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Hi All,

So I have a deposit down on a litter, due March 10th.

I'd like to hear some encouraging stories from other poodle owners with small kids. I have 2 boys, 1 and 3 years old. I have been considering a dog for about 2 years, but kept delaying the decision partly because of the birth of son #2, and partly because I couldn't find a rescue dog that seemed to fit the criterion I wanted (socialized with young children, good with other dogs in a dog park type situation).

I started looking at doodle crosses, but later discovered that Standard Poodles seemed to have everything I was after in a breed, I fell in love. Turns out my favorite "local to MI poodle breeder" in MI was breeding the dog I liked the most. So I put down a deposit, and let the breeder know I was pretty sure but would possibly move the deposit to anther litter in the future if the time arrived and my kids were just too much.

Half the time I think I'm making an insane decision, but I've also heard some really great stories from people with kids and standard poodles. I'm looking for more encouraging stories!

Additionally, I chose the breeder because she seemed to highly value socialization, which is very high on my priority list. I need a well-socialized puppy more than anything else.

For those who are wondering, I'm planning to take the puppy to classes, and I'm aware that this is a high-supervision situation (dog + kids).

Just want to hear a few encouraging stories, as I appear to be on track for a puppy mid-May!

Thanks!
c.
 

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Unless you are a highly organized and structured person with lots of dog experience, I think your children are too young for you to get a puppy at this time. If you are a 1st time dog owner, I think that this is a recipe for disaster.

It has nothing to do with Poodles which I think are great with kids. It has everything to do with the hectic life of a family with two young children. I know... I've been there (I had 3 in 3 years). Those flappy toddler hands are like crack cocaine to a young puppy. It can be very challenging to keep the puppy from nipping. Your oldest will be turning 4 right when your Poodle is in its teenage stage. Since you have never had a 4 yr old, I will tell you that this is a very, very tough age. Children in this developmental stage are physically and emotionally out of bounds.

If you do not set good boundaries for the puppy it might start to see your children as peers and this can lead to things like resource guarding.

How will you watch puppy when you are busy watching the boys? A puppy has to be watched constantly when it first comes home if you want any chance at good house training. Poodles are not a dog you can turn out into the backyard. Are you planning on spending time with puppy when the boys nap? Do you want that additional commitment? How will you find time to train and go to class? You absolutely can not take the boys to class with you. You will not get anything done.

I'm not trying to be negative, only realistic. Who is your breeder in MI? Does this person have years of experience with Poodles? Have they actually trained Poodles to some sort of performance title? Will they be a good training resource for you?

As a breeder, I have personally placed a puppy in a home with a 3 & 5 yr old. The mother was an experienced dog person and she ran a well organized home. They were also given the gentlest and most submissive puppy in the litter. On the other hand, I turned down a family with a 2 & 4 yr old because when they came to my house, all they did was run after their 2 yr old. IMHO they did not have time to take care of a puppy too.
 

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Hi

We had a Rottie for 14 years and then he passed away april 09...I have 2 kids 5 years old and and 2 year old...we did purchase a standard poodle june 09 and he was 5 month old...we did take obedience classes and also agility courses...I don't know if my standard poodle is different from others but he is a bit crazy and way too hyperactive...Standard poodle are great with kids, Buddy doesn't have a mean bone but they are very hyper and a lot of work ...if I knew what I know now I would've not gotten a puppy standard poodle...Kids do love him very much but he always gets himself in trouble ...It's really like having another child in the house...lots of work and very hyper...Good luck in your decision
 

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A well bred Poodle should not be hyper and a Poodle with an ideal temperament would practice moderation, even as a puppy. However, I think what happens is that with young children, life just gets away from you. All of the foundation work, so necessary to a family companion, just doesn't get done and families end up with Poodles who don't have good boundaries and who aren't clear about house rules.

