Post # 1
Hi Bees! Haven’t posted in awhile, got married almost 2 months ago, it was awesome, and now I’m settling back into real life. I’ve been seeing a therapist for some long-standing issues in my life, and she recently recommended that I adopt a dog. She pointed out that a dog would fulfill some of my safety, security, nurturing, and social needs. However, my husband and I were going to try to get pregnant around January, so getting a dog really hasn’t been on our radar. We always figured we’d get one when our kids are 5 or so, even though we both love dogs. But my therapist feels that getting a dog before the baby could mean I’d be in better mental health before getting pregnant, which would definitely benefit the baby.
I tend to make decisions in a very logical way after doing a lot of research. But I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer to this one! My mom thinks it’d be a bad idea to get a dog because she thinks it’d be hard to take care of both a dog and a baby, and it could be dangerous to have a dog around a baby. My emotional side is pretty excited about the thought of adopting a dog, and my husband is definitely on board.
I was thinking it could be a good idea to adopt a dog that’s 4 or older, so it’s no longer a puppy and could really use our help. And then we can get another dog “for the kids” when this dog is gone. I’d also make sure the dog is well-socialized and good with children. I don’t actually know too many people who have both babies and dogs, and once you start googling babies and dogs, all you see are horror stories, so that concerns me.
I would love to hear from people who had a dog before they had a baby. Do you think it made new parenthood more difficult? Did you wish you didn’t have a dog? Were there safety concerns?
Post # 3
We got a puppy last Thanksgiving. She just turned a year in September. We are currently TTC. We thought it would be a good idea to get used to being a little less selfish. To have to take care of something else. She has become our baby and can’t imagine life without her now. I think getting a dog before baby is a good idea. That way you can also train the dog the rules of your home before introducing it to a child. And I think it could be beneficial to your mental health as your therapist mentioned.
Post # 4
@sunsetchristy: We don’t have kids yet, but we do have a dog that we adopted at 2 years old rather than a puppy and I just wanted to say I think that’s totally the way to go if your looking at ttc in January. Plus, alot of those dogs get overlooked at the shelters as people would rather have puppies. I think an older established dog would be optimal with a baby, and most shelters and rescue organizations should be able to tell you if the pooch is good with small children or not so I wouldn’t worry about that- if that’s what your mom means…
Our pups was a 2 year old pitty mix when we adopted her from the shelter & it was great having a pooch already trained (no accidents, no chewing or destroying things, less rambunctious & more chill). We did have to work with her on leash training and she is still leash-reactive around other dogs and will bite them if they get too close. But we’ve had her around kids & baby’s and she is totally unfazed with them… Older pups are pretty awesome!
Post # 5
we have had a dog for 2 years. He has been great practice for having a kid. Honestly. The house is already baby proofed and i cant take my eyes off him for 2 minutes or he is into something. My patience has improved greatly since getting him.
Post # 6
I’m not one to argue with your therapist who obviously knows your situation better than we do, but it sounds like she is just recommending a pet and not a service dog? I’d suggest that if you weren’t planning on getting a dog at this point in your life, then don’t. I don’t believe that being a pet owner pre-baby automatically makes you a better parent/not owning a pet makes you a worse parent. Try not to worry about it from that angle. I read a very honest opinion piece about this topic a few weeks ago that argues against dog before baby (http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2013/07/kids_and_dogs_if_you_re_having_a_baby_do_not_get_a_puppy.html), but I know plenty of people who introduced babies to their pets no problem. So I would advise to get a dog only if you really want one now, not because your therapist put the idea in your head. You’re the one who will have to take care of and pay for it, not her!
Post # 7
I have a dog and kids and it’s honestly not a big deal. I mean are dogs work? Yes, especially at the beginning. But they aren’t a round the clock type of thing like a child is. I think your idea to get a dog ( not a puppy) from a shelter/rescue that can tell you the in’s and out’s of the animal is the BEST idea. A good rescue will be able to tell you if the dog is good around kids, it’s likes/dislikes and help find you the right fit for your family. I’d give yourself and the dog at least a few months together before TTC though, it really can be adjustment at first. My dog is one of the loves of my life and a member of our family, I hope you are able to find the same joy 🙂
Post # 8
I don’t see anything wrong with getting a pet now. If you have time to get the pet comfortable with you, you are doing the pet and yourself a favor by rescuing it. There’s nothing unsafe about having pets AND kids, so idk why your mom put that out there. And it’s not difficulot to care for a well trained pet and a child. All they need is love, food, and a few walks, or to be let out, depending on the dog. If you do want a pet, getting one now rather than during pregnancy or after birth is probably the best way to do it.
Post # 9
DH and I just recently rescued a dog. We both want to ttc in the next few months, will be switching to NTNP after this last pack of BCP.
