a good idea to run with a puppy to get their energy out, so you will need to find another outlet.

      I think, if I were in your situation, I would be in contact with a reputable breeder (or two, as long as they know about each other) and ask them to keep you in mind for an older puppy or a young adult.

      My puppy, Theo, has been a challenge from the start and I don't know if I could have handled him with two small children in the house as well. For him, the biting and the putting EVERYthing in his mouth were the biggest issues. When my 7yo nephew comes, they have to be constantly supervised which I do think is appropriate. I have to keep the boy somewhat calm around the dog (no running, yelling and waving his arms) which is hard for the rambunctious kid.

      It is MUCH better with Theo now. He's 10 months old and much more manageable now. I would really consider looking for an older puppy that a breeder has been working with already, one that is crate trained, house trained, and is already through the teething stage. Maybe one that didn't make the cut for the show ring. Still a solid dog with clearances and solid lines, but better suited for a pet home.
      ^
      |

      This.

      As a mom and former Lab owner, you have good instincts as to what would work for your family. Even a well-reared middle-aged dog from a breeder with children could work well. Puppyhood is highly over rated. I applaud you for thinking this through and searching for a good fit.

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    7. #5
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      My kids were 7 and 9 when we got our lab puppy (two years ago). I do think 3-1/2 is on the young side. My kids were old enough that we had a trainer come to the house and train THEM on what to do when Archie nipped, what kind of games they could play with him, how to teach him tricks, etc. It worked beautifully.

      If you are willing to do things like keep the puppy tethered to you in the house, then you could probably make it work, but many lab puppies are very jumpy and nippy, and I can see a three-year-old being completely freaked out (and then doing the "wrong" thing -- shrieking and running, which turns it into a game for the pup, etc.).
      -e

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    9. #6
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      My 3 children grew up with Labs in the house and all experienced a puppy at some point. (I think the youngest age would have been about 3) You definitely need to be careful but I think it can be done safely. Teach the kids no running from puppy, no squealing/screaming, both tend to get a young Lab puppy wound up which can be scary for the kids. Any floor time with puppy is carefully supervised. One of the best things, at least for me, is that it taught my kids to keep their toys in the playroom and pick up their stuff! Leaving toys, shoes, etc out could easily result in destruction of the item! Baby gates, tethering puppy to you, a crate and an ex-pen are great ways to keep a puppy from getting in to things and all are helpful even if you don't have small children. I honestly love kids having a puppy to grow up with and every kid should have a Lab! I loved the bonds my kids had with "their" dog. I know my now grown children would say having a Lab is one of their favorite memories as a child. Thankfully the mouthy, bitey stage improves greatly after teething, around 5 months or so.

      My Maxx was a super chill, mellow puppy, he has the kids that live near us wrapped around his paws. There are 2 little ones, 5 and 6ish that knock on my door to see if Maxx can come out to play in the back yard! They like to use the "chuck it" ball and giggle themselves silly sending him in to the pool and watching him run with the Jolly balls. Maxx adores all kids but I really think he is under the impression these 2 "belong" to him!
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      Maxx and Emma Jean

      Ozzy - 10/2002 - 06/2011 - Rest well my sweet boy. You are forever remembered, forever missed, forever in my heart.

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    11. #7
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      Sorry, duplicate post.

    12. #8
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      agre not sure what you mean by "run" but if you mean you go running with teh dog on leash that can't happen until the dog is closer to 2 years of age and done growing as it can damange the joints (even though the dog "can" obviously keep up and run circles around you it damanges the joints).

      I think you need to plan for time with the dog wtihout the kids - for training walks and maybe occasional trips to the dog park - while your partner is with the kids (or vice versa). As the puppy is growing it may require management betwen the kids and the puppy - as kids running and palying can really make it hard for a big young labrador puppy to control themself. So it may require for awhile some seperation between "dogs gets to run and play and kids are playign calmly in teh back" and "kids are runing around the backyard and dog is either leashed and working on training appropriate behaviour or indoors). When the dog is older and trained things can be more mingled and everyone can have fun outside together - but I would NOT assume this as a solutino from the get go. Don't allow the puppy to do chasing and jumping bahaviour when they are smaller to ensure tehy learn it's not appropriate.

      Definately talk to the breeder, find one that breeds for calmer lines and picks the right puppy for a family with kids.

      As for an assessment - it's hard to say. some people with even younger kids get puppies and make it work. But they must put in lots of work and time and amangement. I assume there are moments they think they made a mistake and cry but they make it thru and everyone is happy. On the other hand, coming from someone who's been in the rescue world, I also see TONS of families giving up dogs because "now they have kids and don't have time" (either when they are young or as they age and become enrolled in a bunch of afterschool activities) So each situation is obviously different.

      The bonus is you have been thru it and know it won't be easy adn can plan accordingly.

    13. #9
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      Noted: I will NOT run with the puppy until they are older (at least 2yrs old).

      Good pointers on how I would need to have the kids and puppy interact, and take breaks. No chasing, no jumping. I realize that is a really easy thing to say and entirely different to follow through, but this gives me good ideas on where to start, and thinking more about how this would (or would not) work for us!

    14. #10
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      No kids here, but when I did Lab rescue, most of the dogs were owner surrenders and we tracked the reasons the dogs were relinquished. More than 50% of those dogs were given up due to, "Have kids, not time for dog" (and by 50% I mean about 100 Labs per year just at our rescue -- not including all breed rescues, other Lab rescues, or shelters). Most of the families were from the suburbs with fenced in yards. We found there was no training, just lots of yelling, the dogs were usually around two, and while the dog had these "rules" that were unknown to the dog, the kids did not have rules around the dog. Because of this high surrender rate, we had strict rules around adopting dogs to people with kids. People I know that get Lab puppies with little kids spend a lot of time complaining and being frustrated at the dog and I have heard many people talk about how sad they are that their kids "hate" the puppy or are afraid of it. Based on this, I tend to think that puppies with little kids is generally not a good idea.

      If I had kids I probably would not get a puppy with little ones unless I didn't have to work outside of the home. I think about how my dogs are, especially when they are young, after I get home from work and I'm not sure I could deal with that, kids, and my evening domestic duties. Makes me tired and stressed just thinking about it...

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