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My wife and I are really interested in getting a Golden Retriever. Our last dog (English Bulldog) passed away about 2 years ago. We are now ready to get another dog. Just wondering what the opinion is of others on here - we also have a daughter who will be turning 1 next month. We are hoping to get a dog this upcoming Spring/Summer so our daughter will be around 18 months at that time. I have a feeling that most people will tell us to wait, however - our friends have a dog too and our daughter just goes crazy over it. We really would like to expose her to a puppy now so that the two of them can grow together. Thoughts?
 

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Kristy
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I think I would be more positive if you had said "my wife/I can't stand living without a dog" or "I know a puppy is almost as demanding as a human child, but my home is empty without a dog". I don't think wanting to have your child grow up with a puppy is a wise basis for choosing to add another living creature to your home at this point in your child's development.

Honestly, based on my personal experience, I don't think a puppy is a great idea until your child is age 3 and then is risky unless you and your spouse are willing to put a LOT of time into the puppy's education. I think it really depends an awful lot on many factors:

1) the temperament of your child, is she gentle, is she obedient, is she calm?

2) How much time are you and your wife willing to devote to training your dog? If you are not BOTH 110% on board with obedience training and supervising your child and puppy at all times then you are a disaster waiting to happen. If you both work full time, your free time is taken up with your human child and your puppy doesn't get the time and attention he needs. The puppy needs to receive enough education and attention to reach his full potential.

3) Do you have a toy room that is separate from your main living area? Children's toys and puppies do not mix. An unsupervised puppy will eat an entire barbie doll in 10 minutes and it will cost you a few thousand dollars at the emergency vet, if it doesn't kill your dog. (I speak from experience on this)

4) I assume since you're posting here, you're interested in goldens... are you familiar with the energy level and amount of mental and physical excersise they require on a daily basis? They are going to be be more demanding than your previous pet. I was constantly amazed by my golden's desire to retrieve and need for a job... he was not just a couch potato for many years.

My first golden came home when my daughter was 2 1/2 years old. My daughter was an extremely unusual toddler - calm, obedient, very verbal, empathetic of others feelings. I was a stay at home mom and was able to spend a lot of time on obedience. Even though it went well, after that, I always said I would never bring a puppy home with a child in the house younger than age 3, ever.

My youngest is 3 1/2 now and our new puppy will be coming home at the beginning of the new year. I am looking around my house and realizing we have a lot of picking up to do around here to puppy-proof and make it safe.

I hope you will visit breeders in your area and spend time with them to make sure you really understand the committment you are making for your family if you add a puppy in now. A 60 or 70 pound, excitable golden is a bull in a china shop when un-restrained around children, and most goldens under the age of 3 are ALWAYS full of zest... they knock children over from love, not malice but it will still makes your child cry.

An older dog adoption might really be the way to go.....
 

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We got our puppy last July, and we have 3 kids. My youngest is 3 years old. The hardest part for me is taking Rosie, our puppy, for walks when my 3 year old isn't in the mood. Or when the weather is really lousy, the puppy needs a walk, and I don't want to drag my 3 year old out in the rain/cold/snow. The other problem is, when we go to the park, I've got Rosie on her leash, and I need to "rescue" my 3 year old son from falling off the top of the jungle gym. These are not major issues, but they are small inconveniences that I never thought about before we got Rosie. The other issue is that I must always supervise Rosie and my son when they are together. Again, not a big problem, but sometimes it's sort of inconvenient. The good things absolutely outweigh the minor annoyances. Rosie and my little guy adore each other. Having her forces us to go on fun walks, even on days that we normally might not have done so. Your child is a bit younger than mine, so your experience will be different, of course, but I thought you might want to hear about our experience.
 

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I disagree Nolefan. Children and dogs can coexist at any age. It just takes work. Harley wouldn't be the same dog he is today if he didn't have nieces and nephews to play and romp with. Yes he is very excitable, but, he has always had a gentle touch when it came to children. He spends roughly 2 hours a day with children playing and I have never had an issue with either hurting either. The youngest was 6 months old when we brought him home -- and now he gets the grand position of lead dog in my 1 puppy dogsled team.

Truthfully, you cannot find a gentler or more patient temperment than a golden. They are the best choice for children but this is going to take a lot of work on behalf of the person bringing home the dog to a child so young. I wish you luck on this endeavour!
 

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Kristy
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Of course you are right, Braccarius, on dogs and children being able to coexist just fine... I didn't mean to imply that it isn't possible. (Personally, I think every home should have a dog and feel sorry for people who don't feel that way... ) But, I wanted to make sure they had a realistic viewpoint.

Honestly, I just think an 18 month old is still a baby in so many ways and I wanted to make sure that dpmaki really had considered that a puppy can be equally demanding (thank God you can put a puppy in a crate for an hour :)

Although I don't know your exact circumstances, I assume your nieces and nephews eventually go home, and you had time to spend with your puppy one on one to give him solid foundation. Parents in a home with both a puppy and a toddler do not get a break. The parents have to be very committed to making the dog a good, well-mannered family member, otherwise you go to a couple puppy classes, don't have time to follow up at home and end up with a potentially difficult situation.

