Five years ago Karen bought a Miniature Schnauzer puppy, Molly. With two small children at the time, she tells us what made her choose the breed, the research involved, and how she integrated her into the family.
1. After deciding to get a puppy, how did you choose the breed that would best fit your young family?
We thought that a little dog would fit best with us, however we wanted something a little larger than a toy breed. We looked at loads of websites about small dogs to try and find a breed that would be suitable for a household with two small children. We also spoke to breeders for advice, as well as a dog behaviourist who also helped. We chose a Miniature Schnauzer because we read and heard that they are small but still robust enough for a lengthy walk, and quite tolerant of a busy household.
2. What was the process of choosing Molly and how long did you have to wait before you could bring her home?
After choosing the Miniature Schnauzer breed, we also decided we wanted a black one, so back we went on to the internet to find a breeder who bred black Minis. Once we found one, we gave her a call to see if she had any puppies ready in the near future and were delighted when she said one of her dogs had a litter due any day so we put our name down for a puppy. We then went up to visit the breeder... she wanted to meet us to make sure we were suitable dog owners and that we understood the commitments that came with getting a puppy. Once we had seen her, she advised that we would be able to visit the puppies once they were born, and then choose one. Then the following visit after that would be to collect her! The whole process took around three months.
3. What ages were your children at the time and how did you prepare them for having a new puppy in the house?
Our daughter was two and our son was four years old. We taught them that they would need to be gentle with Molly and that she would need her own space and also her own toys. They often tried to get into her crate though, which they knew was naughty, we stopped that pretty quickly! They knew not to play with her toys or bother her when she was eating. They were also taught that they must be sitting down if they wanted her on their laps and also not to pick her up just in case they dropped her. We told them that they had to respect her space… no rough play or chasing her around! We also told them to never feed the Molly any human food as it was bad for her and could make her poorly.
4. Did you have any safety concerns for the children or the puppy once you brought Molly home?
No not really, we knew that the children were generally quite gentle and that we would be there to make sure they stuck to the rules. There's always a worry with regards to dogs and young children but we had the benefit of having the children first so Molly knew her place within the pack. One of us was always aro