My recomendation is that you contact different show breeders who may have finished show dogs to place. Recently, two breeders in our area placed retired show dogs, both bitches. These girls are crate trained, leash broken, house trained and as Champion show dogs, they had been every where and exposed to just about everything. They are good with other dogs and great with people of all ages. As a triple bonus, they come fully health tested! What a deal!

Sometimes these Poodles are available for the cost of their spay/neuter. Other times they cost more than a puppy, but whatever the cost they are worth every single penny.
 

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I agree, you will love having trained adult dog in the household. Puppies are cute, but that cute is major work! You don't need the added stress right now, but I do agree, having a nice standard poodle would be a wonderful experience for your family.
 

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I agree with much of what cbrand has said. A puppy, regardless of breed, can be a challenge with little kids. It's hard to teach the really young kids not to run from the puppy, and of course it's difficult to teach the puppy not to chase the running kids. Kids move fast and it's just too exciting and fun to a puppy. Lots of headaches can be avoided if you wait a couple of years.

Our son was 4 when we got our Golden and that was a good age. He could be reasoned with and follow instructions well. He even helped with training her until he decided that he was really a cat person :). My son is 17 now, and our new Standard puppy is so good...most of the time. But, it's still a lot of work! (kid too LOL)

A retired show dog, or an older trained puppy, are great ideas. I know on the MA Poodle Club site right now there is a 9 month old Standard that's potty trained etc.. You might be able to find similar in your area.

Good luck!
 

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Unless you are a highly organized and structured person with lots of dog experience, I think your children are too young for you to get a puppy at this time. If you are a 1st time dog owner, I think that this is a recipe for disaster.
<snipped>
It has nothing to do with Poodles which I think are great with kids. It has everything to do with the hectic life of a family with two young children. I know... I've been there (I had 3 in 3 years). Those flappy toddler hands are like crack cocaine to a young puppy. It can be very challenging to keep the puppy from nipping. Your oldest will be turning 4 right when your Poodle is in its teenage stage. Since you have never had a 4 yr old, I will tell you that this is a very, very tough age. Children in this developmental stage are physically and emotionally out of bounds.

If you do not set good boundaries for the puppy it might start to see your children as peers and this can lead to things like resource guarding.

How will you watch puppy when you are busy watching the boys? A puppy has to be watched constantly when it first comes home if you want any chance at good house training. Poodles are not a dog you can turn out into the backyard. Are you planning on spending time with puppy when the boys nap? Do you want that additional commitment? How will you find time to train and go to class? You absolutely can not take the boys to class with you. You will not get anything done. <snipped>
What she said. My kids are 4 & 8. My 4 year old is really too young for this. She is learning, but I don't like things to be too difficult in my life (LOL, but you know there are some people out there who thrive with drama, not me!). In my case I don't have the worries about keeping an eye on my 4 year old when she is NOT with the dog (like you do with a 1 yo), but their interactions are taking a LONG time to get healthy. My (now 40 lb) puppy treats my 4 yo like she's another dog/puppy. Tries to knock her down, sit on her, mouth her. This is not a problem with my older child b/c my older child is #1. bigger than the dog and #2. listened perfectly to the "rules" when it came to teaching the dog how to treat him. We must keep an constant eye on our 4 yo with the dog and continually remind her to stand tall, get right up if knocked down, tell her 'no' or 'ow' when mouthed (Bella doesn't mouth ANYONE else anymore). etc. etc. It is a LOT of work, on top of the usual having a standard puppy "work" or usual having a young child "work."

Just my 2 cents.
 

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What about a mini? Sizewise a mini may be a little more situation appropriate. I understand having your heart set on one though but anyway...

I spent ten years of my childhood desperately wanting a dog, a Great Dane. I knew that I could not do that until I was financially stable and home more often. Fast forward: I'm now 23, been married 3 years, have a mortgage we can afford to maintain on 1 income, a 14month old daughter...and a 14month old mini. I have a baby on the way.

