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Hi

Me and my husband have been looking into getting a dog. We don’t have children at the moment, but will probably start a family in 2-3 years, so we need our dog to at least have the potential to be tolerant of babies.

I grew up with a toy poodle, but am aware these aren’t the best to have around kids so we are considering a miniature. A standard would probably be too big for us. Does anyone have any advice on getting a mini poodle before, rather than after, kids? I’ve read mixed things about whether poodles are or aren’t good with kids, with some saying standards are more tolerant, and some saying none of them are that great, so would really appreciate some owner opinions!
 
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Our now 5 month old standard poodle loves our 2.5 year old son. It has taken the last three months to get to that point with constant correction and reinforcement with both of them every minute they are together. :)

We didn’t do it the other way around because life did not permit it at the time, but having an established dog who is super socialized to infants, babies, toddlers, and young children and ideally from a breeder who has younger children or has them around a lot would most likely be the easier path. Or wait until your kids are older.
 

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If you don’t have any experience with dogs, I would say it’s probably easiest to get the dog as a puppy when your child is 1-2 years old. Puppies are easier to mold than older dogs.

Any dog can be a challenge with kids if you don’t teach them, and the kid, how to behave in the presence of one another.

Having said that, I would definitely say a toy poodle might be a bigger challenge with children, as any smaller dog would be. Small dogs know they are small and tend to be more fearful of sudden moves, which children do all the time. But sometimes there isn’t a big difference in a toy and miniature. Look in my signature. Which is the toy and which is the miniature ?
 

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I can’t speak to toy poodles but we had two chihuahuas prior to having kids. It was very important in the toddler years to set up a place that the kids could not go and the dogs could if they needed space. For us it was a bathroom with a small doggie door. The dogs and the kids coexisted without any issues except one pup hated to potty near the stroller. We don’t have a yard so the kids had to come whenever we went out and the fear of stroller was tough to manage.
 

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Don't ever let the puppy jump on you. Those nails are sharp. Don't let the puppy sleep with you. Beside the bed is fine, but not in the bed, this could cause problems later on with the baby. It might not, but better to be safe.

Don't give the puppy full run of the house. Keep him confined to just a couple of rooms, use baby gates if needed. This is so he will feel more secure.

It is better to be taking the puppy outside often rather than having him pee or poop in the house. There are numerous threads on this matter in the Poodle Forum. Count how long he needs to pee before he is empty and run around with him outside until he is done.
 

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I had dogs before kids and wanted them to be kid proof so I did things the kids would do. Pulling on ears and tails, hugging, startling awake. Not all the time, but enough so that when it happened my dogs were just like “oh there she goes again.” I also took them on walks around active kids so they could see that a kid running around was no big deal. By the time we finally had kids, my dogs were all older, so I’m sure that helped too, but my dogs were always fine around my nieces.
 

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Here’s my $.02. The last thing you want to do to yourself is try to raise a puppy while you have a baby in the house. Not because of compatibility issues, but because you will die from exhaustion. I can’t imagine trying to keep up with a puppy while caring for 0-2 year old child. I have a 5 year old son who was four when we brought Happy into our family. They are wonderful together and have a sibling like relationship. Personally, I’m glad we opted for a SPOO as I don’t have to worry about my son inadvertently hurting Happy. Will there be bumps, scratches, scrapes and a few tears? Of course there will. At 10 months, Happy is past puppy biting and has a remarkable level of self-control when playing with small kids. It usually the kids who lose control.
My recommendation is to get your puppy at least year to a year and half before the arrival of your first born. That way you’ll be through the worst part of puppy-hood and can devote yourself to your baby. I think you’ll have zero issues introducing an infant to young well-grounded adult SPOO/MPOO. On the flip side, you could hold off getting a puppy until your son/daughter is around three years old. That way you won’t be chasing after baby and puppy at the same time. Even now, I have a 10 month old SPOO and a 5 year old boy competing for my attention and limited energy. I think option 1 would be the less stressful for all. Good luck.
 

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I feel like it will be easier to raise a puppy before kids, since once its mature, it will be less crazy, less likely to jump all over your children, and you will have time to work on training, without the constant distraction of a kid.

you can easily work on training with other peoples kids, invite friends and their kids over and work on keeping your dog calm around the kids.

if you raise your kid around the dog, you also need to teach your child to respect dogs as well.. good thing baby gates exist.
 
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We did Irish Setter before baby. The dog was a house-trained adult before the baby was born and wasn't all that interested in the baby until he reached toddlerhood. Then the small boy became a good source of treats and activities.

I must say that potty training the dog was much easier....

btw, our mini poodle loves kids. You don't have to have a resident kid.
If we happened on a child at the pet store or park that showed interest, with the parent's permission, we'd have them give the puppy a treat. And we invited neighbor children over to play with him in our fenced backyard.
 

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Some of the sadder stories I've seen are from families who didn't plan the timing. It's always the dog who will end up being rehomed when the realization hits. (no emoji for sad smile)

Whichever you have first, be sure that you're well settled in the routine and getting enough sleep to lose some again for a while. The puppy will be needing much attention thru the first 6-8 months, possibly more.

The more I think on it in general, it probably is more practical to add the puppy first and have it become firmly settled and trained before having children.

Bonus - the puppy experience will translate a lot into the baby experience :).
 

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We got a puppy when our daughter was 8 months old. Provided at least one person is always there to supervise, you can do it, but as other forum members have said, it is a lot of work and you will likely be very tired. As for getting a dog before your baby comes along, people have given good advice here already, and I'd just like to add/reiterate that it's important for you to socialize your dog to children so that your dog, starting from puppyhood, will come to LOVE and accept children. For us, that meant inviting the neighborhood children over every day for the first month we had our dog to play with her in a fun but controlled way -- running around with her, petting her, just sitting with her. Now she loves children. The only problem is that sometimes she loves them so much, that she overwhelms toddlers, even though she is still a small puppy herself. It is all playful energy, but it can be too much for a little kid because she's nearly their size now (she's a SPOO). But you will figure it out. The top priority is always safety of the child, first and foremost, and to me that means working really hard with the puppy so that she will be safer around the baby/child.
 
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