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Introducing dog to adopted child

(11 Posts)
WeAreNearlyThere Fri 28-Feb-20 08:58:41

Very thrilled as matching panel is near! And shortly after introductions will begin. He's 14 months old (still too scared to say our son, afraid I might jinx it!!), inquisitive, quite energetic and already walking steady on his feet as if his life depends on it. We're all really excited, and can't wait to finally bring him home.
We currently have a 4 yo boxer, a breed known for being child friendly. He is very relaxed and laid back for his breed, as they can be quite jumpy. He also has a lot of patience with kids, as demonstrated with kids from family, friends and neighbours. Once he's gone on his morning walk and released some energy he mostly likes to sleep, snuggle or have a tug-of-war. He's never shown any aggression towards children nor adults and has only snarled at dogs trying to hump him. I mean I would if some random stranger would try that with me...
We want to know if anyone has experience introducing their adopted child(ren) to their dog(s) for the first time. Any tips, suggestions, do, don'ts?
Goes without saying that despite his character we would never leave him alone with a small child.

OP’s posts: |
ifchocolatewerecelery Fri 28-Feb-20 10:21:05

We have 2 high energy beagles and they reacted the opposite to what we expected. The one we thought would struggle was fine as she just moved away out of reach when she had had enough, the other froze in this situation and needed help to move away. We put in a gate between the lounge extension and the dining room so they could see each other and get to know each other but be kept separate. Their beds are in the kitchen and we've always had a gate on it because they're not allowed free roam when we're not home (chewers) so that's their safe space. They love her because she would feed them whenever possible.

My only issue was my pushchair. I had to buy a second one with higher sides as she'd lean out and grab both them and the leads when out walking. When she got older I gave her a lead of her own to hold which she loved. I walk them on haltis so there was no danger they'd pull away and attached hers in such a way my lead was still the one in control.

Runner31 Sat 29-Feb-20 06:13:37

We haven't got to matching panel stage yet but the advice I would give is try and get your dog in to a child friendly routine now. Ours sleeps in our room so have had to be moved out now so they get used to it before any child/children arrives. We've also played children playing noises on YouTube just so they're used to hearing them in the house and put up gates so we can put them in to their safe space. Their daily walk routine has become a long early morning walk which one of us can do and rather than have them expect an evening walk we've taken that out and put in other relaxing and mind challenging games such as stuffed kongs and treat balls so that if the children's bedtime routine needs two of us the dogs aren't stressed from missing a routine walk.
Making sure they have a safe space is vital. In the early stages I want the dogs to get used to the sounds and smells of their new family from their safe space without the children forcing things.
I must stress my dogs are fine with kids but I know any children will likely come with trauma and behaviours our dogs aren't used to. I used to work a therapy dog with children and it was completley different to visiting family children. Dogs pick up on the children's and our emotions and stress so I'm going with a 'better safe than sorry' approach.

smoodgy Sat 29-Feb-20 08:36:51

At 14 months children can be quite terrifying to dogs - and it can be hard! I think making sure the dog always has an escape route is quite important.

Also - I would have a stair gate on an area to be able to remove the dog at times. We have a problem that our DS feeds the dog from his high chair and he realised quite early on that this was a fun game! But occasionally it’ll be things like grapes which I have heard can be unsafe for dogs... some have made their way in - but it’s not ideal!

Also have had dogs snatching food from child’s hand.... gently I should add but it has been a problem. Dog never did this before with adults - but presumably seemed to think child was fair game...No solution to this but just a potential problem!

fastliving Sat 29-Feb-20 11:09:23

@Runner31 can I ask whether you were asked/told that your dogs should no longer sleep on your bed?

My situation is that I am hoping to adopt in the near future (got to save up for adoption leave first) and I have a small, very gentle dog who sleeps on my bed (she's a rescue and perfect in every way, but she will not sleep in another room to me - I've tried everything because I don't really like/want a dog on my bed - although now of course I love it!grin).
I have tried crate training her (she just cries and tries to dig her way out - I worry she might injure herself). Baby-gates don't work, she can easily jump over one, and if I put another one on to stop this she just cries and digs again.
Another added complication is I travel to work and stay in a different city a few times a month, the dog comes with me, and sleeps on my bed there - I am in a sort of air BNB arrangement with the house owners there too, so I couldn't have my dog disturb them by trying to separate her at night.
At home I also have a lodger to help me save up, so I don't want to disturb their sleep - plus my dog would just sleep with them instead if I shut my bedroom door on the dog.
Basically I'm not sure I can train it out of her, I've had dogs my whole life who happily slept in the kitchen in their beds - not this one!
On the plus side, she adores children and is very gentle and tolerant with them, she's a fun dog always wanting to play, so she loves hanging around with kids, I also have a massive king-size bed, so there is plenty of room for ac and me and dog if needed (single adopter).
Will my social worker insist that I train the dog to sleep elsewhere, how do they enforce that?
A social worker has done a primary check on me and my home, including the dog, who she said was fine and she had no concerns at this stage, and says I am fine to apply for adoption, but I am not in the process yet, because I need to save up for a year.

fastliving Sat 29-Feb-20 11:12:01

I'm not sure I asked about the dog sleeping on my bed at my meeting with the social worker, which is why I am wondering?
Sorry for the long post and hopefully you don't mine me jumping on your thread op.

