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 Post subject: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 3:42 pm 
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So, you know how some pregnant ladies go through this thing where every time they see someone else's baby, they are like "OH WOW A BABY, I can't wait til I have my baby, awwww shnuggie wumpus" and whatnot? Well, that never happened to me... instead I started feeling that way about people's dogs.

I thought it would pass when I had the kid, but it's been a year and I still really, really want a dog. I had dogs growing up and maybe I just really miss them, I don't know.

When the Emperor was a little baby, I didn't want to adopt a dog because I was worried that I wouldn't have enough time to devote to the dog and that it just wouldn't be fair to the dog. And also I kinda worried that having a dog AND a baby would just be too much work and drive me crazy.

But now that the Emperor's hit a year, I'm starting to give it more serious thought. We have a very manageable day to day routine, and I think it'd be possible to give the dog enough attention now while also not letting the Emperor swallow thumbtacks or anything.

We definitely want an adult dog, I'm not thinking of anything totally insane like trying to train a puppy with a one year old.

What am I not thinking of? Pros/cons? If you think this is too young to introduce a dog to the household, what age do you think IS good?

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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 4:00 pm 
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Disclaimer: I'm totally biased.

There is absolutely nothing cuter in the world than baby + dog. Nothing.
Proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxJe_BHk0wk

I think it's a fantastic idea provided you don't go into it all impulsively or anything, and I'm pretty sure you wouldn't. Older dogs are great because they're laid back and calm and they generally have their personalities already out there for you to see.
The only thing I'd be worried about is how your baby reacts to dogs - is he ever scared of them? how does he handle barking? does he hurt them (even if he does occasionally, plenty of dogs are really tolerant without ever being aggressive)?

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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:23 pm 
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I haven't lived with a one year old yet, but I think if you find the right dog, it could be a lot of fun. I don't know how active your lifestyle is, but you probably want a low to medium energy dog who is very tolerant of touching. Also, I'd recommend a dog that doesn't require lots of grooming. How is the Emperor around friends' dogs? Take him to the shelter and see what he thinks!


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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:36 pm 
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I totally support the idea of adding a dog to the mix. I work at a shelter and LOVE matching up dogs with families that have children. So many dogs absolutely LOVE kids and become their best friend. Yesterday the sweetest black lab mix went home with a family, but only after giving their 1 year old plenty of kisses. I would recommend looking around shelters and talking to the staff. It's great to ask if they're potty trained yet, how they are around other animals and children, and when you have a dog/s you really like make sure the dog and your one year old get along. When you're alone with the dog try petting and touching it in all sorts of random ways/places (but of course without irritating the poor pooch too much) to see how it reacts. While I'm sure you'll teach your baby to be gentle with the dog, it's always good to know they'll react well when the inevitable tail pulls or foot grabs happen when you're turned the other way.

p.s. I think I need to add a disclaimer on being totally biased as well.

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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:45 pm 
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The only problem I can see would be if you are planning another baby soon. How is the Emperor with dogs? I would definitely spend some time with dogs before you bring one home too.

It sounds crazy to me, but I'm worn down from having two kids under two years old at the moment so I'm probably not the best judge. We're thinking we'll get a dog when our oldest is 10 or so, if ever. My parents got our dog when I was 10 and it was a good age, and I didn't have to cope with losing a pet until I was an adult (not to be too morbid or anything!)


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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 8:31 pm 
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I had the great idea of getting a puppy when I was 8 weeks pregnant! My co-worker's dog had puppies (black lab/mutt) and he was giving them away. I went to his place "just to look". Yeah, right.

So it was an interesting pregnancy...uh...never a dull moment!!

Anyway, now my son is 3 1/2 and he just loves Sammy. Granted he is not always nice to her at this age (can be frustrating), but he has grown up with her and she's his "big sister". I'm so happy that I have both of them, although I feel like I have 1.5 children sometimes!

All in all, I think a dog would be a great addition to your family! I'm a big-dog person myself, and I think that a big dog is great for a kid like my son, who has no idea what the word "gentle" means. He says he wants a cat, but there is no way I would subject a cat to this torment...we're gonna wait a few years on that!

