There are so many debates as to why you should or shouldn’t bring home a puppy when you have a toddler in the house. After all, both can be extremely messy, time consuming and don’t forget stressful! But, I’m here to tell you that it can work! It takes quite a bit of effort to make sure that everything goes smoothly, but it IS possible. Here are some simple steps to help with the decision process.
Do you have the time and effort?
Bringing home a puppy is no walk in the park! There is plenty of things to consider, like time spent training as well as vet bills, food requirements. Don’t forget the toilet training, where your puppy will sleep and the array of other things to consider. This is a HUGE decision! So take time to think about how having a puppy will impact upon your daily life as you already know it. Are you ready for this massive commitment?? If not, then wait until the kiddies are older. However, if you are crazy like me check out step 1!
1. Do your research!
Make sure you pick a breed that is going to be suitable around very young children. Look at all aspects of the breed – personality, temperament, size and needs. We chose a Staffy breed as they are well known for being great with children of all ages and we have had many friends with this breed whom we could seek advice from. I also spent A LOT of time on google searching different dog breeds. You need to make sure that you know everything about a particular breed before making a final choice. Knowledge is power!
Note: You must ALWAYS supervise your child with whichever dog you come to choose!
2. Find a good breeder.
Once you have chosen your breed, you need to find a good breeder – preferably a registered breeder. An excellent breeder will be someone who is willing to spend time with you answering your most silliest questions. Make sure you have a list ready so you stay focused. Things can get a little hazy when looking at cute puppies, but you need to stay on point so you get the perfect pup for your family. You do not want to be left with a cute puppy who turns out to not fit in with your family and lifestyle. Remember a puppy is a lifelong commitment and you don’t have to pick the first one you see!
3. Meet the parents
This step is vital. Your breeder must be happy for you to view both parents. Or if only the mother is available, they should be able to answer any questions about the father and provide a picture. This ensures that you know what temperament the parents are to provide you with an indication of what your puppy may become. After all puppies do grow up – very quickly!
When we went to check out a litter of Staffy pups, the mother was present. My toddler was able to interact with the mother (supervised of course!). The breeder had three children of her own who were present at time of viewing. I could easily see how the mother and her pups interacting with her children and my own. This was a very reassuring part of the selection process.
4. Which puppy?
This is personal preference and I am no dog whisperer, but I knew from reading so many articles, that I did NOT want the loudest, most energetic puppy. I was looking for the most relaxed female puppy who liked to play but loved to be handled and cuddled. My toddler loves animals and loves to cuddle, so I needed to make sure that our new addition would fit her personality too. I didn’t want a puppy that was too easily excitable as my toddler is high energy. A high energy pup and a high energy toddler would just be too hectic. The breeder knew each pups temperament and was able to point out the two girls that fitted the bill. One of the two was just more cuddlier and had beautiful markings, so we went with her.
We had to wait a couple of weeks before bringing pup home, but it was the best decision for my family and our situation. Our toddler is learning some wonderful life skills by living with a pup and the pup is receiving a LOT of love. The settling in process has been a challenge and you have to be prepared for training a puppy skills like how to walk on a lead to the dreaded toilet training to how to behave in the house. There is a lot of responsibility in bringing home a pup so you must make sure that you are prepared for every aspect of owning a new puppy including vet bills and food. But if you are prepared for all of these responsibilities and have some spare patience to throw about, bringing home a puppy is so worth it in the long run…
Please note: This post is written from my own experience. What may suit my family may not suit yours. Please be responsible if thinking of bringing home any new pet, even more so when you have very young children. All pets require a lot of time, effort and love.
If you would like a follow up post on how we settled our new pup into our home with a toddler, please let me know or leave a comment below. You can also find me on Facebook or Twitter 🙂