Puppy and Baby?
October 10, 2009 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Puppy and Baby?

Long story (skip to the end if you like): My wife and I walked out of our apt. 2 weeks ago and found a miniature poodle trying to cross a busy 4 lane avenue. The little guy nearly got hit a few times and we felt that we needed to grab him before he hurt himself. We grabbed him and brought him inside. No colar, no ID, no chip. He was unkempt (matted hair on his underbelly, fleas) but very docile and domesticated. He was so small and nervous we figured there was no way he could have been on the street for long. We called local shelters and animal control and left a description with our name. No one called. Then we got him his shots and a flea treatment.
Then we fell in love.
Fast forward two weeks- we're out walking him, when a car pulls up and a couple gets out and asks us where we found the dog. He's theirs. They breed purebred poodles. He has a pregnant lady about to have a litter at home. My wife, despite falling hard for this dog, gives him up without hesitation. She knows that he should be with his people and his lady. The owners are so grateful that they offer us the pick of the litter.
We're still grieving, but seriously considering taking them up on a puppy. Here's the problem:

My wife is pregnant and due in mid March. The puppies are due this week, but we would have to wait another 8 weeks to take one, which leaves us taking the pup home mid December. After that we have about 3 months until our baby is born, at which time the pup will be 5 months old.

Is this fair to do to the puppy? The baby? As I said, were still grieving the loss of the poodle (yes I realize it was only a couple of weeks, but the first couple of weeks are usually very intense when you fall in love), so we're not exactly thinking straight. We have a couple months to figure this out, so I'd figured I solicit peoples experiences with puppies and babies.

Some specific concerns:
  • Poodles are reported to take longer to house train than other breeds. Will trying to house train a poodle (or any other breed) be significantly more difficult in the cold and snow of a northeast winter?
  • Puppy will be 5 months old when wife delivers -- this is when puppy adolescence begins. Is this bad timing to have a baby when the puppy is entering a difficult behavioral time?
  • The breeders are nice people, but, as mentioned above, the sire was not well kept. What do we need to do to ensure that they are adequately socializing/taking care of the puppy in its 1st 8 weeks of life so that we have a dog that will be ready to fit in well with a family?
  • Is it just too much to have a new baby and a puppy at the same time?
Positive mitigating factors:
  • My parents and my in laws will be here after baby is born to help take care of wife, baby & puppy (and me).
  • Wife is much happier with a dog in her life.
  • We can be home with the pup &/or take him with us most places we go.(Wife is also a grad student with very flexible schedule.)
  • Wife is very much looking forward to training the new pup, even with all the work and time that entails.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, especially regarding any potential problems and/or benefits we haven't thought of yet. Thanks.
posted by brevator to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
Can you ask the breeder if you can take a raincheck? When the puppy is 5 months hold it will likely still need a fair bit of puppy-style attention -- training and more walks than it will when it's older and who knows what else. It will be great for you kid to have a dog as it's growing up, but getting teh dog immediately before having the baby seems unworkable. If the breeder is a breeder then she'll have other litters in a year or a year and half and you can take one of those (assuming that once you have the baby you feel like you can care for a puppy, too).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:21 PM on October 10, 2009

You picked up (and saved the life of) a ratty dog that no one had reported missing for at least two weeks, and it turns out he belongs to a breeder? I'm not sure you should have given the dog back let alone take another animal from them. (Could they prove the dog was theirs?) They are not really demonstrating that they are good caregivers; who knows what kind of hijinks are going on with the bloodlines of their animals.

I'd consider waiting until after your baby is born and you feel settled and ready for a dog. Then look to adopt a similar dog from a shelter. Puppies are a lot of work; you could get an already-housetrained dog from a shelter who is already known to love babies! Best way to find the perfect companion for your child!
posted by Hildegarde at 2:08 PM on October 10, 2009 [8 favorites]

Wait until the baby is older. Then go to the pound and pick out a nice dog. BTW, I would not have given the dog to some random person who said it was theirs. I would absolutely not take a dog from this breeder. The dog was missing for two weeks or more and they did not contact the pound?

