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Twin babies and a dog

(18 Posts)
Cornwall73 Fri 12-Apr-13 17:40:32

I have also posted this in the dog thread but covering all bases!

I have been reading up on introducing dogs to babies but I have found no information on twins and dogs. Just the logistics of it makes my head hurt!

A bit of background: we adopted a retired greyhound three years ago and he saw us through some pretty tough years of infertility and loss. He is a large tall male, 30kg in weight. He is generally very chilled, as most greyhounds are, and he lies down a lot. They may be the racers of the dog world but when they retire they become royal sofa hoggers and loungers. He loves his grub and, despite being told off a lot, he is a thief if we are not careful in the kitchen. He is DH's love (other than me I hope!) and he does mollycoddle him a bit. We are away at work four days a week and have a dog walker that picks him up at lunchtime and they go out with other dogs for a few hours.

So, expecting twins in August. I have been reading up and fully understand that children and dogs should never be left unsupervised etc. I can see how this would work with a single baby but how does it work with two and just one adult for the majority of the day?

If you are bringing them downstairs it will have to be one at a time and at one point I will be with one baby whilst the other may be in the kitchen or buggy waiting and hence the dog near him/her? What if they are napping in their baskets downstairs and I nod off on the sofa and the dog gets curious of the babies? He is so tall he can reach a dining table for example so a basket or buggy would be very accessible for him. If the doorbell rings do I take the babies with me or the dog? I get a feeling I will have to grow another pair of arms and eyes at the back on my head just to keep a grip on everything!

I was planning on getting gates for the twin's room and our bedroom to make some areas off bounds but, given that he currently has the run of the house (only when we are here), he will have his nose seriously put out of joint so probably something I should start sooner rather than later. But he still has the run of the living room and kitchen where I hope we will be spending most of our day.

DH says everything will be fine but, even if he is a placid dog and he has been our 'baby' for years, he is still an animal and I am worried he will react to a squeaky toy or the babies in a sudden aggressive fashion that I will find hard to control and protect two babies.

Do any of you have twins and a dog? How did you do it? I think some very intensive training is required but don't know where to start!

OzmaofOz Fri 12-Apr-13 18:07:20

I have twins but no dog, but also want to reassure you.

I always used to carry them both together, before I had them I didn't think I would but it didnt seem so daunting once I got in to the swing of things.

How about a playpen for when you nip to the loo / kitchen / answer the door etc ?
Or a room divider.

Congratulations [smle]

OzmaofOz Fri 12-Apr-13 18:09:14

I know some play pens and roo, diveders might be too short but if you shop around you might be able to find something tall enough.

OzmaofOz Fri 12-Apr-13 18:09:56

angry at typos.

KnackeredCow Fri 12-Apr-13 18:21:00

I could have written your post except our dog's a chocolate labrador. He weighs 34kg and sounds like he has a similar temperament to your dog. He's my DH's love too and we've had him four years through our struggles with infertility. We use a dog walker too. Our twins are ten weeks.

First, keep your dog walker. I simply can't walk our dog now we have the twins. DH walks him for an hour every morning, and for ninety minutes at about 3pm on his days off. The dog walker continues to come on other days so our dog has that continuity and attention.

We redecorated our bedroom and the nursery just before the twins' arrival and banned our dog from them then. He hasn't associated this with the arrival of the twins and so has been fine. We haven't needed to use a baby gate yet. As the twins sleep in our bedroom at night, we keep both the nursery door and our bedroom door shut at the moment. This will change when they move into their room so we might need gates then.

In the morning DH shuts the dog in the kitchen when he leaves for work. This means I can bring the twins down one at a time. Their carry cots and bouncy chairs are in the lounge.
I can let him join us once we're sorted.

During the day if I have to leave the room temporarily and the dog's in it he comes with me - easier than moving both babies and my hands remain free. This does mean he has to come to the loo with me grin

So far the dog hasn't really taken an interest in the babies - just the occasional sniff. If the dog's with us in the lounge, but I feel very tired I tell him to go to his bed (which is in the kitchen) and shut the door so I don't risk falling asleep leaving dog and babies 'unaccompanied'.

