Getting a Puppy

Updated on April 24, 2008
J.H. asks from Rohnert Park, CA
6 answers

My husband and I would like to get a puppy however I do want to do as much research prior to making this move. Our daughter is 13 months old and it wouldn't be something we would do until she's at least 2 yrs. I would like to get the puppy before my daughter goes into pre-K so she'll have a good bond established. We have heard several good things about Yorkshire Terriers and know several people that have them. Does anyone have any recommendations on how to introduce a puppy into the home and is 2 years old a good age?

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answers from San Francisco on

Hi, I'm a dog trainer and mother and would be happy to advise you to help you make the right choice for your family, to start with, here is an article I wrote that you may find useful:

Responsibilities of caring for a dog
By J. Bjelland Lokhandwala

Having a dog takes a lot of responsibility and understanding what your dog needs will prepare you for a long, happy life with your dog. Owners not meeting their dog’s needs cause most behavior problems in dogs. To help prepare you for what the responsibilities of having a dog are, I've written a list to guide you below:
v You have to walk them twice a day for about 30-45 minutes each. High-energy pets will need more, and Senior and toy dogs may need less. If you work all day, you'll need to wake up about an hour earlier to get the walk in before you go as well as repeat it after you return home.
v The dog will need lots of time with you and the family every day.
v Feed them twice a day and always have fresh water available.
v Dog Training. Dogs that are well trained are happier and more bonded with their owners. They also get to spend more time with their owners because they are well behaved.
v Clean up their poop, both in your yard and on walks.
v Adult dogs will have to do a Veterinarian exam at least annually, as well as be up-to-date on all their vaccinations. Puppies will require several more trips to the Vet the first year for additional vaccinations as well as spaying/neutering. Contact your local Vet to learn about cost, etc.
v Puppies require a tremendous more amount of time and money their first year. You'll also have to house train them, which requires a lot of extra time on your part then an adult dog would.
v You’ll need a well-maintained fence at least 6-feet tall if you plan to have them off-leash in the backyard at all.
v Brush them/bathe them/grooming/nail cutting/ear cleaning.
v Flea/tick care.
v Extra expense. There is a lot of expense in having a dog. You need to consider: Veterinarian costs, food, supplies (leash, collar, id tags, bedding), toys, chew bones, flea care, bathing, grooming, travel expenses or dog sitting expenses while you are away, medical care should they become ill, etc.
v You’ll also have more cleaning due to Dog Hair. Dog hair has a way of finding itself on everything and will require more cleaning on your part.
v Arranging for care of your dog while you are away on trips. Dogs cannot be left alone overnight.
v Oral care for your dog. Veterinarians are recommending teeth brushing and cleanings.

Extra Things to think about if you have children.
1. Do not expect that the children will take over all the dog-care, no matter how much they say they will. They may be able to assist you, but as the parent, YOU will have the responsibility.
2. Access your energy level. It can be a lot of work keeping up with children and adding a dog means you have one more responsibility.
3. Supervise your young children around the dog at all times. (Children can be unpredictable and do things like pull tails or whiskers and cause the dog to feel threatened.) You should not leave your child with the dog unattended, and you will have to teach them how to be gentle and what areas are off limits to touch.
4. If your children are very young, say under 8, it can be better to adopt a dog older than three, and medium to larger size dog rather than a puppy, because puppies have sharp milk teeth and claws that can scratch easily. Puppies and small/toy dogs can also be fragile and injured more easily.
5. Also consider your child's friends that may be coming over and you will also have to supervise them around the dog.
Having a dog can be a wonderful experience if you prepare yourself and meet your dog’s needs.
J. Bjelland Lokhandwala is a Dog Trainer and Freelance Writer who wrote the popular Online Dog Training Book available at:

J. also provides personal, Live Chat consultations through her site. You can ask J. any dog question!

"J. had an immediately calming effect on us as dog owners. She can explain the canine perspective and how we as humans can interact with our dog in a positive way. J. was super patient with all of our questions and even fielded our email questions after training ended," said Sina and Ed of Fremont, California.