I just got the feeling that dpmaki was wanting the dog for his daughter's sake and not because he or his wife are passionate about having a dog in their lives. I was trying to stress the potential drawbacks of the situation because I know how much work is needed to make it a happy situation. A golden is great, but you do need full disclosure.
 

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I think you'd have a better idea what you're in for if you offer to "dog sit" your friend's dog and see what it's like to supervise a dog and a young toddler.

Your dog, from what you said, passed away in 2007--and you had your baby in January 2009, so you haven't had the opportunity to see what it's like to handle the responsibilities of both pet ownership and parenthood all at once. You've had glimpses of it, but at your friend's house, and you have liked what you have seen, but I would venture to guess that it hasn't provided you with a complete picture of what you're in for.

You certainly know how demanding it is to own a dog--I don't know how old your bulldog was when it passed away, but puppies come with a whole new learning curve of commands, experiences and demands that we don't face with older dogs. I had to be reminded of it, losing both of my veteran goldens within 18 months of each other, and purchasing a new puppy when the first one passed away--I forgot about all that energy--and training!

Just a lot of things to think about--not necessarily just having your daughter grow up with a pup, IMHO.
 

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Marcy
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It is just like having another child, but never grows up and leaves home. Are you ready?

Good luck!
 

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It is a lot of work. Our previous golden passed away at 7 years old this spring. We got Scout in August when our son was 14 months old. He had been used to a dog and has done very well with Scout. Scout has been great with him but the first few months were very hard. It was like having 2 toddlers around (and many days I wondered what we had done!)

Scout is now almost 6 months old and our son is 18 months. They co-exhist pretty well together now. Our son is gentle with him and Scout respects him. I hope for them to be best friends as they grow up. I work part-time (I don't think it would have worked as well if I worked full-time) and Scout is almost finished with his second set of puppy classes. He is smart and has a great temperment but there is still a lot of puppy left in him. It was hard getting used to a puppy and all their mischief after having a our wonderful Hunter who was so well-behaved. But I needed to remind myself that Hunter didn't come like that either! I would say if you've done your research and can put the time in it can work.

We knew that we wanted another dog and had a short window to get one as I wanted the puppy at least a year old and trained before we have another baby.

I understand the point some are making that it is probably not the most ideal situation but it was important to us that our son grow up with dogs and we didn't want to wait until he was 5 before having a dog in our home. My niece and nephew who do not have a dog are petrified of dogs. I really wanted our son exposed to them at an early age so he wouldn't have a fear of them. Plus what better gift to give your child than a dog to grow up with and love?
 

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Old Gold is the Best Gold
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I have five dogs and a nine month old ;) It's really not that big of a deal, to me, but I am very dog savvy, and I am a stay at home mom with the time for this. My husband is also a SUPER awesome dad, and does just as much as I do for our son. I am the sole caretaker of the dogs, though.
 

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I say it depends upon the personalities of the puppy and the child. My grandson was three when we got Sully. Best buddies, but Sully hasn't figured out that he isn't a puppy to rough and tumble with so she goes overboard. I was home with both, but made the mistake of they'll work it out. She is such a diva that everyone's world revolves around her or she tries to make it revolve around her to the annoyance of other people. Scotty, my little dreamboat, is an absolute joy around children and he is only seventeen months. He lays down in bed with my grandson, just watches him play or watches TV with him. Two different personalities so two different reactions. I do recommend an older dog that has a calm personality with children. My basset is nine and everyone in the family wants to steal her because she is so laid back (Scotty thinks she is his momma dog). Babysitting another dog or possibly fostering a dog for a week may also help in your decision.
 

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I have a new puppy and he is the equivalent of having a toddler. Thank god my daughter is 20 because I would not be able to do both. Potty training alone has taken every last spare moment of mine to make sure he makes it outside. I am committed to having as few accidents as possible. But what do you do when the puppy needs to go out and the toddler isn't dressed properly to take her out as well. I guess I would question how I would have to divide my time. On the upside.... He is such fun! We are totally enjoying him!
 

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First off - I appreciate everyone's response. If I came across at all like my wife and I are sort of on the fence about getting a dog, but what's pushing us over that fence is our daughter - that's completely false. My wife and I both adore dogs and miss our Bulldog (who was only 8 years old BTW) very much. When he passed we knew we would be moving shortly and were also focused on having a kid, hence the gap in time in getting another dog. I've had dogs my whole life and miss having one in our home - that is definitely a fact.
To answer some of your questions/concerns in no particular order:
Yes, we do have a playroom that is exclusively our daughters. There is a gate on that door that would prevent a dog from getting in.
My wife is currently a stay at home Mom, but will be going back to work part-time in March. My wife and I are very active people and exercise regularly (which includes walking/running). We live in an area where a multi-purpose path is only about a 2 minute drive from our house. Many people walk/run dogs on that path, plus we live on a very quiet dead-end street where we also work with our daughter in her stroller.
I understand that a puppy is a lot of work, I have raised a couple (successfully) before. I understand it would be more work now with a toddler, but my wife and I make a great team and I personally feel like we'd be successful at it. I guess I was coming on here looking for a few success stories and now see that there are a few.
 

