We all have hopes, dreams and aspirations. Everyone wants what they want regardless of the consequences. There’s nothing more tempting than when your child crawls up to you begging for a brand new puppy. You’ve always wanted to give them the world. But is a new dog the right move?
This is a really tough one.
Bringing a new member into the family is always an exciting time. But before you run out and pick the first furry friend that catches your eye, there are a few things you should consider.
Let’s discuss how old your child should be before they get a new puppy.
The Best Age for a Child to Get a Puppy
Age is all relative. So, the answer to this question is - there isn't a single answer that fits everyone - it depends.
Some families might be ready for a puppy when their child is just a baby, while others might wait until their child is older. The most important thing is that both the child and the puppy are ready for one another.
From our personal experience, and the general consensus, children around ages 5 or 6 are ready to handle a puppy. Younger kids may have difficulty distinguishing the pet from a toy.
Both your baby and your puppy are quite fragile, mentally and physically. You don’t want to do anything that could put either of them at risk. Your baby could strike your pup. The puppy could easily retaliate and scratch or bite with their newfound teeth and claws.
If you are still considering housing a dog at the same time as a younger child, consider adopting one that is about two years of age that has already been successfully socialized.
A puppy can provide lots of love and happiness for a child, but it's important to remember that it's also a huge responsibility. Both the child and the parents need to be prepared to give the puppy plenty of exercise, training, attention and love.
Back to Makenzie and our team’s advice: “I would wait until the kid can reliably walk on their own without the risk of falling. Sometimes if a dog accidentally knocks them down it can make the kid be afraid of the dog more than love it.”
At the end of the day, it truly depends on how much time and help you have at your house. If you think that you can efficiently raise and socialize two different beings with different needs and understandings of the world, then nothing can stop you!
But, otherwise, it’s best to wait till that mid-single-digit magical number.
Why Getting a Puppy is a Great Idea for Kids
There are a multitude of reasons why getting a puppy is a fantastic idea for kids. But how many of these apply to your family and children specifically?
For starters, puppies provide companionship. It’s important for our young ones to be able to relate and commune with other beings outside of themselves.
They also help teach kids about responsibility, as they may be responsible for feeding, watering, walking and exercising their puppy. Given the proper day-to-day tasks, children can learn to check everything off of their daily lists.
Providing this nurturing opportunity will assist in creating an enriching environment to grow and become an even more successful member of society later in life.
Most importantly, puppies provide a lifetime of unconditional love, which is something that all kids deserve. Children need to know that whatever mistakes they make are merely short-term. That mistakes are going to happen, but they can be absolved of any trespasses.
Proving that your child is still loved after the fact is a lesson that will keep on giving.
Why Getting a Puppy ISN’T a Great Idea for Parents
Just like all children and dogs, not all parents are created equal. What we mean by that is: Every parent has a different set of responsibilities and burdens in their household. Having a child is one thing.
Teaching that child that their puppy isn’t a toy but rather a living, breathing creature is another.
Talking to Makenzie from our team at Jenna Lee Designer Doodles, she advises, “NOT to get a puppy if you are overwhelmed by parenthood or if your kid is a handful. Wait until everyone is more comfortable before adding a puppy into the situation as that can sometimes make things more stressful.”
All of us want our households to be an island in the craziness that is the world today. If you think that adding another castaway on that island is going to sink it, maybe take a pass on the puppy for now and revisit the idea a little further down the road.
What Kind of Responsibility Does a Puppy Require?
Pets are not violas. Kids can’t just get bored with them and shove them in the garage or attic. Your pup will be around and remain an important part of your family for over a decade (or, hopefully, longer).
Bringing a puppy into your home is a huge responsibility. Ask yourself how responsible your child or children are.
The dogs need to be fed, groomed, exercised and taken to the vet for check-ups and vaccinations. If they're not prepared to take on all of that responsibility, it might be better to wait until they're a bit older.
That doesn't mean you can't have a dog - there are plenty of adult dogs who need homes - but it's important to be aware of what goes into owning a pet. Ideally, your child should be old enough to help with some of the basic care tasks and understand that the puppy is a member of the family who needs to be loved and taken care of.
How to Prepare Your Young Child (and Home) for a Puppy
We know we might sound like a broken record, but this bears repeating. Puppies are a lot of work - they're not just cute and cuddly.
It’s important that whatever age your child is, they understand the responsibility that will fall, in part, on their shoulders. Sit down and discuss with them what they’ll need to do if they’re old enough to understand the circumstances surrounding and the effects of bringing a new dog into your home.
Set some ground rules for your children and puppy early on. Teach them how to properly handle and pet the dog.
You know your child better than anyone. So, as for children, it’s a good idea to hold on until they're mature enough to manage and care for the pup. But, be ready to pick up the slack if they drop the ball.
Let’s be honest. Almost all, at some point, will fail to hold up their part of the bargain.
As far as the puppy is concerned, you’ll need to walk through what’s needed from them as well through training and daily schedules. You'll also want to make sure your home is puppy-proofed so they can't get into anything they shouldn't.
Make sure you're prepared for all of that before bringing home a new puppy. It's a lot of work, but it's definitely worth it in the end!
Why a Reputable Breeder is So Important for This Decision
It's important to get your puppy from a reputable breeder. Not only will you get a healthy, well-socialized puppy, but you'll also be supporting responsible breeding. When you select your puppy from a breeder, you're ensuring that the bloodlines of your pup are kept healthy and strong.
Good breeders, like ourselves, care for their puppies 24/7 and spend extensive time socializing them so that they'll be ready for their new homes. We also health-check our puppies regularly and ensure that they're up-to-date on all their shots and deworming.
We have spent time and care building out a professional and loving team that works with every single puppy so that we can find the best home possible. We raise them with the utmost care. Our exclusive Matchmaking Process crosses all the T’s and dots all the I’s, taking out all the guesswork.
Learn more about picking a puppy:
Whoever you choose to assist you in filling that void in your heart and home, do your due diligence. Reputation is everything!
What About Doodles?
We deal in the Doodles day in and day out. It’s our passion. We want nothing more than for one of our Doodles to join your clan. But most importantly we want your entire family - including the four-legged members - to be safe and sound.
A puppy can provide a child of any age with companionship, teach them responsibility, and help them learn how to care for another living creature. Though there are some things to consider before bringing home a puppy, such as the time and energy it takes to care for one, the rewards are great.
If you are entertaining the thought of sharing your life and the lives of your children with a furry friend, then let us help you!
Jenna and the JLDD Team