Yep mini, no Great Dane here! DH wanted a toy poodle, as thats what he grew up with, and if a dog was coming inside then it couldn't shed. A mini is still a 'real' dog (sorry toy owners!). I waited until I was a stay at home mother so I could spend time with my dog, I wasn't waiting any longer!

It has been nightmareshly hard at times. Toilet training and having a littley with colic. walking after a stressful day with the baby. Keeping the highly intellegent poodle as engaged as the 4month old taking notice of the world.

My dog will let you do anything around his mouth. I can play in his food bown, remove bones etc etc safely and without hassle. I know I can have kids here, and while he'll jump around the adults he'll settle right down for them. He walks wonderfully on the leash, loves a bit of an obsticale course here and there and enjoys a good game of hide and seek. He is only 14 months, and still alot of hard work with toddler daughter, but they have the best of fun together.My 14month old daughter goes up to EVERY animals she sees (that she's allowed to touch), with an 'awwwwwwwwww' and an incrdibly gentle pat. I love taking my young family to the river for a paddle. (just with the above comments, I get he is still a young pup and child and daughter aren't left unsupervised at all.)

As for my 'interest' being taking over by family duties, I am so over concious about that its not funny. When my husband comes home from work, thats an hour of my time, in which he kicks me and the dog out for our walk around the township. Dog knows it, I know it, hubby knows it, baby knows it. On the days I really trully feel like I can't give him what he needs in a walk I take him next door to a massive enclosed area, for a decent run with a few toys, and an obstcale course with kindy play equipment. I'm lucky to have that facility.

As for his training, pre motherhood I was a personal trainer. As a child I was a showjumper. I wanted a pet that we could compete with too, living vicariously through my dog or what not.

Things haven't gone smoothly, the dog and I have had quite a love hate relationship at times, and that was because I chose the wrong puppy personality from go. We have worked through those, and we now have an awesome member of the family that has learned his place, as we have ours. (Thanks to a few Cesear books!!) We still have a few minor issues, But domestic obedience classes start in April, and agility starts in May.

While I guess I see where the others are coming from...

What I am tryin to say in my rather long winded novel is make sure the whole family are behind you, and that you really do have the right size dog for your family. It will take one parent to basbysit so the other can deal with the exercise needs of the dog.

It is a wonderful experience for the kids, and the dog will grow up with more of a respect for little children too, if situations are handled correctly. Sometimes you'll wonder why the heck you were this stupid, but thats okay, it gets easier. It won't all go to plan, you may end up needing alot of help, but as long as you are willing to admit that, and then go and get it, you'll be fine. You need to plan in advance, prepare ways to stimulate the dogs brain while you are needing child only times.

I wish you the best of luck with your decision, I certainly wouldn't have my family any other way :)
 

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Welcome.

As you said you are aware it's a lot of work - the first year anyway. If you have high energy and love being on the go, you will be good. My BF and are a team so we BOTH look after 4 dogs - our kids are grown (pretty much) so I cannot offer the advise as others - but I am sure you are excited!
 

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Well, I have a lot of kids and my youngest is 2. It's hard at times, I cannot deny it. You do have to work harder to make sure that both child and puppy knows what each is allowed to do and not do. I can't tell you what to do but just know that it's a lot of work but definitely something you can do.
 

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I have a 1 yr old and a 4 yr old. We manage fine. Neither of my boys is really interested in our dogs so the dogs just go around the house and there is never any trouble. Sure when you first get the pup he/she will try to jump on the baby and will have to be taught not to do this, but it doesn't take too long. My children have been around animals their entire lives so this may have something to do with it. Also, I don't let the kids rule the roost with the dogs. They aren't aloud to treat them badly or play roughly for a couple of reasons 1) I want the child to understand you don't treat pets that way 2) I don't want the pup to turn into an aggressive pet towards children. I am very cautious and watch them closely if they are in close quarters but most of the time they just all do their own thing. My 4 year old does not want dogs in his room so if they come in, he shoos them out. Now they know they are not allowed in his area because that is his space and if he doesn't want to deal with them he doesn't have to. The dogs and children learn quickly.