Have you any help arranged for the early days? DH used up his annual leave (paternity leave wasn't an option for us as we couldn't afford to take the drop to SPP) when I was in hospital with the twins (15 days - they arrived at 34+6) so his mum stayed for my first week home, and then my mum and dad for three weeks. Not only did this give me the time to recover and work out some sort of routine, it also meant the dog wasn't totally ignored and still got fussed over.

I'm sure you'll get some useful input from posters over at the doghouse, but hope that helps for now and congratulations on your double bump!

Cornwall73 Fri 12-Apr-13 19:53:13

Thank you so much, it is just so overwhelming at the moment thinking of everything as well as baby proofing the dog and dog proofing the babies. Glad to hear it can be done. I plan to have gates and also buying a baby den second hand to set up in living room when I'm lounging or kitchen when I'm baking/cooking.

We used to have a gate at the kitchen door about a couple of years ago but he reacted really badly to it and would pee every time he found it closed. He likes to be with us or know where we are. I think we need to start setting them up and leaving them open initially and gradually close them with a lot of positive reinforcement.

We were hoping to drop the dog walker once I start ML but use her occasionally to ease up on the household budget but it looks like we will have to budget to keep her on some days.

Can I ask about breast/bottle feeding? I hear that with twins it basically incapacitates you to the sofa or bed. How did your dog react?

As for the suggestions of family help I'm sure that MIL and step MIL will be visiting and helping (they live in the opposite sides of the country to us) but are very much non-dog people. Will accept the fact that we have one and that's it - no attention, walks or feeding so it will be down to me to interact with the dog if needs be. I'm concerned that if I have a section I won't be very mobile but DH aims to take the first three weeks off.

MamaBlue4 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:14:31

I have twins and a German Shepard, he's 8 years old and I've had him since I lived at home and when I married and moved out at 18, he came with me.

He's shy around strangers and hates old men we think it stems from being a farm bred dog (got him from a farm) he's amazing with the kids, loves them to pieces, lays with them plays with etc. and the twins have slept against him a few times however I have never left him alone with the dc. I trust him with my life and even though he's docile and a generally a friendly dog, a dog can turn despite how it's been raised. I would not put my dc at risk.

Our dog usually stays outside in his kennel, if he's in the house. I make sure I bring the twins down first before I let him in the same room, he I have to leave the room, I take him with me instead of trying to juggle both twins. We have stair gates everywhere and he's limited to downstairs only. As for if the door rings - I put the dog in the kitchen, and close stair gate. Twins and dog are never out of my site if together. It's not as stressful or complicated as you are making it out to be, and fretting will just make things worse.

I don't like the idea of intensive training, just simple new rules would do i.e: limit the dog to a few rooms downstairs, upstairs off bounds, make sure he's aware of the twins, the more he sees them the more a dog will respond.

I'm a dog handler and so my dog is not only a childhood pet but he's my working dog, too. If you have a dog walker already, keep them. I manage because I have to and want to. I've had him 8 years and not had one incident between him and 4 dc.

MamaBlue4 Fri 12-Apr-13 21:20:07

I ebf and I mainly tandem feed, I prefer to latch them and then slouch on the sofa and let the twins lay how they want to feed (they're 7 months). I can tandem feed standing up if one is the carrier and I can just re-position the other twin. Find the way that's best for you.

Our dog doesn't really care he either lays at our feet or goes to lay down or play, he basically doesn't give a toss if I'm breastfeeding because he doesn't see it as a threat. - Also he's not allowed on furniture.

silverangel Sat 13-Apr-13 19:33:15

I have a cairn terrier, he was nine months old when the twins arrived.

What we did:

When they were small they went in their bouncy chairs and into a playpen.

If the doorbell went the dog would be mentalling at the door so that wasn't an issue!

I carried them up and down together when they were small.

I set up the pram and let the car seats in the living room so he got used to them.

Mine were 31 weekers so when in hospital we used to bring their dirty washing home and let him sniff it so he got used to their smell.

