Experiences with children and dogs?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, May 22, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    My son has, since babyhood, adored dogs. The first time he saw one, aged about 7 months old, was very sweet - his whole body started trembling with excitement and he made ecstatic yelping sounds. He occasionally asks me to get him one and I have kind of played with the idea then put it away. Someone in the village is giving away a five-year-old labrador which she says is very good with children...
    Any views/experiences about your children with dogs? I would have thought on the whole it was a good thing for a challenging child to have an animal companion they can love and look after, though I realise it will be mum who does most of the looking after.
    Should I resist temptation or throw caution to the winds...?
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Age four is the bare minimum for getting a dog, in my humble opinion. Although, we've had dogs all along, and I know how to deal with-them, but you sound like this would be your first experience.

    Definitely, an older lab is a good idea. Labs can attach to anyone--they are as disloyal as goldens, lol--they will love anybody. So they will fit in right away. But if you want a loyal dog, pick a different breed. However, a 5-yr-old should already be trained to go outside, come when called, all that sort of thing. I would get a leash and run the dog through his paces b4 making a decision.

    Also, be aware that you will have to take the dog out one last time at night, and 1st thing in the a.m., and exercise it in the day. Do you have a fenced yard? The dog will add to your chores but will add love, fun and antics.
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    An older lab would be a very good choice, but first I would want to make sure the dog is healthy and to know why these people are giving the dog away and make sure it wasn't because of some problem with him. We had a big black lab when my son was very little and he was great with him, very calm, gentle and tolerant, and he appointed himself as the official babysitter. The only problem I could see with such a large dog is if he plays rough or moves quickly where he might knock a small child down.
  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    My dogs changed my difficult child in regards to responsibility. He was in his 20's though. It made a big difference.
    I think that if you protect the pet from hurt and work with difficult child to care properly for a family pet that it can be a good thing.
    With children in general, it ends up being mom who takes the primary responsibility.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    If you're ok with caring for it? (because you will be the one caring for it lol ) Then if the potential benefits outweigh that.........why not?

    Labs are generally a very gentle breed and good with kids of all ages.

    Terry....I was surprised with you saying they're disloyal as goldens (whom I adore as well), that they'll love anyone. Rowdy is very much just our family dog. A stranger, very well meaning, could hand him a steak and he wouldn't take it, nor would he let the stranger touch him. Same with his daughter Betsy. It took sister in law like 5 tries with me standing there telling Rowdy it was ok to take the food before he'd let sister in law give him something. Now sister in law spoils him with leftovers from restaurants all the time. lol But neither Rowdy nor Betsy would transfer to another household.......unless it was one of my kids.

    But then I trained them to be that way on purpose. Socialized enough to be good dogs, yet not so much as to be loving with everyone.

    Still when I was a kid my uncle was giving away his lab because his kids had grown up and the poor dog was lonely. He gave him to us, we adored him........and I have to say he made the switch readily. Seemed to know deep down we were his new family and responsibility.

    When getting a dog from another person, be sure to ask for both the dogs good points and bad habits so you can make an informed decision whether or not it's the right dog for you. Because if she's actually giving this dog away because it's untrained and driving her crazy, it's not going to be a nice addition to your house unless you're skilled at dog training.

    My kids have had dogs in their lives from infancy. For the most part, they don't know how to live without one around. lol
  6. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    My kids grew up with dogs; we had one before older difficult child was born. I was afraid the dog would be jealous but that never happened. I'm sure the dogs were good for my boys. When their
    difficult child-ness was shining through and everybody was mad at them, the dog loved them anyway. The dogs always seemed to calm the kids. I know some difficult children are mean to dogs but my kids never had that; they might be mean to people but they'd do anything for the dogs. I'm sure they're better men today for having been raised with dogs.

    I think your son is old enough to learn to appreciate a dog. It may take some supervision at first as little kids don't necessarily realize how tender a dog is nor how rough they are being with the dog but most kids who like the dog learn that fast. Also, a bigger dog like a lab should be "tougher" and they are known as a breed that likes people and are good with kids.

    Yes, you should find out why they are giving the dog away, just to be sure there are no unexpected problems and, yes, you will be taking care of the dog but, trust me, taking care of a dog is much easier than taking care of a kid or a husband. And in most cases, much more rewarding.

    If you are willing to take on the responsibility and the dog seems like a good fit, I'd say go for it.
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    HoundDog, I've met semi-loyal goldens and labs, but compared to other breeds I've had, such as collies, border collies and borzoi, there is no comparison. Maybe, as you said, you trained your dog to be that way, but I got our golden at 1 yr old, and he'd already been socialized to be with-anyone. Ours does come when called, so that is a good thing. But he has no fear of strangers and will go away with-anyone, especially home repair guys and the UPS man. Go figure. :)
    The upside is that, that is why they are such good family dogs.

    P.S. Maybe it's just a terminology thing. I could have just said they love everybody ...
  8. keista

    keista New Member

    I totally got what TerryJ2 was saying. We used to joke that our golden was so friendly that if the house were robbed or burglarized, the dog would show the thief where all the good stuff was, if the thief just showed him some affection.

    Fortunately, we found this not to be the case when the landlord stopped by at 2am to drop off some papers in our mailbox. Dog knew him, but started growling and barking and woke us up. Sadly we had to give up the dog when we moved.