Runner31 Sat 29-Feb-20 12:01:26

We had to fill a form out stating where the dogs sleep and asking if they are allowed on the furniture. Our SW has no concerns about them but in general they don't want dogs sleeping on beds in case they get a fright if children come in to the room at night. It puts the dogs at head height to a child and even the most social and friendly dogs can be freaked out by a child appearing next to them when they are asleep.
When we were at your stage we got a dog behaviourist/trainer in for some advice. Some of it was to keep SW happy but mostly we wanted the dogs to be in a settled and happy place before having children in the house. It was really good and helped us make a good start to dog and child proofing our house. It is hard because ours have always slept in our bedroom and didn't take kindly to the change (we got 4am wake up calls every morning) but it made me thankful we had started thinking about all that so early. It causes a lot less stress for the dogs doing it early rather than waiting to see how they react to traumatised children.

WeAreNearlyThere Sat 29-Feb-20 14:35:19

Thank you all for your replies, very much appreciated. And Fastliving, no worries at all! I hope you're questions have been answered.
Our dog sleeps downstairs in his crate. It's in the cupboard under the stairs and is his snug and secure little den. Between 21:00 and 22:00 he'll get up from the ottoman that he usually snoozes on and signal that he wants to go for a quick wee after which he'll take himself straight to bed.
Does anyone think it could help if we had an item of clothing of ac? In an effort to make him familiar with ac's smell?

OP’s posts: |
DashOfMagic Sat 29-Feb-20 17:35:33

Another beagle here, a young nutcase hyper one don’t know how we got through assessment we introduced to our DD when she moved in about 6 months ago and everything is fine with them now.

After intros I was so unsettled and introducing the dog was such an anxiety that I went and picked him up from the kennels early to get it over with.

Before we had done some prep, like gates etc but not loads. He still sleeps with us. We asked for something with her smell but didn’t get it. The best thing we did was leaving toys everywhere to get him used to not running off with them or chewing them. That really paid off.

On the day I went to get him then phoned DH who took DD out to the park. I took the dog into the house so he could run about madly sniffing all her things then went back out to the park to meet up with DH and DD (12m at the time) so they met outside of the house and we all went home together. The first few days we kept dog on a lead in the house or separated with one of us with her and one with him.

He was good with her from the off we just have to watch what toys she has out around him and that he doesn’t accidentally knock her over if he runs about (although he does have an uncannily good last minute swerve). There were lots of positives for him as we were around more and made sure to take it in turns to pay him attention.

DD was sometimes wary of him, sometimes too focused on stroking him or sometimes annoyed at him. We role modelled the “right” reactions to all these and she has now been brainwashed. If he runs off with a toy it’s “ha ha silly doggy” If he barks she happily joins in. If he’s sleeping she doesn’t go near him and says “shhh!” to everyone so they don’t wake him. If I don’t want her to go near him it’s “dog is busy let’s just wave!” A lot of the time they ignore each other and sometimes love each other which is nice.

Agree with others about feeding the dog being a fun activity. Watch out for stray raisins grin

ifchocolatewerecelery Sat 29-Feb-20 21:07:42

@fastliving we were advised to stop the dog going on the furniture in readiness for LO coming home. That plan failed. Both dogs slept on the bed with us but once LO moved in hubby would take them downstairs and sleep on the sofa if and when she came in with me. These days he and dogs sleep on a sofa bed because I don't want them back upstairs and she's currently in with me more often than not. He could come back upstairs but is too soft to train the dogs to sleep quietly in the kitchen which is where they sleep now on nights he's working away. It was never an issue.

Personally I won't have dogs and LO sleeping in the bed together with me because I wouldn't be able to sleep worrying about her messing around with them and getting scratched if they get playful and excited.

fastliving Sun 01-Mar-20 18:28:55

Thanks ifchocolate I guess adoptees have to be trusted that they work out the best way to manage their dogs. To be fair my dog is excitable but very gentle and empathetic so she's good with little children (I wouldn't be adopting a baby, probably more like a 3/4 year old).
But obviously I know dogs & children can be an unpredictable mix!

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