I can, from experience, say that adopting a dog really put us in the mind frame to start having children. Not saying that a dog is the exact same, but it makes you think a bit before making plans. We’re tied down a bit more than we were before we got Oakley. We need to think about our plans in advance.
Not to mention the whole “taking care of something (someone) else” feeling is enabled and you definitely take on a maternal instict.
I love having our own dog, he really is part of us and its awesome to see DH so loveable with the dog– and even protective over Oakley (when neighbor dogs are out, making sure he’s safe, etc.) It makes me even more excited for when we have a child of our own.
Be sure to find out your (future) dog’s temper around children before adopting & I would definitely support your decision to rescue a dog that is a bit older and may not have a chance compared to the cute, fluffy, adorable puppys (who are LOTS of work on their own!)
Post # 10
Have you had your own dog before? A lot of rescues will not place dogs with people who are planning on having a baby in the near future, just fyi.
Post # 11
@sunsetchristy: Hoping for a baby in the next year or so and we have two dogs. One we adopted 5 years ago as an adult dog, one we adopted as a puppy last winter. Having the dogs has been a wonderful thing for us and we learned to care for creatures as a team in a way that makes a feel a tiny bit more prepared to parent a human baby. We’ve successfully handled a number of stressful behavioral and medical issues in the dogs. We already don’t get to sleep in because of the them, are quite used to juggling our schedules to be sure the dogs don’t spend much time alone without one of us, and we can’t be as spontaneous about late nights out or trips away. The puppy especially was good practice for living with sleep deprivation because he wasn’t yet sleeping through the night when we got him. 🙂
Some of my friends with dogs consulted with an animal behaviorist to get tips for helping the dog adjust to a new baby, so if that’s a concern for you, there is help available!
Post # 12
My dog is 2.5 years old and she is still a handful! She’s stubborn, gets into stuff, digs holes in the yard, tries to kill ALL THE SQUIRRELS. However, she has been a huge lesson in patience for me (something that I’ve always been lacking), and I absolutely love her to pieces. Hopefully by the time we have kids she will have settled down a bit… Large breed dogs tend to take a little longer to mature, according to my vet, so there is hope for her yet.
I would definitely not have wanted to wait until AFTER having a baby to get her… I can’t imagine dealing with a newborn and a crazed animal! Haha
Post # 13
Raising our puppy together definitely taught my husband and I a lot about each other. 🙂 I think it was good practice for kids some day. Our field instructor (she was supposed to be a service dog but failed) said the best thing she did before having kids was raise 6 puppies with her husband.
I would NOT want to have to deal with a puppy and a baby, though. Our dog is 3 (damn, almost 4!) and only within the past 1-2 years has really settled down and matured. She still goes CRAZY when our best 3 year old friend comes to visit and we have to be really careful she doesn’t get knocked over or have all her food stolen (baby’s fault as much as the dog’s, but kids are like that). 🙂
Post # 14
Honestly no I wouldn’t a dog and a baby are huge responsiblities. And I grew up with having a dog. Personally I wouldn’t get a dog unless you are going to wait at least a year or so before you have a child. I would love to get a dog, we have a cat already and think our 2 year old would have a grand time with a “puppy” what he calls dogs. But I also know having both there is so much can go wrong and work to both at the same time.
Post # 15
We got our dogs last year (when we were both 24) specifically because we didn’t want to have a puppy (read: dog under 2 years) and an infant at the same time. By the time we start TTC, our dogs will be 6 and 7. Calm, gentle, well trained and well socialized. Barring any major illnesses, that means the next time we’d have a puppy would be when the oldest kid was between 5 and 7 so they could help with responsibilities and be comfortable with dogs.
The only person we know that has a dog and has had a baby recently is a friend of mine who got a golden retriever puppy when her kid was two or three. Puppies (particularly labs and goldens) can be mouthy and now the kid is terrified of all dogs.
Post # 16
@sunsetchristy: We got a puppy in June.l He is 6 months old right now and we are currently 16 weeks pregnant.
I think it has really helped us becuase havfing a puppy is like having a kid (or so they say–and actually my mom says Napoleon is way tougher than a child lol).I don’t know how much it is going to be to handle once baby comes along. I am sure it won’t be easy, but we will make it. I am nervous about introducing baby to dog or dog to baby because dog is QUITE spoiled, so I am not sure how he will handle sharing, but he does love kids. He just has a massive size, and we need to be very stern with his training.
However, adopting a dog that is older, if you do it now, would give you enough time to get over the doggie anxiety stage and enough time to bond with it while you are TTC and pregnant. I would make sure the dog has LOTS of time with kids and is already kid friendly. I think it is doable though.