Thinking About Getting a Puppy, But...

Updated on July 12, 2008
K.W. asks from Clearfield, UT
4 answers

I've done this before! I am not much of a pet person, because I am a clean freak. However, I love dogs. I love to love OTHER people's dogs and I love to laugh at them as they happily hang out the window of their owner's car, etc. I've always said, "my kids WILL have a dog one day, just when they get older". Well, my son is now 9, I have a daughter who is now 6 and my 3 year old daughter is even excited at the thought. We got a puppy a couple of years ago and after 2 days, I took her to the vet and found out she had Giardia. I was SICK!! We returned her because I couldn't handle knowing that we had a puppy in the house with something gross that could pass to the kids. The vet assured me that it's a common thing among puppies that come from a pet store and that it's just a course of antibiotics and it's done. Well, I still couldn't take the thought that this little puppy had come from "who knows where" and gave her back (we even lost a good chunk of money because the pet store doesn't give all the money back)
Well, this puppy we are debating on comes from my brothers CLEAN home. They own both of the parents and the litter was actually unexpected but is a breed I love. So...the puppy situation is ideal. I do worry about the care because our 4th child is only 2 1/2 months old. I pretty much need to jump on the ideal situation because of my freakiness about where a pet comes from now.
Is it too much to get a puppy when I've got a new baby? How do you potty train a puppy? When can they start going outside (I know it's a short while until they have all their shots so they don't get Parvo). I just have a million questions. Sorry it's so long. I really appreciate any other mama's help with this! I know it's time for me to step up, but I know nothing about owning a dog. Thanks in advance!!
P.S. It's a breed that doesn't shed. My fear of it violating my cleanliness is mostly the potty thing.

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So What Happened?

Thanks gals for the advice. No puppy for now! I'm so glad that I asked other mom's before jumping on the opportunity that would have ended up stressing me out beyond my limits! A dog is for us, just not now!

More Answers



answers from Salt Lake City on

I would think long and hard about getting a dog with a young baby. Basically, having a puppy is like having another baby. They require very consistent potty training, or it takes forever. They take time and patience, not to mention they have accidents (just mentioning that because you say you are a clean freak), just like kids.

I agree with the other posters. It depends on the breed. Some dogs are more intelligent than others by nature (I'm fairly certain that dalmatians are the worst, poodles the smartest). Also, be certain that you are getting a breed that is good with children. Some dogs are just naturally aggressive or territorial (terriers are often barky and territorial, and might nip, chihuahuas, while small and adorable, are very aggressive). While these dogs make excellent pets, they take extra time and dedication - especially with the added challenge of having them around your children, who often run and are not particularly gentle to animals.

I highly recommend getting/watching some of Cesar Milan's videos/books (Dog Whisperer) or you can catch him on Nat Geo or Discovery. His website might have some good tips too. Be sure BEFORE you get the dog that it is the best thing for the DOG and YOUR FAM. Kids get awfully emotionally attached to pets and I can imagine it was fairly traumatic to give back the first dog, and to have it happen again would be heartbreaking. Not to mention, the older the dog gets, the harder it is to find them a good home (people typically want puppies). So, do your research, think long and hard about the time committment and possible mess involved. If you're willing to accept all that, then I'd go ahead and get the pup! Dogs are the best and they really can be a child's best friend.

Good luck!



answers from Salt Lake City on

Can I ask what breed it is? Some breeds are harder to potty train than others, or take longer, etc. That said, here's what we did. We got a Shih Tzu puppy from my aunt who owned the mother. The father was owned by my husband's friend. Kind of like your brother's situation. I also didn't want to just get any dog from who knows where. We got him when he was barely old enough (6 or 8 weeks...) and, from day one, had a kennel, doggie blanket, a few chew toys, dishes, etc already set up for him. When we brought him home, after playing and when it was time for sleeping, we put him in his kennel with his bowl of food and water and blanket. That's where he slept. To potty train, when he had an "accident" we would immediately grab him up and take him to a specific spot in the backyard while telling him "no." It was the exact same place in the yard every time so he knew that when he needed to go to the bathroom, he had to go outside to that spot in the yard. It helped that we had a doggie door in the back door already. Also, since we were in a home owned by my mother-in-law, we tried to keep him contained in the kitchen (where it was tiled, and where the doggie door to the backyard was located) so he didn't have accidents on the carpet. It was much easier to clean up the mess off the hard floor and there was no seeping into the carpet pad. Our kitchen was easy to block off with baby gates at the entrances, so this was easy for us. Consequently, because he had to stay on the tile for so long while he was potty training and until we moved into our own house (when he was 9 months old) we accidentally tile-trained him at the same time. When we moved, we had planned on letting him have his run of the house, or at least in a few rooms with carpet, but when we let him down in our new home, he was hesitant and thought it was not okay to walk on the carpet since it had been blocked off for so long at the other house. So we kept that rule, and now he is only allowed on our hardwood floors and not on any carpet. This works well for us because we also had three more small babies in the time we lived in our previous house. They could be on a blanket on the floor without the dog coming close to them.

Also, we use his kennel for punishment when he does something he's not supposed to (like chewing a toy or something he knows he's not supposed to do). When he does something bad during the day, we say "No" and "Go in your house!" Then we close the door so he can't get back out for a few minutes. Similar to a child's "time-out." He sleeps there at night, and is only "punished" there during the day when he's acting up. He knows when it's bedtime and doesn't protest going in there like he does when he's in trouble. Anyway... It's a lot of information, I know. But I have lots more ideas and suggestions for training a puppy while having small children and babies and keeping the house clean from the doggie accidents if you want. Just send me a message or something. Good luck with a dog. It will be a lot of fun for your little ones!



answers from Salt Lake City on

If you must absolutely get a dog, I would still wait until the baby is older. Puppies can be a bit crazy and unpredictable until they are about 2 years old. In my opinion it would be better to wait until your baby knows to be gentle with the dog (3 years or so.)
Plus, training a dog takes a lot more time, effort, and patience than people realize. It can be very exhausting and frustrating when you don't have a baby in the house, let alone when you do. You would basically be adding another baby to your work load.
Obviously this is just my opinion. I have a 5 month old baby and 2 dogs right now, and taking the dogs out is the last thing I want to do. Thankfully I have teenagers too, so they take care of the dogs when I remind them.
I would not do it if I were you. I would wait. :) Enjoy your children, and especially that baby.



answers from Salt Lake City on

1. Please, please, please, do NOT get a puppy unless you are 100% commited to keeping it. Getting rid of a dog is not only unfair to it, but very hard on the children, and they could resent you for a long time.

2. What is the breed? YOu didn't mention that, and some just don't work well with little kids. I'm a vet tech, and you'd be surprised how many people will get something tiny like a yorkie or a chihuahua, and then be surprised when their kids break one of it's legs because they were playing wiht it. Is it a breed that will shed often? If you are a clean freak this could be a very bad thing. Dog that don't shed are the ones that have "hair" not know, ones that have to go to the groomer for hair cuts(poodles, shitzu, lhasa apsos, schnausers)

3. Now is a good time as far as having a baby the time the baby is big enough to be bothering the puppy it will be big enough to not be hurt.

4. The best way to potty train is to crate train. You can get info on how to do this from your vet, or a puupy class...which I highly recommend as well.

5. A puppy is safe to go outside to go potty at anytime IN YOU OWN YARD!!! It should not be taken to public places until it has had at least it's second set of vaccinations...around 3 months old.

6. Make sure you deworm on a regular basis...worms are what can easily pass to your kids.

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