There are a lot of lovely little dogs at pounds that need homes. The humane society where I live does a great job of personality typing dogs, so you know what you are getting. If you really want a toy poodle, check with a toy poodle rescue group. They will make sure the dog you get is a good fit and will be able to live in harmony with a baby.
posted by fifilaru at 2:27 PM on October 10, 2009

Yeah, this breeder sounds SKETCHY. Wait until your kid is old enough to really enjoy having a pup and can bond with it. Go to a reputable breeder or a shelter. (I'm all for getting a poodle, though -- I grew up with them and they're wonderful dogs.)
posted by pised at 2:57 PM on October 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

These people don't sound like responsible breeders. Please go to a rescue or shelter instead (petfinder.com is a good way to search shelters by breed) when you're ready, and they can help match you with the right dog.
posted by lemuria at 3:09 PM on October 10, 2009

No colar, no ID, no chip

AKC regulations require that dogs be tattooed, chipped, marked, etc, for identification purposes to ensure that bloodline records are accurate.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:35 PM on October 10, 2009 [5 favorites]

Even if you aren't paying for a dog, I wouldn't want to support this breeder. They should be taking better care of their dogs. Since their breeding operation appears to be less than stellar, you could potentially end up with a dog that has genetic health problems or a poor disposition, which would be really sad for you. However, it sounds like after your two week adventure in dog ownership, you might be ready to have a dog. I would think an adult dog that you know is good with kids would probably be a fine addition now.
posted by mjcon at 7:04 PM on October 10, 2009

It is just too much to have a baby and a puppy at the same time.

Puppies jump and climb, this isn't cool when the dog runs full tilt into your lap after a c-section, comes bounding on to your lap when you are nursing, or jumps all over the bouncy chair. Puppies chew, so they'll run off with the baby toys, burp cloths, anything else on the floor. Puppies nip and have sharp claws, not good for babies. Puppies shit on the floor, and you'll have enough shit to clean up. Puppies get jealous of the new baby and act out. Puppies need exercise, and your wife might have used up all the time and attention on the baby.

My dog was a year old when I had a baby and it was still too much puppy. Get an adult (3+ year old) dog.
posted by crazycanuck at 5:58 AM on October 11, 2009

Response by poster: We walked him back to their house and met his pregnant lady and also saw some of the "lost dog" flyers they were putting up (we didn't see any during the two weeks we had him). I'm confident that they are the legitimate owners.

Yes, we have some reservations about them, but at the very least we felt that he should be with his pregnant lady. Apparently she had been depressed without him.
posted by brevator at 10:22 AM on October 11, 2009

Response by poster: From Mrs. brevator: Thanks for the responses so far. We would have NEVER thought of getting a dog from a breeder or a store (and wouldn't even consider taking one if they hadn't offered to give us one), so many of the concerns raised about the sketchy breeder never really crossed either of our minds. Not to offend anyone, but until I did some reading today, I was really not aware there were "responsible breeders." This is because I come from an animal rights background, the people I know who have gone through a breeder ended up with problems (genetic defects, behavior problems, dogs that don't match breed characteristics, etc.), and the "breeders" I have personally known were more about making a buck than breeding good dogs and finding them good homes.

We are also reading a few dog books now: Parenting Your Dog by Trish King (which a trainer lent us), and How to Raise the Perfect Dog Through Puppyhood & Beyond by Cesar Millan (which was a gift).

Both talk about how to pick a good pup, but I think chapter 2 of Cesar's book "Perfect Match: Choosing the Perfect Puppy", in addition to some of the concerns raised here, is swaying us to #1 not get a dog from these people, so #2 wait to get a dog.

When we do get one, it was always our intention to get one from a shelter or rescue organization. Since there is no urgent rush to get one from this litter, we will probably wait until the babe is a few months old so we can have the time to give a new puppy the attention it needs.

That said, we went back yesterday because I told the owners I'd drop off the proof of rabies vaccination so he doesn't get too many shots etc. He was so excited to see us, and if they said we could take him home, all my concerns would go out the window and mr. brevator & I would be so so so happy to have him back.
posted by brevator at 7:25 PM on October 11, 2009

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