When it is time to groom we all go in the garage, open the door and the kids play with their trucks, toys, etc. while I groom one pup and the other is on a leash tied out to watch. We have a doggy door and the dogs come in and out to go potty so I don't have to "let them out". The dogs have their own crates and if it is nap time or whatever, I just say "in your crate" and they go in their crate.

All this said. It is POSSIBLE but there are days when you will want to pull your hair out cuz the baby is crying, the dog is barking, baby has a dirty diaper and the pup just tinkled on the rug. Also, I stay at home with my children so we have a lot of time to work on things and time to spread around to everyone. I don't know how working outside the home would work with 2 kiddos and a new pup. If you are having reservations, it never hurts to wait until you are completely comfortable about adding a new pup. I have always had a dog honestly so I can't imagine my life without one.
 

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Hi all,

Thanks for the stories / additional things to consider.

I'm at home with my 2 kids, with a park across the street from my house that is good for playing catch and romping with other local dogs, while my kids play on the play equipment. I want to do puppy classes (without the kids), and am hoping that I can do mental stimulation indoor games (ex. hide a treat and let dog find it) that are easily do-able with small children around. And Kongs... lots of Kongs for crate time!

As far as puppy vs. older puppy vs. trained adult, I actually started by looking for an adult. This was my first preference, but after 2 years of on and off searching, I've given up on this. The local breeders I really liked don't rehome their older dogs. The dogs coming into rescues usually aren't suitable for families with young children, or insufficient history is available.

So on to the "puppy or older puppy" discussion. Maybe I should start a new thread.

If I get the tiny new puppy, then the puppy should acclimate to the house and kids with that as its "normal" ? Screaming kids, going to the park, baby crying, etc. This is the explanation I hear from several breeders and people who are much more experienced than I. (Note - my previous dogs were mutts and rescue dogs, and it was before the days of the internet with all its great info, hence a lot of this socialization is pretty new to me).

If I get a slightly older puppy (breeder happens to have a few from previous litter available that are around 4-5 months) then I just missed the very critical socialization window I wanted, right? I know the breeder does socialize them with young children as well as with as many other experiences as possible, but I missed the stimuli that is specific to "my" environment... all for a couple of months of housetraining work. Right?

As far as demands of kids/dogs, I'm thinking that there probably isn't a "perfect" time unless I'm retired like my in-laws with gobs of time. If I wait until the kids are a lot older than I'll be balancing job + family + any extra-curricular activities as well. I guess I'm thinking that there will always be demands on my time, it's just a matter of allocating that time. And I have the number of a dog trainer in case we need extra help with specific situations.

It's super-helpful to hear people's personal experiences and thoughtful concerns. It helps me create a realistic picture of what might go on in my house.

Thanks!
 

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With young kids I really thing the younger puppy is best, but then I had a really young kid!

Good on ya, it sounds like you have done your research and you're realistic in your expectations :) I can't wait to see photos!
 

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I don't think there is a perfect answer here. Everyone is going to have their own opinion on this topic. Some people are more energetic than others and more organized and can balance so many things at the same time. I think to have dogs and kids you have to be one of those people. You have to really just get on a schedule and stick to it and train the entire household what is expected of dog and kid alike.

The thing with the park and the playing is that when you have a dog off leash you need to be watching it constantly and you can't really do that if kids are playing on the equipment. If you have help then great! Just pick an individual dog or puppy that has the temperament that will be suitable for your lifestyle and not what is most appealing based on gender or color. If you can get all three preferences fantastic but go for temperament first and foremost. With kids you are going to want a dog with pretty low drive. Dogs with high drive are gonna chase everything that moves and kids move a lot. You might have to talk to a lot of breeders and meet with them to see their dogs but when you find the one that fits it's worth it all in the end.
 

