Puppies and Babies

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We adopted a Golden Puppy!!  We unfortunately lost our 10 year old Golden a few months ago to cancer, and after many weeks of sadness, we opted to find a puppy to help fill the silence left by our well loved Jasper.   We also have 3 kids under 5, so yes, we agree with the statement people often make when we told them we got a puppy, that we must be insane.  For me I felt it was important for our kids to have the experience of having a dog during their early years.   I remember the Golden my family had when I was a kid, and that was a big part of my life.  From the walks, the play, and just the having of a dog around the house, it was just an awesome experience that I wholeheartedly want my children to have as well.  So knowing in advance that it will be an “experience” the first year of having a puppy, it’s just a year, and there will be a lot of positives during the year too.

The first positive has been the fact that we love to workout and go for runs, with a puppy it’s a given that she will force us to run farther and more often since her energy level is insane!  Lately we’ve been following the workout schedule from www.p90x3workoutroutines.com, and when we forget to lock her up we’ll find her trying to wiggle under us as we are doing pushups or burpees!

Some of the neat things we’ve witness with our puppy is that despite the first few months when we couldn’t trust her around the young kids, as she was prone to nip or scratch, she was still learning how to be a dog with humans, we made it through, and now she’s really good with the kids.  The other day I noticed she never jumps up on the kids, it might be because they are close to her height, but she’s really much more behaved around the kids than she is with the adults.  She’s extremely gentile with the kids, and as a result the kids are fairly gentile with her.  We often find one or two kids laying on the ground with her petting her and talking to her, it’s so sweet to see that.

The kids have benefited by having extra responsibilities, in fact they often fight over who gets to put her outside, and who is responsible for feeding her.  They love to take care of her, and really own the responsibility.  I think the main benefits are that they get to understand what it’s like to care for something, and maybe it opens up the world so they see what their parents do for them, though I doubt that would actually happen.

We often take the kids and the dog to the park where it’s generally OK to bring dogs.  The kids will play on the play structure while we will throw the ball to her.  She’s turned into a great retriever, in fact my husband has her retrieve the balls that my son hits when my husband pitches to him.   She runs after the ball and brings it back to him so he can throw it again!  Many time my oldest takes on the job of throwing the ball for the dog while I tend to my other two on the playground swings.  He loves that he has a job, and it’s also quite rewarding since the puppy is so in love with him.  All he needs to do is call her name and she’ll come running up as soon as she hears it.

Golden’s make the best Family pets

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I was just sitting on the couch surfing the web with my golden asleep on my feet, my son asleep in his portable car seat on the floor, and I thought to myself, these dogs really make the best family pets.  So some research from the AKC, and my own opinions and I was able to make a top 6 list of why I think Goldens make the best family pests.

  1. They make life interesting – Who doesn’t like to play the game “Where’s my doll?” “Who has my shoe?”  And my favorite “Who ate my doll/shoe/toy!?!?”  Life with young kids is never dull, but throw in a puppy or Golden and the predictable becomes very unpredictable.
  2. Another Reason to get out of the house – As if you didn’t need incentive before with the screaming children and their need to get all of their energy out, a Golden is the same way.  Lots of energy, needs to run around in order to relax, and once worn out everyone is able to chill.
  3. Your Kids learn to be responsible  – Having a pet has really taught our kids to be responsible and caring for another living being.  It’s not required any more to say “careful around the dog” as they always are aware of where she is, and how not to injure her.
  4. Your Kids learn to Love – Finding our kids alone with the dog and with the dog in their laps while they pet her is one of the sweetest things a parent can walk into .
  5. A new best friend – They literally all fight over who gets to pet her, who gets to feed her, and they all want her to play with them.
  6. Gentile and sweet – A golden always cares for the family, and will always look out for everyone, but the best part is that a golden will endure the endless pulling and poking that kids tend to do without getting upset.  They have the most wonderful disposition.

I’m not the best with top 10, but those are the items on my list of what makes a Golden the best family pet.  They are just so gentile and sweet to little kids, even when the kids aren’t being especially nice by pulling ears and tails.  But I think that Golden’s understand that they are just kids and don’t mean anything by it.  I really get the impression they have this amazing sense of what is going on, and they can be as patient as needed when it comes to kids.

I’m not sure though if it matters if the golden isn’t around kids and suddenly spends time with them.  Obviously ours now has spent time with three babies, and our newest golden was a puppy when we adopted.  My brother in law has a golden doodle, and that dog is insane around the kids, not in a mean way, just never thinking about the kids as he rushes up the stairs almost knocking the kids down in the process, but he’s never spent much time around babies or kids for that matter.  He’s also not a pure Golden too, so maybe it’s the poodle in him.

First Baby and an older Golden

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The first time we took home our first child, our 8 year old Golden wouldn’t even look at him!  It was classic.  Baby in the bassinet, Golden comes into the room excited to see us, looks in the direction of the baby and looks away.  We move to where the baby is and he won’t even make eye contact or acknowledge he was there.  This lasted a few days and then the golden came around.  He was just used to being the center of attention.  So I think the addition was a little hard of him.  But after a few weeks and increased attention from his, he came around.

We knew a lot of facts about Golden’s and since ours was on the older side and less energetic, we weren’t too concerned, but for those with young kids and puppies, or are thinking about adoption a golden pup, this website really has some great content.  http://www.kidzsearch.com/wiki/Golden_Retriever

After those first few weeks they became best of friends.  I would sometimes come into a room where my son was on the floor on his back, and the golden would be laying next to him with his chin laying on the baby’s chest, and both were content.  He was always gentle with our son, never did he even come close to hurting him, though I have read some horrible dog attack stories, I think the Golden breed, in general, is quite good for young families.

As my son started walking we would often find our Golden alongside of my son, almost as if he was there to protect him from falling, it was like he didn’t want my son to fall and get hurt, so he essentially provided a soft wall in case he fell to the side.  Our golden was also a ferocious watchdog when anyone came to our front door.  He never cared before our son was born, so I do think they are related, in that he was protecting the house and kid from any perceived danger from the mailman.

My father always tells the story of how when I was a kid my family’s golden, who, by all stories and accounts was a rather robust Golden at 110 pounds, somehow managed to climb into my crib as I was sleeping to keep me company.   I’m still not clear on how he did, did he jump?  Crawl?  And how he didn’t hurt or even scratch me is still a mystery.  But he too was a protector.  My dad said at any time we all were on a walk and another dog or person came walking toward us, he would put himself in front of us and between the new person or dog approaching, ready to defend.

Having a kid completely changed our lives, and our Golden’s too, he did receive a lot less attention and walks because we were sleep deprived and anxious about our son, but having a Golden around, and seeing how sweet he was to our son, really made the entire experience much more rewarding.