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I'm sure there are more than a few success stories!! I would not hesitate to get a puppy, if that's what you want and since you know what you are getting into. :)

I cannot speak from experience here, since i do not have any human children...but Zep has been excellent with children since he was a puppy. Temperment is key, your's, your wife's, your child's and the puppy's. Phew, that's a lot to keep track of. LOL.

I have had a dog for as long as i can remember, and i honestly think it made me a more caring/compassionate person. Animals can (and do, every day) work miracles for people!

Good luck and please post pics if you decide to get a puppy or adopt!

Here are a few pics of Zep when he was around 4 months with my nephew. Nephew was trying to "entice" Zeppy to play with the little robot thingy...it was too funny. Actually, since Zep is such a mellow soul, my nephew often tells me the dog is "boring"...hahaha. :)
 

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Okay, I had to post this one of Rosie and my 3 year old son. They've become such good buddies, and even though it does require a lot of hard work, it's been worth it.
 

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shadow friend
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Puppies are a lot of work and time and commitment. If I didn't get my Max at the beginning of summer break - I would not have been able to take care of him. Going back to work in Sept was a big and sad transition for him. I have had someone takign him out once a day while I'm at work but I felt terrible that we had to leave him so long as a puppy.

With an 18 month old, you might want to consider an older rescue golden as well. That for sure would take out a lot of inconveniences, time, and be a much better fit to your life from the first moment you get him. Know that puppies for all the energy they have can't be taking long walks at 8 weeks and for a number of months especially on hard surfaces so in the beginning, the puppy is going to slow you down.

I'm also going to go with the opinion that getting a puppy - especially such a mouthy puppy as a golden to live around an 18 month old is not a great idea. I also would never do it even if I was a stay at home mom. Sure it can be done, but the whole experience of having a puppy say, as suggested, when the child is 3 will be a much more enjoyable experience for all. If you could see your family as a 2 golden family - then my advice is consider the golden rescues in your area- they will match you with the perfect dog for you and your child. When you child is older, then get a puppy. The older dog will be an extra helper with training and keeping your puppy occupied.
 

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i feel as if it would be easier to raise a child than it would be to go through the extreme puppy stage with layla. i really was not expecting the massive amount of responsibility a golden retriever would demand, but i wouldn't trade it for the world.

to be completely honest, i would wait until your daughter is a tad older or i would consider adopting an older golden that is familiar with children/trained and past the teething stage. i was absolutely shocked how big of chewers they are -- all i wanted when she was a little ball of fur was to squeeze and cuddle her but she was like a little shark (still is a big shark!). 18 months and a consistently nipping puppy would be a bad idea!

all in all, goldens are great dogs and kudos to you if you take on a puppy monster, but i couldn't do it! :p:
 

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We had our first dog (Irish Setter)2 years before my son was born and got a second (Rough Collie) when my son was 6 months old he had an amazing bond with both, I never found it a problem but that was 20+ years ago.
 

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Nancy
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Here is a pic of my 4.5 y.o. granddaughter and Hank. They're great buddies!
The only toys we have to watch are the little things, Hank leaves most everything else alone.
 

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It's good your doing your research, dpmaki, and have carefully considered your situation and are looking for success stories.

One aspect of your research, which has not been mentioned yet, is that you'll have to check around and see what policies breeders/rescue groups have about selling their pups. You may be caught in a catch-22 because I would think you'll want good advice to match up a golden that will fit your family, your lifestyle and your plans--with special consideration that you have a child approaching 2 years of age. Many of the posters have suggested an older, rehomed golden, but many rescue groups will not adopt out to families that have children younger than 5 (or 7 or 10 or infants--you will need to check). Some breeders will not sell on that basis either--others look on a case by case basis.

So you also have more homework, I think, regarding where you might get your golden, unless you already know of a breeder that will sell to a family with a young child.
 

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shadow friend
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See rescue thread about an older golden being given away because parents don't have time for the dog with 2 young children. Stupid people. This is why I don't think it's a good idea for people with very small children to get puppies - there are much better times to take on that kind of responsibility. But for people to get rid of a 7 or 8 year old dog because they don't have the time is just a cop out. I know you said you are happy to see a few success stories but it's important for you to also see all the craigslist ads where people are giving away their puppies and older dogs because they have small children and just "don't have the time." It's a very sad thing and it happens much too often.
 
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