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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am going to start this off first by saying I do not have children. Looked like too much work and so I avoided that one..

My point of this thread is for parents with small children who want to get puppies (or who have puppies) to obtain real information and (perhaps) a reality check, when it comes to young children and dogs.

Idyllic
A scene from Disney or Mayberry or Lassie. A boy and his dog. A girl and her dog. They grow up together from the child being a toddler through grade school. They do everything together from puppy hood on. The dog is the child's best friend and is totally intuitive. Never on leash.. this ideal dog seems to read the child's mind and they go everywhere together. The dog never bites anyone or anything besides dangerous people and food. The last scene fades with the boy and the dog sitting next to each other on a stream bank fishing. The girl and her dog are going down the road.. her on her bike, the dog trotting next to her.. totally focused on her face with an adoring look.

Reality
Scene from a real home. Child is pre school. Parents see the above... or recall a dog of their own childhood that was perfect (time tends to erase not so perfect)...

All is fine at first. The child nicely pets the puppy and the parent finds the two of them sleeping together. The problems start as the puppy matures at a rate about 10 times faster than the child. The puppy has teeth and not hands and uses those teeth to explore its world.

The puppy chases the child and nips or bites. The child falls and the dog is jumping all over them. The child picks up a stick and beans the dog (not being mean.. just being a very young child who also tosses his drink cup at the TV). The dog starts to bark at the child or maybe runs from the child who chases the dog who then turns and growls of even bites the child.

Eventually the child is afraid of the dog. In 10 short weeks that 8 week old littloe puppy is a half grown dog who is a pile of energy and that needs to teethe and chew and play. The child is still barely walking.

The puppy does other things.. like poops and pees in the house and doesn't come when called. He surfs the counter and requires a lot of TIME and TRAINING.

The idyllic scene has been shattered as the child runs and hides when the dog comes flying into the room with a full size Tonka Truck or Doll in his mouth...

Making it Work
A child growing up with dogs CAN work but it TAKES WORK and TIME. A new puppy and a very young child may not be a good idea if your life is busy and no one is going to be at home full time.

The dog will need exercise and training and will be full grown in a year and requires a large investment in time.

I read some place that the best advice is to wait until a child is 10 before getting them a dog that is theirs and their responsibility. Getting a dog before that age should not be for the child but for the parent who wants a dog and can spend the time necessary to train and care for a dog.

I am no expert in making it work.. but I am thinking there are others here who are and others who can add to the contrast of reality and idealism when it comes to getting a puppy while a child (or children) are very young.


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Very true. Growing up we had Lassie (literaly as our collie was called Lassie I named her, I was 4 lol) and 2 toy poodles. all were amazing and patient dogs with us 3 kids growing up. we got off VERY lucky IMO.

But growing up I would go to friends homes, and the dogs would have to be locked away all the time as they hated kids, were disobiedent so would run off, or were just to rambuntious. a little training and excersise IMO would have fixed that
 

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You are correct. We have 4 giant breed dogs and a 2 year old. But we make it work. And we make it fun for everyone.
 

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I have a 2 year old boy , a 4 year old girl , a 90 pound mix , and a now 145 pound Mastiff.

We do lead an idyllic existence..my daughter reads to Bo every night. The dogs are both protective of our children..my husband and I grin at each other as the two dogs make sure the 2 kids are always in their sight.

However , it did not get that way without training the dogs and educating the children. Lots of work people , lots of work.

We had a few Barbie fatalities , a trampoline eaten , dogs with makeup on , dogs that pooped out missing toys , kids that pooped out kibble..you get the idea.

I am home with dogs and kids and passionate about educating both..things are idyllic now for sure..the payoff from a lot of effort. Anyone needs advice hit me up ;)

Also , the first glaring mistake that people make is training the dog to be good around children without training the CHILDREN to be good around DOGS. A heavy reprimand comes in my home , even for the 2 year old , for any insensitive or rough treatment of any animal. It is mind blowing how many people say a dog is great because he lets the kids pulls on his ears ect. Sure , your dog is great but your kid is a little monster...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Excellent post, Elana. I think it should be a sticky.


Well, dang, RonE.. that is a heckuva compliment..... Now I have two stickies.... Do I get a prize? :pound:

I have a 2 year old boy , a 4 year old girl , a 90 pound mix , and a now 145 pound Mastiff.

We do lead an idyllic existence..my daughter reads to Bo every night. The dogs are both protective of our children..my husband and I grin at each other as the two dogs make sure the 2 kids are always in their sight.

However , it did not get that way without training the dogs and educating the children. Lots of work people , lots of work.

We had a few Barbie fatalities , a trampoline eaten , dogs with makeup on , dogs that pooped out missing toys , kids that pooped out kibble..you get the idea.

