Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Puppy love!


Today at my son's ball game (they won!) there was this most amazing pug puppy.  HOLY COW is there nothing cuter than a 10 week old pug!  Seeing this cute puppy of course triggered the emotions of "puppy love."  We sat and chatted with the pug's Mom and had a wonderful time.  This experience reminded me how easy it is to fall for puppy cuteness.  That was not the case for this family as they did their homework and prepared but.....I even found myself thinking....awwww a pug pup would be fun.  Then....I remembered the 6, 2 week old Siberian husky/mix puppies we fostered one summer.  I had thought...what a great summer project, the kids will love it, it will be fun......OH BOY was I nuts!  Yes, the pups were darn adorable but when it comes to pups and raising them properly it takes work, time, observation not to mention money! 

 I loved having the pups at our home and observing and learning while enjoying their puppy antics.  However, some of the puppy behavior and needs were more than my children appreciated.  Helping with puppy feeding or cleaning up was a challenge with share claws and teething razor sharp teeth.  We had to make it so the kids could help and not be injured by these cuties.  Here are some of the things we did to help with keeping the kids and puppies happy!
1.  We used ice cubes as a good distraction when we went into the puppy area to change papers or fill food bowls etc. This was great and became a huge reward for them as they batted around the cubes and got to chase them instead of the kids.
2.  Kibble frenzy.  We also allowed the kids to toss a hand full of kibble that scattered so that the dogs would keep paws down on the floor vs. jump up on the kids. 
3.  Use those old sheets, towels!  Tie them in knots and allow the kids to have that to offer the pups (only with supervision as we don't want them to eat this)  This long knotted interesting toy was always a hit for the pups and kept them from jumping on the kids as well. 
4.  Rewarding pups for sit and paws on floor.  We did this routinely at meal times to get them ready for life in their new homes and to learn about good manners.
5.  We also offered carrots for teething pups too.  Great cheap reward that often becomes a favorite.
These are just some of the fun things kids and pups can take part in.  I do advise that families with children under 5 really think about what they are getting into.  Puppies are full of energy and often have behaviors such as eating your child's favorite toy etc which leads to mixed feelings for the kids and frustration for the parents. 

Bottom line is a parent unless YOU want the puppy and are ready for accidents in the house and the challenge and fun of teaching manners then it might be good to consider an older dog (3 and up) who has already grown into their personality and may have some great skills and manners.  Do your research and decide as a family when and if the time is right.

The short list of considerations!
How old are your kids?
Activity level of your family?
How many hours alone will the puppy be left daily?
What will the vet costs be?
What will you do over vacations?
What qualities are you considering in breeds?
Rescue or breeder? (we have great rescue success!) 
size of dog?
How much shedding is too much?

So much to consider but today....I was reminded how easy it is when you see those cuties and they tug on your heartstrings.  Puppies are a 15 year commitment so resist an impulsive reaction and research and be ready for this commitment and then you and your puppy will be successful!

Many dog professionals, myself included offer companion selection support and temperament evaluation services to help support families in finding the right match.  

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