For free dog tips visit webDogTrainer’s Blog at:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

We researched different types of kid friendly dogs before we got our. We got a Golden Retriever for our son, when he turned one. We wanted him to have a dog to grow up with. I am glad we got the retriever. He is the mose mild manner dog we have ever had. He lets the kids lay with and on him and is protective of them. In Sept we got another one, a female, she is a little hyper being that she is a puppy, but she is also ver good with the kids. As for introducing I would read books and watch videos with your child and start talking about the dog. If by chance you get a retriver there are some really cute movies, such as Air Buddies, that have puppy retreivers in it.. I am sure if you look you could find kid movies with terriers too!!!!



answers from San Diego on

We have 2 dogs, 4 cats, and two boys (8yrs and 21 mos).
One dog is a Shih-Tzu, the other is a Shepard mix. Both are wonderful breeds. Make sure you look not only into the breed, but the tempermant of the individual dog. Just because one is nice doesn't mean another will be. The American Kennel Club has a website that goes into the typical temperment of specific breeds.
In the meantime, there's a book I highly reccommend called "I Just Got a Puppy What Do I Do?" It has a section in the back about typical family breeds
Good Luck, and make sure to take into account the tempermant of your daughter as well as the potential dog.



answers from Fresno on

I got a new puppy when my daughter was about a little more than two months old. She is now one year and her first word other than momma and dada was dog. She loves her puppy! The dog(she's a staffordshire terrier) lets her pull her ears, poke her in the eyes, and bite her on her tail. If she's had enough she will simply get up and walk away. I think that dogs are a good idea with children, and I can understand you wanting a smaller dog, but in my experience, larger dogs seem to be better with children. I want a yorkie too, and I'm not sure exactly how good with kids they are, but a few suggestions are golden retrievers, labrador retrievers, and cocker spaniels (which aren't too big). These are all very good breeds with children. The only problem that I see in getting a puppy with your child in the house right now is potty training...yuck...and teaching the dog that the baby is a baby too, and puppies tend to nibble and chew and sometimes with toddlers and their wandering hands they will nibble on their fingers a bit. It will be a situation that you will have to monitor for the first few months. You'll need to get a lot of toys for the puppy and make sure that both the dog and your baby can differentiate between each others toys. Other than that, I definitely thing dogs and kids go together. Good luck and have fun!



answers from Los Angeles on

Some breeds are more child friendly than others. You can Google a specific breed or just enter "Child friendly dogs" or dogs and kids.

I actually had dogs before kids. A puppy is like a baby -- only it doesn't wear a diaper (they do actually make them) and it is born with sharp teeth -- not a good mix if you fall asleep and it chews your furniture and pees on the carpet.

I recommend crate training and if you have room a puppy-pen (play pen for the puppy).

If you get a puppy you should get it used to things like hear pulling and other things a child might do, so that it tolerates your child w/o biting. My youngest spent time on my friends farm w/ her large breed guardian dog (Anatolian Shepard). I love that dog - she would follow my daughter around and keep her in bounds. the dog let her put her fingers in its ears, nose, etc. She'd lay on the dog, play w/ its tail. My dogs were Rottweilers and no longer puppies when my first child was born. I never left my child alone w/ the dogs. We had to go thru explaining the loss of a pet w/ my then 2 yr old. We now have a Rottweiler mix that sleeps w/ my other daughter.

You might consider a medium dog, as small dogs are often fragile.

Have you considered a Rescued dog? There are so many dogs that need good homes. They have some cute dogs and even puppies in need of adoption. Look at for an idea of what is available. The upside to rescues that have their dogs/puppies in foster families is that they can give you a good idea if the dog is good w/ kids or other pets, if it barks much or not, etc. Some rescue organizations only work with certain breeds, others certain size dogs. Reputable Rescue groups can give you good recommendations as to which dogs would be right for your situation.



answers from Sacramento on

My mother wants a 'yorki' but then she found out how much they cost, i about had to catch her before she fainted. They are good starter dog ( your little one won't be intimidad). My daughter is 4 and HOUNDING me for a dog. At 2, your little one will see it more as a toy, and you will have a 'second' child so to speak. Maybe wait? I dunno, let your 'first born' mature a bit more befoe bringing a puppy into the house.

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