Puppies With Children
Here at The Doodle Club our team have a combined experience of over 40 years working and training puppies with every sort of family combination. We have come together to be completely honest about the realities of getting a puppy when you have a young family. We hope our information provided on this page helps you, and if you find our information helpful please share with your friends.
Puppies with young children.
This is the ultimate question, and it will vary with every person, every family and every breed of dog. Every breeder will have a different opinion based on the dogs they breed and knowing how suitable they are for young children so please do ask your breeder about their dogs and how suitable they are for families with younger children.
Our immediate response is no – don’t do it. It is extremely hard work and having a dog with young children is an extra hassle. When you have young children you're exhausted and barely have enough time for yourself, let alone adding a puppy into the mix.
A good breeder will only want the best homes for their puppies. They want you to succeed and get the most out of having a dog as part of your family. They don’t want puppies being returned because things haven’t worked out. Good breeders really take it personally and part of their job is to make sure you succeed.
So, we are going to be brutally honest with you, as this is what The Doodle Club is about! We will never lie or mislead your family. The welfare of any breed of puppies is of the upmost importance to us as we believe every dog deserves a good life. If you have young children (we class young children as pre-school, age under 5) getting a puppy is difficult. It’s difficult in the sense that children under 5 are at the perfect height for a nipping puppy. Puppies are likely to wake up babies from naps, steal food from your children, and young children are the perfect height to be easily knocked over or hurt from a puppy. They are also at the correct height to be a target of play for your puppy. So, this has to be managed correctly. When we say correctly, we don’t mean putting your puppy away constantly or punishing your puppy for normal puppy behaviour.
To raise a puppy correctly alongside young children, you need to be prepared to do anything possible to make it work and learn as much as possible about your puppy and their needs, as well as your child’s needs. To us, it is no different to having another child and bringing them home from the hospital, for your older child to have mixed emotions about this annoying new thing in their house that takes up all of mummy and daddy’s precious time. You may now feel completely overwhelmed and guilty at seeing your child be upset by their new sibling. However, as time goes by, you feel like you have always had 2 children and you couldn’t imagine life with only one child. We had the same feelings when we had our dogs with our young children. If things aren’t going to plan and your baby is difficult, you're having no sleep with your older child being upset all the time, you don’t give up! You have to make it work. You can’t simply go back to the hospital and hand your baby back. If you can enter getting a puppy with a positive mindset, you will succeed. But if you're already having doubts unfortunately, we don’t think getting a puppy will be a good idea and we would ask you to consider waiting until your children are of school age.
It can be done, and we have many success stories of our puppies going to homes with young children. We as good breeders know our lines, but we can’t speak for all breeds of dogs or even all Australian labradoodles. A lot of our breeding dogs, males and females, live with children under 5. Our families have done an amazing job raising their puppy alongside young children but that is because they loved their dog and they wanted it to work. That’s not to say it was easy, but they managed to find solutions around problems they may have incurred. You need to find a suitable puppy for your family that is non-aggressive, does not have a high prey drive and that does not require huge amounts of exercise. What our Australian Labradoodles do require is love and to be treated as an important member of your family. They want to be with you, and they want to make you happy.
These are the important things we need you to consider
Space – is your home big enough? Your puppy needs it's own space as part of your home and your child should also have their own space for what they need. We don’t mean shutting your puppy out of the way. We mean, can you corner off your lounge so that your child can crawl freely without being chased or nipped. This should not be a punishment for your puppy, but more a safe zone. Safe zones have to go both ways. Your puppy also needs a safe zone, one that they can go to where they won't be bothered by your child.
Rules - we have basic rules for our dogs and puppies that are a must and must be followed. For example, our dogs and puppies are always shut out when our children are eating. They are not left to beg underneath a table. We start this when they are puppies so that when they are adults, it's standard practice and our dogs understand they don't enter the dining room when we're eating. Now, when you set rules for your puppy, everyone in your household must follow the same rules. We also don't let children walk around when they're eating, so don't let your toddler walk around with food in their hands. They have to eat food at the table where the dogs can't get to them. If you don't put rules on your child, you're setting your puppy up to fail because the puppy doesn't understand a child walking around with a sausage roll. They are going to take the sausage roll, and not understand why they have done something wrong.
