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New to dogs with toddlers - rescue dogs not feasible?

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  • Jan 3rd, 2017 10:15 pm
[OP]
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Jan 23, 2012
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Mississauga, Canada

New to dogs with toddlers - rescue dogs not feasible?

I'm looking into adopting a rescue dog as it was recommended a while back to me instead of buying a dog from a store or a breeder. But it seems that it's not a good fit. We'd be first time pet owners and we have two toddlers (2 and 4 years old). It seems that every rescue dog I've looked at online requires a family with experienced owners or no kids or older kids.

I totally onboard with the idea of a rescue dog - ethically and maintenance wise seems like the right way to go, but maybe not in this situation?
10 replies
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Mar 23, 2008
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You could try talking with the people managing some of the rescue groups and see what they think. You could also try some breed specific rescue groups, as you might have more opportunity to deal directly with the current owners of the dog, so you can get a better idea of the dog's personality.

The problem with dogs and small kids is that small kids aren't trained. They can do things unpredictably, and because you (and the rescue groups) don't know all the details about the dog, you don't know it will react. For example, the 2 year old grabs the dog's ear and bites it. Dog bites back, chaos and lawsuits ensue. So the rescue groups are covering their butts as much as possible.

Have you really looked at what's involved with dog ownership? Managing two small kids and a dog when you're not experienced can be tough. The dog needs attention, the kids need attention, you need to be home on a regular basis to attend to the dog...

My parents have had multiple rescue dogs over the years, including times when we had kids the age of yours. Whenever we had the kids over there, I basically didn't let the dogs and kids be unsupervised in the same room. But frankly, even with the two dogs we have right now, I wouldn't let small kids and the dogs be in the same room unsupervised either... It's not so much the dogs but the kids. The dogs would just react instinctively if they were cornered, grabbed, pinched, or bit.

Sorry for the rambling post... :)

TLDR version: Small kids and dogs are stressful. Especially for new pet owners and unknown dogs.

C
[OP]
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Jan 23, 2012
128 posts
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Mississauga, Canada
Makes sense. I do see families with babies and toddlers with dogs. Presumably those dogs are were adopted as pups and grew up with the kids?
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sguptaet wrote:
Dec 30th, 2016 12:08 pm
Makes sense. I do see families with babies and toddlers with dogs. Presumably those dogs are were adopted as pups and grew up with the kids?
Well, they could have been experienced dog owners, so they knew what kind of things to look out for. They could have had the dog first (rescue or not) and had the kids after, and could have worked with the dog to integrate everyone. They could have adopted the dog as a puppy and everyone grew up together...

Or they could have not given it much thought and things have all worked out. No way to tell. I just think it's good to consider the possibilities in advance, rather than trying to deal with the fallout.

C
[OP]
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Jan 23, 2012
128 posts
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Mississauga, Canada
I think we will wait until the kids are a bit older but in general is it better to adopt pups or rescue dogs for kids?
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For me, I'd take an older dog that's been trained. Finding a good one would be an issue, though. They're not the ones that are getting re-homed usually. The ones getting re-homed are often the ones that have built up bad habits, have personality "quirks", etc. That their current owners can't handle. They might have been abused, neglected, or just not properly socialized from puppies. Hopefully you find out the full story when you talk to the rescue society, but they might not even know.

How much time would you have to allocate to training and puppy care? Because really, it's training for both you AND the dog. Probably you more so than the dog, to be honest. You can work on teaching the dog once you learn what you need to learn. The dog will forget everything it's taught in class if you don't reinforce it at home. Busy families that are always on the go need to understand the commitment needed.

Sorry to be so negative... :(

C
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sguptaet wrote:
Dec 30th, 2016 2:02 pm
I think we will wait until the kids are a bit older but in general is it better to adopt pups or rescue dogs for kids?
How much time do you have? If you can spend the time to train a rescue dog to trust humans please do so!! So many dogs are put down in shelters or mercy killed by people.
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CNeufeld wrote:
Dec 30th, 2016 2:25 pm
For me, I'd take an older dog that's been trained. Finding a good one would be an issue, though. They're not the ones that are getting re-homed usually. The ones getting re-homed are often the ones that have built up bad habits, have personality "quirks", etc. That their current owners can't handle. They might have been abused, neglected, or just not properly socialized from puppies. Hopefully you find out the full story when you talk to the rescue society, but they might not even know.

How much time would you have to allocate to training and puppy care? Because really, it's training for both you AND the dog. Probably you more so than the dog, to be honest. You can work on teaching the dog once you learn what you need to learn. The dog will forget everything it's taught in class if you don't reinforce it at home. Busy families that are always on the go need to understand the commitment needed.

Sorry to be so negative... :(

C
Not quite right. The most common reason for owner surrendered dogs is not having enough time for them.

However, it is very common for rescues to not adopt out to people with young children. The odds of the dog being surrendered all over again go up quite a bit when small children are in the home.

OP, check your local humane society, they generally don't have an issue with kids in the home (breed and individual dog dependent). Visit the place as they don't always have all their adoptable dogs online. But you want to make sure you are prepared to actually have a dog - time and resources. And with young children, they should never, ever, be left alone with a dog. Any dog.
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Beachdown wrote:
Dec 31st, 2016 12:59 pm
Not quite right. The most common reason for owner surrendered dogs is not having enough time for them.

However, it is very common for rescues to not adopt out to people with young children. The odds of the dog being surrendered all over again go up quite a bit when small children are in the home.

OP, check your local humane society, they generally don't have an issue with kids in the home (breed and individual dog dependent). Visit the place as they don't always have all their adoptable dogs online. But you want to make sure you are prepared to actually have a dog - time and resources. And with young children, they should never, ever, be left alone with a dog. Any dog.
Not having enough time for a dog often leads to bad habits for the dog. If the dog would behave as a proper stuffed animal (i.e. sit on the couch and not damage anything), then it wouldn't matter if the owners didn't have time for it. But a bored/ignored dog is often a destructive dog.

But I don't really disagree with your post. :)

C
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CNeufeld wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2017 10:47 am
Not having enough time for a dog often leads to bad habits for the dog. If the dog would behave as a proper stuffed animal (i.e. sit on the couch and not damage anything), then it wouldn't matter if the owners didn't have time for it. But a bored/ignored dog is often a destructive dog.

But I don't really disagree with your post. :)

C
Absolutely, you are 100% right. Those bad habits from lack of attention are generally fairly easy to correct though.

I just hate to see the rescue generalization as it's just as easy to train one of those as it is a puppy. Probably easier even, as you don't have to worry about toilet training and attention span zoomies.
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Beachdown wrote:
Jan 3rd, 2017 6:02 pm
I just hate to see the rescue generalization as it's just as easy to train one of those as it is a puppy. Probably easier even, as you don't have to worry about toilet training and attention span zoomies.
It is going to entirely depend on the dog. Some from rescue come with huge obstacles. Aggression, fear, no training (including not house broken), and as these are set in issues built up over time they may not be as easy to change as the clean slate of a puppy where you set the ground rules from the start.

I think the idea of a rescue dog is fantastic but it will certainly involve careful selection -- I believe given your situation you will want a rescue dog that does not have issues. They are our there, some people just don't have time or money for their dogs and surrender otherwise wonderful companions.

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