Owning a dog before you have children?

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-15-2007
Owning a dog before you have children?
Thu, 10-13-2011 - 8:38pm

Hi all,

I have a quick question for you, and personal experiences would be appreciated!

<*KATJA*> My Ovulation Chart


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
Thu, 10-13-2011 - 9:09pm
I dont have a dog (we have a cat) and our cat was a little...off...for about a month. I cant really pinpoint his issues other than he seemed a bit depressed he wasnt the centre of our world anymore (he's hugely needy, so not like a normal cat). I have NEVER been concerned about Figaro and the baby even when he was acting weird but we are just generally smart and vigilant about kids and animal interaction. But my BIL and SIL have a dog and they have a baby coming in February. The dog is a NIGHTMARE now and they've had him for 3 years already. He's a Puggle (pug and beagle mix). He's not trained at all and I can see a whole host of issues when their baby comes. So I think if you have a well trained dog that is of a breed that is known for being kid friendly, I would go for it.

One benefit to waiting is to find out if your kids will be allergic to a pet. My friends got our cat when their son turned about 18 months. They only had him for 6 months before we adopted him because their son was allergic. It would be hard to get attached and then have to re-home the animal later.

Good luck!!


iVillage Member
Registered: 09-03-2004
Thu, 10-13-2011 - 10:06pm

We had no problems at all.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2004
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 8:38am

We have done both. We had Lilly ( a now 9 year old pug) and our cat when we got prego with Simon. Lilly had a little bit of an adjustment period when Simon arrived as she was the "baby" but he does find with Simon and altered really well when Simon arrived.



iVillage Member
Registered: 10-15-2001
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 8:59am
We got our dog when we were engaged. I actually hid her in my college apartment! (I think that is the most rebellious thing I ever did...LOL) Hannah is a labrador mix, and she was totally okay with the addition of all three kids. She never missed a beat. She kind of sniffed the babies a bit when they first arrived, but then she never paid much attention. When the boys became toddlers, I was a little worried that their rough play would make Hannah nervous, but she took it all in stride. She has always been very gentle and extremely patient with the little guys!

I wouldn't wait! I can't imagine not having my sweet Hannah.
Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 9:16am
We've done both before also, and although I think it's harder to bring in a dog later on, both have worked out well. A lot of it depends on the dog's temperament.

We adopted our first dog when she was 2 and before kids, so she was already through a lot of the puppy behavior and trained somewhat. She took the kids in stride, she had a very sweet and gentle nature. Adopting a dog now would give you the chance to make sure they are properly trained and socialized beforehand.

With our 2nd dog, we adopted her when our youngest was a year old, about 4 months after our 1st dog has passed away. That was a hard adjustment because the newer dog was less than a year, more spastic and our youngest wasn't used to having a dog running around and was scared. It took a longer adjustment period, but she gets along wonderfully with the kids.

I would suggest no matter when you adopt that you do a lot of toddler behavior to the kids to see how the dog responds, such as pulling on their ears, roughhousing a little, watch if they get possessive when they eat, etc. Personally I think you should get the dog now, they will add a lot of love to your life :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-16-2008
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 10:27am
I don't currently have a dog, but if I were you, I would go ahead and get it. Then, I would make sure I played "rough" with it some (pull tail and ears gently) just so it knows that sensation before a baby comes along. I would also make sure it's extremely socialized. Expose him/her to LOTS of kids.

And my personal story: my parents had a dog before I was born. Buster was a sweet black lab, but once I came home, he would run people off if they got too close to his baby (me). After he died, we got Maggie. I was 2, and my brother was about 8 months. She was 8 weeks. We all grew up together, and I remember her laying at the foot of the slide so my brother would hit her instead of the ground. So either way works. But I would get the dog. I want one desperately!
by sara photo sigbysara.jpg
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-14-2007
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 11:14am

We got a dog a year ago, before we started TTC. We purchased him from a breeder (we got a labradoodle - they are very smart and are good family dogs).

We have been taking Jake (our labradoodle) for training to prepare him and get him calmed down a bit before the baby arrives (he still was having 'puppy fits' and was difficult to calm down). He is doing awesome and we're not worried about him being around the baby. His trainers think he is doing amazing as well, and will come over if we have any issues come up when the baby arrives.

I agree with pp who said to try playing with the dog's ears and tail to see how he/she reacts to it. I have been petting/rubbing/pulling on Jake's ears and tail and he is very used to it now.

Avatar for sandyc299
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-08-2008
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 3:38pm

We adopted our dog from the dog warden when he was 5 1/2. My husband and I were married about 8 months at the time and we decided to get a dog. We adopted a Miniature Schnauzer. Casey is now 13 years old. He has been pretty good with David and pretty tolerant of him. He's only snapped at him maybe twice and has never bit him.

David Nicholas 12/5/09
Expecting a GIRL 3/23/13

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-15-2004
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 7:16pm
Dog Warden, I like that! I'll have to remember that the next time I "bail" a dog out and release it to their owners. Oh and YEAH for Adoption! Coming from someone who runs a shelter. Shelter dogs (and cats!) can make wonderful pets!



iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2008
Fri, 10-14-2011 - 10:57pm

We have one very needy cat (Ruby - sounds just like yours! haha) but I grew up with two Beagles and was a dog-walker last summer/fall. Forgot who mentioned the Puggle but you are right on. One of my clients had a Puggle, a Beagle, and a Chocolate Lab and it was so chaotic to walk all three of them at once because the Puggle was a spaz! So I definitely think it depends on the breed.

Our cat is 7 now so he was an adult when Selin came along. We had two cats at the time actually but had to give his sister to a shelter because one day she just decided to hiss at anyone and anything and it was right before Selin started crawling so I was worried. The remaining cat has done fine with Selin, he's not crazy about her, but he'll let her pet him, etc. Selin of course ADORES him.

We've actually been thinking a lot lately about whether to keep our cat because he has become SO needy since we gave his sister up last summer and I feel so guilty that there are many days that I don't even have the time to pet him. After working all day then taking care of Selin, I don't need another thing to take care of at night. I know that sounds horrible but most likely we will keep him because I told DH no one is going to adopt a 7 yo cat and he also has major behavior issues with strangers so we can't even give him to someone else. I just can't live with putting him down for the sake of convenience.

We travel a lot, mostly internationally, so having a cat works better for us than a dog because we can leave him home alone for part of the time we're gone. I do miss having a dog though but I think it's going to be a long while before I can convince my DH to get a dog. ;-)

I say go for it! GL!