    I think dogs (pets in general) are great especially for kids with issues (unless issues are severe and the kids hurt the animals). For my house, it's just not happening because I cannot handle yet another responsibility at this time.
  9. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I think that if you can get the dog and know that it will be your dog and that you will take care of it's basic needs, it should be fine. I know that for our family Bubba showed us unconditional love and we needed that. But there were times that M was far meaner to Bubba than he should have been, and M was 13. Can you get the lady to let you spend an afternoon with the dog to see how the fit is?
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I totally agree that some breeds are usually better for kids- goldens being one. But if you're going for a medium to large sized dog, you might want to wait until your son is a little older and bigger. The other thing to keep in mind- loving a pet doesn't necessarily mean a young child will be well adept to treating the animal the way it needs to be treated- it depends on how your son's problems manifest themselves. But in general terms, pets are very good for children, in my humble opinion, in many areas of development and they can be a real godsend for kids with "issues". Not to mention, even though it's usually us moms that end up taking care of the pet, they probably have been as good for helping me cope as they have with bringing something to difficult child's life.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Witz's idea is perfect!
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Thanks very much for your views and experiences. I honestly don't think my son would ever be intentionally cruel to a dog - I have seen him a lot with animals and he seems to have a genuine love for them. But he'd certainly be capable of playing with it over-boisterously... We'll see if this is going to happen... I've rung the woman's mobile (cell) twice but it just goes to answerphone - she said in the notice about it I saw that she is splitting up with her partner and moving away so cannot keep the dog. I am much less of a dog fanatic, by the way - I am not averse to them or anything and think it could be nice to have one but have never kept one... So would be another steep learning curve :)
  13. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    The size factor is something to consider with a small child. My daughter and sister in law have two large breed dogs, one a lab mix. When my grandson was born, the dogs loved him, especially the female dog. They were great with him when he was an infant and very protective of him. But when the baby was big enough to start walking, it became a problem. Neither dog would ever intentionally hurt him but they're so big, if they just bumped in to him they would knock him down. He just turned two now and the dogs are no longer given free run of the house when he's up. They're playing outside or napping in their crates. When he gets a little bigger though, the dogs will be allowed to be around him more.
  14. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    The other thing being that Labs have HUGE tails, and they like to wag them. One big slap in the face to a little 4 year old boy, and your difficult child might not understand that. My Mandy gets excited when she sees a squirrel, and will tromp on my feet to get at them. I have had torn up feet every summer since we got her because she saw squirrel and dug into my feet as she was rocketing across the yard. I make sure to get my feet out of her way, but it's a very conscious effort on my part, and I'm 50 years old. Not something a 4 year old can be expected to do, and definitely something you have to train out of a dog with loving vigilance.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    If you've never been a dog-owner before, I'd recommend a smaller breed for both you and your son- not one so small that it's really super-fragile, like a yorkie, but like a lhasa apso or poodle (miniature, not toy). If you aren't planning on the dog living in the house and that's why you're considering a larger breed, I'd recommend against a dog at all. They really need to be treated like a part of the family.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    That's funny you should say that... The lady hasn't responded to my message and I've started to think... hmmm, a labrador that's quite big - and our house quite small. And J would insist on holding the lead to take him for a walk and wouldn't be strong enough to hold him and... hang on, wouldn't a smaller dog be better? So although I really wasn't thinking of getting a dog right now, maybe this incident has got me thinking about how nice it would be to have a dog - but a smaller one.
    Are there any smaller breeds that are especially good with children? What do you think of the idea of going to the local dog rescue home and choosing one?
  17. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I had a Lhasa Apso when Miss KT was born, and he was wonderful with her. I'm a great advocate for adopting from a shelter, you and J can visit with different dogs and see if any of them choose him...both my Lhasa and my Buddy chose me, the Lhasa by walking in my front door one day, and Bud by getting my attention at the shelter.
  18. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Corgi's are good and are sturdy, which is helpful.
  19. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Lhasas are excellent with kids- but you have to get used to their barking when someone comes to the door. It's in their genes. But you don't need a full-bred. Call your local rescue- a rescue who adopts out of the pound or shelter and spends a little time making sure the dog is sociable and learning if they're house-trained, good with young children, etc,- and asked if they have any small dogs that would be a good fit for your family. If they don't, ask them to call you when they get one in. This will prevent a disappointment in your son if they don't have one that could possibly be a good match. If/when they do have one that might be a good match, they should let you come and visit the dog and see how it goes. And as someone else mentioned- it will be the dog that picks your family out. LOL! But that's the best match when they do. One will come along that makes eye contact with your son, nudges his hand, and your son will fall in love. That's the one you take home. But if you get one from a shelter, ask about any health problems they are aware of first. Some things are easy to work with but you wouldn't want the half-blind senior dog or barely alive dog for a first pet of a youngester. One of my lhasas is purebred, one is probably mixed and gotten from a rescue place. They both fit in our family perfectly and get along well with each other.

    Keep in mind, this particualr breed has to be taken to a groomer for haircuts (unless you learn to do it yourself). Breeds that don't require haircuts will shed and you run the risk of allergies. It's just a matter of which do you prefer- shedding or grooming.
  20. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    That is something else to consider, if this is a really large dog. Some labs get VERY large and muscular and are not easy for adults to handle, impossible for a child. At the prison where I worked, we had a huge black lab, Mick, who was trained to sniff out drugs. His handler was a big, stocky, muscular guy but he went around with splints on his forearms because the dog pulled so hard on his leash. We laughed till we cried one day watching a 300 pound guy trying to hold on to his leash ... he was leaning back holding on to the leash for dear life while the dog dragged him effortlessly along behind him across the waxed floor. He looked like he was waterskiing behind the dog!