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Dog and baby help needed!

(14 Posts)
superlambanana Thu 02-Jan-14 14:16:37

We have a fairly large breed rescue dog and DC1 is due in June. DH thinks I'm worrying unnecessarily but I want to make sure we do everything we can to keep baby safe and not put the dog under any pressure. 99% of the time she is the most loveable, soft dog in the world, but she has snapped at people very occasionally when she is scared (we don't let strangers stroke her because she is scared of people she doesn't know, for example). So far we have kept her well away from toddlers as they scare her - the size really doesn't help as they tend to be right at her eye level.

We are already planning to put baby gates in from before the baby comes, so we can manage where the dog goes. She's not allowed upstairs at all or on the furniture, and she knows this. Obviously we will never, ever leave her alone with the baby for even a moment. The dog is a very important part of the family and we don't want to exclude her but I need some advice on how to manage it! We are planning to buy the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair with the newborn attachment so we can keep baby off the floor.

Any advice, tips or experiences would be very gratefully received!

specialsubject Thu 02-Jan-14 14:21:21

you've got to do what you are doing - make plans to contain the dog and to keep the two of them apart. As you note they must never be left alone together, and that will apply for many years.

no dog is entirely trustworthy because they are lower life-forms that operate on instinct, which can over-ride training. I don't think you can be too careful, recent tragedies bear this out.

not saying the dog has to go, but the random behaviour of a baby and a toddler may well make her unpredictable. So as the only thinking beings in the house it will all be up to you!

GlitterFingers Thu 02-Jan-14 14:56:31

I was you 2 years ago I seriously worried my dog would ended up being rehomed or put down. Luckily he loved the baby and still does even when she steals his toys. She is 16 months feeds him his food gives him his treats and sits next to him when ever she can. Send a baby grow or towel home with the scent of the baby with your dh so the dog gets used to the smell before the noise arrives grin. Good luck I hope it works out as well for you as it did for me

crumpeteer Thu 02-Jan-14 15:52:52

I think you just have to see how it goes as you cannot predict/prepare how life is going to be. I would try and expose her to as many things she will encounter once the baby is there as you can (obv slowly and gently, you've still got lots of time till June). Do you know someone with a pram you could accompany on walks so she learns to walk nicely next to one? And play some screaming baby sounds to her. I can understand your worry and don't think you overreacting, it is a big change for your doglet and of course she is part of your family too.

Bridezilla3521 Thu 02-Jan-14 19:33:37

You sound like you have a good plan already. The only piece of advice I have is make sure you 'introduce' your dog to baby as soon as you get home. With ours, he sniffed her moses basket (with her in) and over the first week or so, we let him sniff her feet. Always make sure dog is involved so doesn't get jealous e.g my dog sits in living room with us when appropriate. Get him walking with the pram ASAP as well.

doineedhelp Thu 02-Jan-14 20:35:32

I have 2 big breed rescue dogs and there arre some things you can do beforehand like getting yourself a doll and dressing it up as baby, putting shawl on etc and carry her around to get the dog used to seeing you with something else. If the dog tries to jump up on you then you can discipline him. Also put baby in moses basket in lounge and see how the dog gets on, if he is pestering etc then discipline. I also downloaded thw noise of a new born baby crying to get ours used to it. One thing I found is that you don't want to isolate your dog as that is usually where trouble begins. Its hard work but with a bit of effort you should be fine.

Also make sure your dog has somewhere to go if he needs peace

Goes without saying never leave baby alone but my son now 3 loves our dogs and vice versa.
Good luck!

doineedhelp Thu 02-Jan-14 20:37:15

Yes, like bridezilla says, let dog come and sniff baby. I stayed in hospital an extra night so gave husband baby vest for dogs to sniff.

Also ask visitors to make a fuss of dog as well as baby

3littlewomen Thu 02-Jan-14 20:47:48

I would strongly recommend getting your husband to bring home the first blanket the baby is wrapped in and letting the dog sniff and keep the blanket (our lovely boxer still has DC5 blanket in her bed even though he is 6 months old now). Once the blanket is home, our old lady frets until I am back with "her" puppy!!

You have to strongly errr on the side of caution, and I think you are being so sensible to be discussing and thinking about this already. Hopefully your baby and dog will have a loving and affectionate relationship... Our boxer is so in love with the children, the baby is unwell today - the only place he would settle was curled up on the sofa beside the dog!!

superlambanana Sat 04-Jan-14 00:54:18

Thanks for the replies. I played her baby crying noises on YouTube yesterday and she didn't bat an eyelid. However when my friend brought her five week old round today she looked rather alarmed when it started crying and making other baby noises! I gave her a few treats and she calmed down, then seemed fine. DH and I took turns fussing the dog a bit when the other was holding the baby, and we're careful not to fuss her as soon as the baby had gone in case she associates baby leaving with praise! Fingers crossed for when we bring our own squawking bundle home!

MiaowTheCat Sun 05-Jan-14 12:58:31

Don't worry about it too much - just leave neither side of the equation alone with the other side basically.

I have two big dogs (one questionable Heinz 57 thing the size between a German Shepherd and Border Collie, and one retired Greyhound) and the main issues we had were walking alongside a pushchair (the thick as mince Greyhound still hasn't mastered this one after nearly 2 years), and soft white fluffy thing stealing (again - a bit of a Greyhound speciality)... she'd make off with hats and blankets and the like.

Our house has the lounge and dining room knocked through into each other - what I've done is to have a long baby gate put across the archway so we can either have the dogs in at the sofas with us, or in the dining room depending on how we're set up at that moment in time - so the dogs are in the family space but have space to retreat to if necessary... quite often find now that our soppy mongrel is lying at the gate looking very bemused as my younger baby (9 month old) is lying facing him giggling and grinning at him, or my elder toddler (20 month old) is sat there "reading" him stories. The reading has done nothing for the daft bugger's IQ level though. I've also got a baby gate on the kitchen door, and various other points so I can zone off areas depending on how many adults we have around and how muddy the dog factor is at the time.

I found the dogs struggled a little bit when the squarking bundle of baby got mobile and was unpredictable for a while - more so than the newborn phase - again giving them a space to retreat to is more important than anything then.

superlambanana Tue 07-Jan-14 19:53:06

Thanks Miaow - that's really helpful! smile

I'm glad you started this thread, OP as I am in a similar situation, so these replies are very helpful!

Mama1980 Tue 07-Jan-14 20:30:24

I have a nearly 3 year old springer x lurcher bitch and have 4 children, 16, just 6, 13 months and 6 weeks.
I got her when my 6 year old was 3 and they were inseparable from the start. I worried a lot about how she would be with my 13 month old, as we were in hospital for 5 months. But I gave her a baby blanket before we came home and gradually allowed her to sniff etc. the same with the youngest and she never batted a eyelid to the crying anything.
I always make sure she has somewhere to go if she wants, though she never does dopey animal! She actively seeks out the children. And will search high and low when one is 'missing' off schedule.
One thing I do do is because she is protective, and would 'fuss' when people held the baby, she would literally sit and stare at them, is separate her when we have unfamiliar visitors, it's less stressful for her.

hercules1 Tue 11-Feb-14 22:35:50

Or the other times she has occasionally snapped at people as you posted beginning of January.

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