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:25 pm 
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my husband and i have been having a variation of this conversation- i want an adult dog from the local no kill shelter (actually a specific lab mix who is partially blind and apparently loves kids and has been advertised for almost 6 months) and he says not until our son is older. We have been going around about it for months, so do it, for me- no not really, but, if its the right dog, and the emperor is into it, why not?


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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:02 pm 
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If you feel comfortable taking on a critter, go for it! I bet the Emperor will have a blast with a dog.


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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 3:01 pm 
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We had two dogs before kids, and then when our older one passed away, we adopted another one. My youngest was a couple years older than the Emperor when we adopted the new dog. Both our dogs are rescue dogs, and the new one was around a year old when we got her. I like the idea of a rescue dog for you because the foster family can tell you how the dog does with kids and what the dog's habits are. I also advocate for an older puppy or dog because, in my experience, they are easier to housebreak and train.
I love dogs, so I am willing to work them into my life, but there's no getting around the fact that it's an added chore or two. The girls like them - my youngest loves them - and I like the opportunity to teach them respect for animals.

I say go for it!


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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 7:26 pm 
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I believe the 'professional advice' is not to add a new animal to a family with children under 4.

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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:14 pm 
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So I wrote a whole response to this and I could have sworn I posted it, but it's not in this thread. So to re-cap...

We recently took the Emperor to an SPCA event that a friend of mine was volunteering at. He had a GREAT time with all the dogs and had really warmed up to maybe two of them by the end.

He's overall kinda shy with dogs. Loves to watch them, but when they get close, he'll pull his hands back. He kinda stiffens up when they sniff or lick him initially, though he'll start laughing after a bit. I'm not really worried that he'd be mean to a dog so much as that he would be scared by or disinterested in one.

We do want to have a second baby at some point, but 2 under 2 isn't gonna happen unless I am secretly pregnant right now, which would be a pretty big surprise for everyone. Even if I was, though, I think getting a dog soon would be okay-- 9 months is enough time to get to know a dog and integrate the dog into the family.

The biggest issue right now is convincing my husband this is a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:16 pm 
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There have been dogs who pulled babies out of burning buildings. Doesn't he care about that?! Do it for the potential fires in which no one's home but the baby and the dog!

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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:04 am 
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I probably wouldn't have adopted a dog when my daughter was a year old--that sounds like a lot of work. But of course, we already had dogs when my daughter was born and they are great with her. But they also got to know her first as a little lump of smelly goodness, and only after they were used to her did she start following them around and occasionally pulling on their ears.

I guess I'd say that if you want a dog and can find one unafraid of the sudden movements a one year old makes and you know how crazy it might get in the house for a while (toddler + new dog) go for it. It could be a blessing to a pup in need. But I personally lean toward the "wait until the kid is 4" 'official' recommendation that rabidchild mentioned. (Then again, what make ones life their own except heading out and making ones own path, recommendations aside?)


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 Post subject: Re: A new dog and a one year old kid? Good idea?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:54 pm 
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I hate to give advice but as a former shelter worker (at the Santa Cruz SPCA) AND the mom of a 19-month-old I do want to suggest that you proceed slowly. Henry adores our dog but he was much, much more gentle at 12 months than he is now - every single day, multiple times a day, I have to remind him not to kick or shove the dog and cats, "pulling tails/ears/fur hurts", etc. This is not because he's a rotten kid - at 12 months I had to constantly pull fur out of his mouth because he was hugging and kissing the dog so much - it's just a developmental thing but it is really tough to deal with. I wouldn't want to do it with an "unproven" dog.

From the shelter worker perspective, I found it heartbreaking and frustrating when people would insist on adopting a particular dog despite multiple informed opinions that it might not be the safest dog for a child. It wasn't uncommon to have the dog returned after it snapped, growled, or even bit. Our dog is a super mellow dude but I never forget that a dog's a dog. He eats where Henry can't get near him because I have more than one friend with a dog bite scar on his/her face from a food bowl incident as a child.

I'm not meaning to be a downer...I don't personally find our dog to be a ton of work and I enjoy walking him, I'd be much more slow to take on a new dog because of safety concerns. Don't feel like you have to hurry - the right dog will come into your life at the right time.


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