I am home with dogs and kids and passionate about educating both..things are idyllic now for sure..the payoff from a lot of effort. Anyone needs advice hit me up ;)

Also , the first glaring mistake that people make is training the dog to be good around children without training the CHILDREN to be good around DOGS. A heavy reprimand comes in my home , even for the 2 year old , for any insensitive or rough treatment of any animal. It is mind blowing how many people say a dog is great because he lets the kids pulls on his ears ect. Sure , your dog is great but your kid is a little monster...
^^^^^^ This.... Emphasis added by me....
 

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I almost smacked this woman the other day..she saw me walking my 2 dogs with my 4 year old ..she says to my daughter " oh what big doggies you have!! You must ride them like horsies!!" I could have dropped kicked her.

My daughter however , lectured the lady with a long laundry list list of things that we do not do with/to dogs..and she included , with emphasis WE DO NOT SIT ON THEM EVER OR RIDE THEM!!!"

I was very proud of her :)

There was a Mastiff named Guiness at the shelter where we got our dogs. He was practically lame because the people that use to own him let the kids ride him like a horse. He finally wound up at the shelter after one of the untamed children jumped off the couch onto his hip and dislocated it. WWF style , on purpose.

He found a good home after months of swimming rehab. With adults.

Stuff like that makes my blood boil though...really.
 

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There was a Mastiff named Guiness at the shelter where we got our dogs. He was practically lame because the people that use to own him let the kids ride him like a horse. He finally wound up at the shelter after one of the untamed children jumped off the couch onto his hip and dislocated it. WWF style , on purpose.
This is why I'm against any family with children under 10-ish having dogs. Dogs have no defense against this kind of treatment and it usually does not end well for the dog or the children. Unless a parent can be in the room supervising 24/7, it's very difficult to prevent issues, accidental or otherwise. Dogs and children can be unpredictable, no matter how well trained. It's what makes them so fun to be around and it's one of the reasons we love them so much. But unpredictability has a darker side, as this story shows. This isn't at all a rant against children. It's a practical vote for safety first for humans and dogs alike.
 

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I really don't think it is an age thing at all. I think it would be unfair to exclude all kids from having childhood dog memories ..and I think exposure to caring for animals from a very young age is the best way to have a child grow up to be a compassionate animal person.

I don't think age has anything to do with cruelty..there is no single group more likely to be cruel to an animal than boys aged 10 to 14. They light cats on fire , throw rocks at geese , and in my neighborhood recently we found a group of pre teens playing baseball with a baby owl. If anything, growing up from a young age WITH animals they care for is more likely to breed compassion .

HOWEVER , the same way people should be preapproved and educated to have children , they should be preapproved and educated to have a dog. Shelters usually do this to the best of their ability .. and good breeders too. The shelter I go to does not adopt to families with kids under 4 and then only after a few observed visits by the dog handlers/evaluators they have on staff. I got a pass on having a 2 year old because I am family friends with the people who run it. The potential families with kids over 4 get a code on top of their sheet stating whether the dog handler says yay or nay to giving them a dog.

But really , I bet the majority of people who are clueless , and have small kids , get their dogs from pet stores ( I'm betting the majority of inappropriately informed families go this route..Christmas anyone? ) , from BYB , or from high kill shelters that are understaffed , overcrowded , and dont have employees who are educated about evaluating a family for pet ownership suitabilty.

I think the best way to ensure that only families that will curb their kids along with their dogs are the only ones who can GET dogs is to do away with irresponsible breeding through legislation. No pupply mills means no pets stores ..no BYB , all this leads to no need for high kill shelters...the harder it would be to "get" a dog , the easier it would be to spot the McClueless family barging in the front door waiving a credit card.

It is the kind of thing where there is no easy solution. you can't say no 7 year old boy should have the dog he has been begging for ... but I also don't think ANY family , kids or not ( but especially those with ) should be given a dog without careful screening.

And as long as bad breeders and mills run , any idiot will be able to get what they want.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
My point starting this thread was to compare reality vs. expectations and to try to give advice on how to get the children and dog situation to work (if it can).

The point of the thread is for ideas for those parents who either are considering a puppy and a toddler in the same environment or for those who have gotten a puppy (regardless of source) and now need good advice on how to make it work.. what they need to do.

The point is to provide the idyllic parent with a dose of reality so that they do not get a dog and then send the dog back to the pound because it just doesn't work. The reason it happens is the BYB who doesn't screen yadda yadda yadda. That is for another battle (responsible adoption policies and breeders).

This thread was not started to discuss that... but more how to help someone who has gotten a dog and now sees trouble (or maybe who wants to know if it will work b4 they get a dog).
 

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My point starting this thread was to compare reality vs. expectations and to try to give advice on how to get the children and dog situation to work (if it can).
And because it is now a sticky (i.e. reference thread) we don't want to overload it with personal anecdotes. It would be better to start a new thread with those stories.
 
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