Took him for walks with the empty pram so he got used to it. I can't walk him on my own with the buggy, it just doesn't work, but when we all go out he has no problems with it.

Mine are 20months now and they love him. They are the only ones who can take his ball from him and he is very gentle with them. When they were tiny he used to look for them every morning and he 'guarded' them when they were in their carrycots.

He also wasn't interested when I was milk feeding (ff), but he's a great help with cleaning up the stuff that now ends up on the floor!

Good luck!

Cornwall73 Sun 14-Apr-13 08:03:00

Great, thank you all for your posts. I had originally thought about getting a travel cot and using it as a play pen in the kitchen but now I see that with twins this can get out grown quite easily esp with things such as bouncy chairs. Luckily someone local was selling their linden hexagonal playpen and mat and they dropped it off last night. They have a huskey and said it was very useful. I have also spoken to DH about gates and he is not keen to ban him from upstairs altogether as it can be his escape if things get busy/ noisy downstairs (there are a couple of other rooms ). So we have agreed to have gates in our bedroom and the twins room next door with the playpen downstairs. We go on holiday next week so planning to set up the gates in May to start getting him used to some no go areas.

legallyblond Tue 16-Apr-13 18:22:45

I am expecting twins and already have a toddler (she's 2.5) and a 5 month old puppy - she's a miniature choc labradoodle so I'm lucky in that she's small and I can easily pick her (the dog) up. At the moment, because of DD's age and the fact that she was there first, we have no issues - the dog lets DD do practically anything to her without blinking an eye. However, when the twins arrive, a combo of them being twins and already having DD means that I am bound to have to leave at least one of them alone for moments in the day. I have thought of the following:

- upstairs is off limits to the dog (this is already a rule, but maybe introduce some "out of bounds" now?

- dog is crate trained, so crate if all else fails.

- a top tip generally with babies/toddlers is to have the play area in view of the kitchen.... Instead of a kitchen/diner we have a kitchen/playroom - I am getting a room divider for this room;

- travel cot downstairs for dumping the twins in emergencies!

Yes please to any other ideas!!

AprilFoolishness Fri 17-May-13 20:43:19

We have a giant dog and twins. Dog was only 2 when twins arrived so still verrrry bouncy. <gets head examined>

Definitely no dog upstairs rule here - once the twins are active you'll need stair gates so may as well enforce that from earlier. Some dogs nappy-bin raid so that was an incentive for us to keep him downstairs shock

I had a walker towards the end of my pregnancy as I had horrible SPD who used to take him out with a little buggy (actually a dog buggy, but looked like a child's one!) and got him used to walking alongside the wheels. That was a big help. We also use a Gentle Leader harness and he mostly walks nicely with me pushing the double buggy.

I would also think carefully about how you're going to manage walks when DTs arrive - with hindsight I used far too much of my precious 'free' time (ie. when babies napping in buggy) to walk the hound,and although it got me out of hte house I think the loneliness of tramping around a forest then coming home with a dog covered in mud and two screaming babies didn't really help me enjoy the first winter. I would wilingingly have paid for a few more daily walks and gone to a few more baby groups or spent more time drinking coffee and sobbing with exhaustion at friends houses. To be honest I probably walk the dog less now my two are toddlers, because they like to be out of the buggy more and it's a challenge enough keeping an eye on two of them in the park, let alone wondering what Crazy Pup is up to!

Re. in the house, it's actually easier when the babies aren't mobile - you can just put them down on a mat and take the dog with you to answer the door for example, it's when they get more active it's trickier. We had a whole gamut of 'air locks', stair gates, travel cots and playpens for a while!

That all sounds very negative, it's not really meant to be. On the plus side our dog was BRILLIANT with the babies when little - virtually ignore them, occasionally 'guarded' their buggy (when he thought I'd forgotten them [hmmm], and no problems once they started crawling, which I know can be a flashpoint.
Now they're walking he seems to think they're mini-adults so can be a bit boisterous with them, but because they're so comfortable with him the DTs don't mind a bit, and they ADORE him.

