First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby….
Well we didn’t start with a baby, we started with a dog, and actually we got him while we were engaged… but you get the idea. So the idea was that we get a dog and not only will it be a nice addition to our little family we are creating, it will also help us to prepare ourselves for the idea of a baby. In our heads, there were very similar comparisons between raising a puppy and raising a baby of which I will not get into now, but I will say that we were grossly off the mark for most of what we thought this would prepare us for.
Regardless, this fur-baby did become our “pride and joy”, when people talked about their kids to us, we mentally (although, shamefully, sometimes verbally) compared their stories to our own puppy stories. We took a million pictures of our dog, and posted a million pictures to show them to everyone. When our dog was sick I dropped everything to take care of him and spent whatever it took to help. This dog was our life.
Then I became pregnant. This dog is still worshipped and cared for, but now I started to realise that I am adding a new addition to our family. I started to worry about how this would affect our dog and how they will get along. As good parents to our fur-baby we realised that we needed to prepare the dog for our new addition and because our dog is over 60 lbs, we thought that preparing him would lessen a negative reaction on his part.
I’m sure this can be done in a number of ways, but here are a few tips we used that will maybe help you out as well:
- When we set up the nursery, we left the nursery door open so that the dog could freely walk in and out and be able to sniff around. However, if he tried to grab any toys from the shelves or area we would immediately tell him no and make sure that he did not take them. (This tip will also work in reverse when your child is old enough to think that the kennel is a playhouse and the dogs toys make more noise.)
- After the baby was born, and before we were allowed to leave the hospital, my husband brought home a baby blanket for the dog to smell and even sleep with that night, so it became a familiar smell to him.
- When we brought the baby home we knelt down in front of our dog and let the dog smell and lick the baby’s feet in greeting.
- We took turns taking the dog for a walk so that our dog didn’t resent the baby or either of us for spending too much time with the baby.
- When rewarding our dog with a treat we also made sure to hold our baby at the same time that he was getting the treat, so the dog associated the baby with good things.
Again, these tips may not work for everyone, and I’m sure there’s a lot more you can do. Now that our daughter is older she loves to play with our dog and he enjoys her just as much!
DD – “What is she doing to us?”
Bear – “Get used to it!”
These views are my own, I am not an experienced dog trainer, nor am I the dog whisperer.