The same goes in our house with toys. Our children know not to leave toys lying around and any precious toys they have must be kept in their bedroom. If they leave a toy laying around and the puppy chews it and destroys it, it's not the puppy’s fault, is their fault for leaving it lying around. For younger children this can be difficult to understand, which is why it's good for your child to have its own space where they keep their own toys. This is why we suggest using a lounge as a safe place for your child. If your child then leaves toys lying around the hallway and they get chewed, you must tell your child to keep their toys in a set place. We promise they will soon learn, and you will have a happy household.
Respect - respect is a really hard one as a toddler doesn't really understand personal space and a puppy doesn't understand it either, so the easiest way in our experience to deal with this is to set rules and explain to your child not to pick up your puppy, and to leave your puppy alone if they are becoming more bitey, If your puppy is becoming too much for your child to deal with, make sure your child goes to their safe space, for example we suggested using a lounge. When our children were younger and we had puppies, they sometimes got upset at the puppies nipping their legs or bottoms or hands, we would tell them to get on the sofa and get out of the puppies way, we never used to punish the puppy for doing what was natural to them but we would remove our child from the situation. We suggest using a pen with a crate for the day and this is your puppy's safe space. You must ensure your child does not enter the puppy's space, no matter how cute it is or how much they want to be in there that is not their space, it's the puppies space.
Time - you really must have time for your puppy, and your child. A puppy needs a lot of interaction just like your toddler, their behaviour gets worse if they're tired, it also gets worse if they're bored so you have to find a happy medium. Your puppy needs to be kept awake between the hours of 8pm and 10pm otherwise they won't sleep at night, it is so hard to give 100% in the day when you're running on little or no sleep. Sleep is so important for you and your puppy, Just like when your child hasn't slept enough and they're miserable the next day, it's the same for your puppy. We really recommend crate training your puppy and we have done videos for you to help you succeed.
Size – size of the dog you are getting also has a huge impact, we specialise in mini’s and medium Australian Labradoodles as they are the perfect size in our opinion for a family with young children. Smaller dogs are far easier to manage as they don’t require huge amounts of exercise, easier to control, and a lot less scary for young children.
Love - what is love? Love is something we feel passionately about when it comes to our puppies. If you feed your dog appropriate meals, give them daily affection, daily walks, is this love? No, it's not love. Love is where you put their needs above your own, love is knowing when something is not right, love is helping them be the best they can be, love is helping them succeed and living their best life, love is planning to minimise any stress, love is protecting them, love is when you can't imagine your life without them. So we’re asking you to think long and hard if now is the right time and whether you really can love your puppy.
Since our dogs are raised continually with young children we know that our puppies are a great fit for any family and if you ask any of our families they will all say the same. We only have the puppies for a very small amount of time, for their first 4 weeks of life they hardly move and for the next 4 weeks we have them we are weaning them, playing with them, going out in the car, vets, crate training and doing more than any other breeders we know! We are so confident with how we raise our puppies that we let you watch them live on our puppy camera. We do our very best to make sure our families are as prepared and ready as they can be but ultimately it’s your jobs to raise the puppy and help them be the best they can be.
A good way of explaining how a good breeder feels is to compare ourselves to a baker. We are making the best possible cake we can! We grow our own organic ingredients, weigh out each ingredient, perfect the perfect mix and put it all together from our years of experience. Then we lovingly place it into the oven and set a timer. It’s your job to get the cake out and make sure it doesn’t burn. Then you must ice the cake using the guidance we have provided (which we all know is the hardest part), but it’s even harder if you go a breeder that is new, has no experience and is not breeding from their own line.
We hope what you have read today will help you make your decision on when is a good time to introduce a puppy to your family.
We are passionate about what we do and breed so have come together to create The Doodle Club - To help you as we believe every dog deserves a good life!