AprilFoolishness Fri 17-May-13 20:44:26

Ohand you can never have enough travel cots - for playpen, ball pool, friends coming to stay, going away on holiday.. get one on Ebay and you'll use it loads, promise.

SweetieTime Mon 20-May-13 10:19:27

I have recently found out we are expecting twins. We have a spaniel/poodle cross puppy bought at the back end of last year when our old Lhasa Apso passed away. She is a lovely dog and very much DHs as he wanted a dog with more personality than our previous old Lhasa. Well we have definitely got that as she is a real live wire and never stops.

DT are due towards the back end of the year but already DM is hinting we will have to get rid of the pup. This is a little unfair as we don't know how she will react to the babies. She has never shown any aggression to anyone or anything, but she is a real hand full. She is also very destructive of her toys, she can demolish the most robust of dog toy in a matter of minutes. She doesn't touch our things such as shoes or slippers but not sure how she would be with baby toys.

Currently no where is off limits to her but she does sleep in a crate at night and we shut her in the kitchen while we are out. We are due to move to a new, thankfully larger, house in a few weeks and are thinking of not allowing her upstairs at all at the new house.

I was thinking of getting a travel cot for downstairs when they are just born and maybe a playpen when they get bigger. Of course would not leave babies and dog unattended together. But am not sure what else I could do when I am on my own in the days.

I know this is a very early post and there is a long way to go yet but it is worrying me more how I will cope with the dog than how I will cope with the twins, especially when people are putting doubts in my mind. The tips above are really good but if anyone else has anything else to add I would be grateful to hear.

minesapintofwine Tue 21-May-13 23:34:00

Bit late to this thread sorry but I have a 6 year old border collie and 16 month old dts. When I was pregnant we did a bit of retraining. We had been stupid enough to allow her to have run of house and furniture blush. We started to ban some rooms from her and brought in a no dog on furniture or bed rule (she still sleeps UNDER our bed though smile ). She adapted easily.
we took her to a behaviourist to fine tune a few 'issues' and get a few tips for when dts arrived. I had a pretty good pregnancy and walked her to the end but we got slower! Also agree with leaving stuff like car seats etc around and generally involving them so its not one huge change all in one go iyswim.

When we brought them home we let her sniff each baby (held on to her tightly as can be). Again she adapted fine. Dh took her for long walks in the first 2 weeks paternity leave and after that we took it in turns. Then we took her out with pushchair and now we do that regularly now. I agree with the poster who said not to put pressure on itself to do that. Now my dts are older they nap in cots and an nice hours walk with them awake. As long as she gets exercise its like 50% me or dh 50% me and buggy.

I never really carried them together when little just stairgates playpens or take dog with you. I will say though the point where they got mobile things changed my dog is very agitated around dt1 who is a bit rough so I keep them seperate in the house via stairgate all the time and dtz don't go in kitchen as this is where dog chooses to be all day. Sometimes I feel a bit sad but do the dts really need to go there? Also im assuming their relationship will improve but if anyone has any tips, or just ride it out? We are showing dt1 to be gentler which helps, and she also likes that he feeds her his toast etc through the gate! Good luck op U will be fine just try to make gradual changes but also keep to a routine such as walks etc I would keep the dog walker?

minesapintofwine Tue 21-May-13 23:36:55

O also to the above poster I now use one of the travel cots as a playpen a single one does the job fine and it saves money smile

minesapintofwine Tue 21-May-13 23:40:37

I have so many tips! Last one I swear! With the barrage of visitors in early we made every single one say hello to the dog first! (even if they weren't fussed!) some of them brought her presents which was great smile

qwertymclate Wed 22-May-13 11:14:00

I have twins and a dog. We have a large safety gate (summer infant one) that we use to block off the living room and some of the hall. The twins side is totally baby proofed so they play in there, the other side is the dogs bed, bowls etc. She's and older dog and although very very gentle just doesn't want to be clambered over so this is the best option for us until the twins learn the dog rules. The dog can still see us and gets strokes etc, but also has her own space where she can chill while the twins are running around.

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