It was a Wednesday night around 11:30 PM. I was on the couch watching something with Andy while I scrolled through social media. One of our neighborhood moms had posted a picture of a puppy that was looking for a home. I’m not sure what I was thinking but I immediately gave Andy the phone. He took one look, read the caption and told me to call them in the morning.
So the next morning I made a few phone calls and late Thursday evening, we drove to pick this pup up. The kids were so excited.
So meet Jake. He’s a 4 month oldish black labrador puppy. He was just dropped off at a groomers. The car door opened, the dog got out and the owners drove on. The groomer had kept the dog for awhile and the owners never came back. The groomer couldn’t keep the dog (due to other dogs she’s adopted from shelters) so tried to find a family for him. They found a loving family who once had a black lab to take the dog in. After a few nights with the family, the family’s other dog, a small shih tzu of 4 years, was not taking to this new pup which prompted a search for a home.
Jake is such a great dog. He knows the command “sit” and does really well so far with potty training. We are a big believer in crate training (we did it with Barkley and it worked so well) so he stays in his crate while we are away and at night.
He is a puppy who is teething and that has thrown our kids off a bit. Barkley is five. All the children know is jumping on Barkley, pulling his hair, his teeth, his ears and not getting a reaction. He’s so great with kids. Jake is a pup so they try those same moves on him and he nips back at them. Liam does really well with him when he nips, Payten on the other hand, doesn’t. Our vet gave us some tips with puppies and small kids and I’d thought it may be helpful to share:
- Puppies need to know that all humans are above them. You are their masters. While they are puppies, do not get on the floor with them. The floor is their zone. If you or a child is rolling on the floor or even sitting on the floor, you go to the puppies level and the puppy puts you in the same category as he. You are not. It’s important to teach kids this so the puppies don’t jump on them and try to play with them, which is enticing since they are their size.
- When the puppy comes to your child and jumps on them or starts to nip at them, teach your child to fold their arms over their chest, turn around and stick out their bottom, and be quiet…oh and don’t move! The dog will move on. We emphasize this constantly in our house. Liam does great. We are still teaching P.
- If a dog is teething, give them carrots as treats, gives them something healthy to snack on while teething. Carrots are hard and relieve the teething need with dogs. Along these same lines, only give puppies hard bone toys, like the Kong dog bones (NOT like the stuffed animal in the picture above).
- Crate train your dog. With small kids, put the crate in the corner of a room, somewhere where there isn’t much action (i.e. laundry room, mud room, corner of kitchen). Then take some painters tape and tape the floor around the crate. Leave space for the dog to sit outside of the crate. Teach your children that this is the dog’s space. No human is to enter that space. When the puppy needs to retreat, he will know where to go where no one can bother him. When you need to vacuum that space, lift the tape up, vacuum and put the tape down. DO NOT go over the tape with the vacuum. The puppy sees the tape as a safe place.
- When you need to get a task done around the house like laundry or cooking, keep the puppy near you at all times with a hands free leash. Or you can loop the leash around your waist before attaching it to the collar of your puppy. I have found this to be so helpful I use do this EVERY SINGLE NIGHT while I cook dinner. The pup gets his energy out by being next to you, not know your next move, yet anxious from the smells of dinner. The kids get their energy out by being able to run around the house yelling and me not having to deal with the pup jumping on them because of their behavior (see #1 above). It’s the best trick in the book.We are so happy to have Jake join our family. Barkley gets along with him great and they play tug of war every.single.day which sometimes get’s old but it may make Barkley lose some weight, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.
And because we are crate training, it forces me to get up each morning and take both dogs for a two mile walk through the crazy neighborhood hills. I have really enjoyed the new routine. And what wouldn’t be a blog post without a picture of at least one of my children.
So there’s the story of how Jake came to us. Anyone else out there have some tips for living with toddlers and puppies? I want to know! Any of you scared to get a puppy when your kids aren’t even fully potty-trained yet? That was my first thought but now that we have him, I’m glad we made that jump. It’s a lot with two toddlers and a pup but it also gives our kids more responsibility, two dogs to feed now!