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Hi Kurioo, I think it's totally do-able. My kids are much older, but even at 1 and 3, kids can learn how to be gentle and respectful towards animals. You can always go on family hikes with the dog. When the younger one and puppy gets too tired, they can nap in a double stroller together. :) And I have seen several people do that!
 

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The thing with the park and the playing is that when you have a dog off leash you need to be watching it constantly and you can't really do that if kids are playing on the equipment.
Exactly! This is the kind of stuff that people have in their minds that is totally not realistic. The puppy/dog would need to be watched the entire time. You CAN NOT just turn it loose to play with the dogs. At the same time, you can not leave your 1 and 3 yr olds (I hope!) on the playground by themselves.

You don't have to wait until you are retired. Just wait until your youngest is in pre-school 2-3 days a week. This will give you dedicated time to spend with the dog.
 

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I see your point Cbrand, but I really don't think I could wait that long on top of what I had already waited! Besides, by the time I have a youngest in daycare 2 mornings a week or what not, I'd be hoping to work part time. I'd rather be at home with the dog 24/7 to start with.

Kids sleep, and hubbys can give mummys and puppies time out at the end of the day for some exercise and fresh air, while daddies and kiddies have some one on one :)

Its like kids, there never is going to be a perfect time, just as long as you know to expect the bad with the good and keep your eyes and ear wide open, you'll be fine.

I think the difficulty arises when families with young children go into it expecting a cute wee moving teddy bear, not understanding a puppies need to chew, know what order he is in the pack, and sleep and exercise.
 

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Sorry, I can't get the quickreply feature to activate.

Actually, about the park thing - I have a setup that actually would allow me to watch the kids AND the dog at the same time. I don't expect this when the puppy is very small, but once the dog is older and fairly reliable in its recall when I call him/her. It's not so easy to explain in an email thread, but suffice it to say that we live in a small neighborhood with no through traffic and a smaller elongated park in the middle of the circular neighborhood AND neighbors who watch out for each other. If you're wondering what Utopia I live in, it's Ann Arbor, MI, the most community-minded place I've ever lived!!

Anyways...

I think it's really helpful to hear what has been hard and what has been good about everyone's situations, and what the doubts and reservations are. I think the issue arises when you get caught up in the emotion of a decision without envisioning how the decision will affect your life to the best of your ability.

Thanks for your thoughts and replies!
 

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I've got to say I have somewhat different thoughts on the whole matter. We got our first spoo Rusty a few months after we were married and when we started having kids 4 years later he was wonderful with them. Rusty passed away while I was preg. with our third child. We adopted Sport a 4 year old spoo when my third was 1 1/2, my second was 3 1/2 and my oldest was 9. He was amazing with the kids even though he had been a kennel dog before we got him. You couldn't have asked for a kinder sweeter soul. Sadly we lost him a few weeks ago and seriously miss him. We added to our furry family over a year ago when we got 2 puppies (litter sisters) Betty Jo and Jenny.

Sometimes it gets a little crazy here. But it sure is working for us. The kids adore the dogs. They have been wonderful with the kids. Sure there have been the occasional problem. But usually when someone growls at the kids everyone gets in trouble. The dog(s) as they are not allowed to growl at the kids no matter what and the kids for doing whatever made the dog growl. Yes I do have to keep tabs on everyone but hey that is part of life. Then again my kids lay on, snuggle, brush, play with and generally adore Betty Jo and Jenny and they are great with them. The kids all want to sleep with them at night.

As far as I'm concerned you have to be sure that you make time for everyone kids and dogs and make sure that you are absolutely fair with everyone. As well it is critical that you spend the time with kids and dogs to teach them how you expect them to behave to each other. My kids are not allowed to be rough with the dogs and if they are I'm quick to remind them how would you like it if someone did that to you? They usually say they wouldn't like it. So then don't do it to the dog.

I think that kids are taught so many wonderful life lessons with dogs. Its a wonderful thing to be able to see them grow up together.
 
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