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Dog and baby … help(30 Posts)
Our baby is 6 days old and we’re currently navigating everything that entails, and both myself and my partner are having a bit of the baby blues even though this baby was very much wanted and longed for.
We’ve now got our dog back after he spent the first week with my in laws. He’s a terrier and he is very interested in and barks at the baby, as well as constantly trying to get at him.
We knew it would be like this as he’s very interested in children/animals/everything.
We’re going to try and keep him separate but try to make him still feel special etc by still giving him his regular routine, walks, treats and toys etc. But when the baby cries and he starts barking obviously it’s just really distressing and hard.
I just wondered if anyone has any success stories they could share of babies and dogs where it was a nightmare at first but got better?
I’m terrified this will never get better and that this is just our lives now… please help.
I would get a behaviourist in so they can give you advice on how to stop the unwanted behaviour. Please don’t give up on the dog now you have a baby (I know it’s difficult with a newborn!) I had an elderly dog with dementia when I had DD and it was tough having to deal with both but I loved them both dearly and we got through it.
I had a baby gate between my kitchen and living areas from when the baby was newborn, to begin with it was to keep the dog out when baby was doing tummy time or whatever and then when baby was crawling, it worked well to give the dog some space to escape to too.
My dog didn't really ever bark other than when someone was at the front door, and this was the bane of my life as it was typical that the baby would just start napping as the postie came round or whatever. Being able to move the dog straight away into the kitchen and lock her there (although she could still see us) became the routine and eventually she just knew to take herself there and stop barking as it became a habit.
Did you do any training with the dog before hand to preempt any of this? We played videos of babies crying etc so the dog would get used to it, not sure if it made much difference tbh.
I think you should pay for a behaviourist to come into your home, observe what’s happening and give you strategies. Do it as quickly as you can so you are doing all the right things from the beginning.
@FallonBeesley thank you - no we definitely do not want to rehome our dog, he’s one of the family and we love him to bits. That’s a great idea about getting a behaviourist, will look into that.
Just finding it all very overwhelming right now and definitely have the baby blues 😭
Thank ypu @NoSquirrels also
@CaddieDawg we did play some baby crying stuff but same as you say I don’t think it did much, I guess it’s different when they are actually in the room and being passed around etc x
I have 2 dogs (collie and whippet), both of which I had before my son was born. Our collie was severely mistreated and is incredibly nervous - literally frightened of his own shadow, jumps/barks at every noise, so we were a little anxious.
One of the things we did was set up a travel cot in the living room and popped baby in there while he was sleeping. That way, they could see him, but couldn’t get to him.
Our son is now 3. We’ve never had any issues with either of our dogs and our son. They’re so used to each other, there is no novelty there, if you see what I mean. They just all kind of let each other get on.
The first few weeks with a newborn is overwhelming anyway, adding a dog to the mix can make it harder so I feel for you. My DD is now 2 but I remember the struggle to try and keep the dog in a routine and with decent quality time /walks while being really sleep deprived and generally finding it hard to navigate just getting out the house between feeds and nappy changes. It will get easier x
in the meantime, babygates everywhere, do not let the dog near the baby.
Give the dog kongs/chew bones etc keep him occupied and when you can, plenty of walks with the pram
I don’t really have any practical advice I’m afraid but just to say that I have a 6 week old and a dog, and at first I found the combination of them incredibly stressful, but it will get better! He will get used to the baby always being around soon and calm down I’m sure, and in the meantime try not to let things like him barking stress you out, because you being agitated may just make him more wired. Also if he’s used to going to your parents and it doesn’t unsettle him don’t be scared of asking them to take him again for a night or two if you’re finding it too much. It is VERY early days still, don’t worry, you will all adjust!
Baby blues are tough, you’ll feel much better as baby’s sleep improves. All the best OP
This makes me really sad to hear that you're having to keep your pet apart from the rest of your family. From the dogs position, wouldn't you feel incredibly pushed out? Isn't it better they get to know each other safely? Wouldnt like to advise on this as I don't know the dog though.
It’s early days. I had a newborn and a 2.5year old terrier cross who was less than impressed with baby. He was jealous and took it out on me and DH but has honestly always been as good as gold with DD. He developed anxiety and started chewing and licking his paws and getting sores - my guilt for him on top of the hormones/raging over emotional ness that comes with having a baby made me very upset and guilty.
Like you we stuck to his routine and made a point of getting his toys out and playing with him when we weren’t doing something for DD and whilst I’m sure others would be horrified by this, we let him sleep upstairs with us as we realised he was getting stressed when he saw DD carried upstairs with us in her Moses basket each night whilst he was left downstairs alone. We basically tried to “include” him at every turn (safely and sensibly of course!) and gradually he calmed down and became more accepting.
Weaning was a real turning point as she became a food source to him 😃😃 he loved everything she flung out of the highchair and has developed a real addiction to both cucumber and fish fingers since she came along 😀😀
We realised he got irritated when she screamed (and he still does!) so we made a point of making sure he had free and easy access to a dark/quiet/cosy den or space so he could escape her if needed (but only if he wanted to - we never made him keep out the way IYSWIM?)
DD is now almost 5 and the dog is approaching 8 and whilst he doesn’t always like her he totally loves her. Is very gentle and kind towards her, fiercely protective of her and absolutely loves getting her to go and play in the garden with him!
When she is tired she often asks me for a bowl of dry cereal and they can regularly be found snuggled up together “sharing” it whilst she tickles him and watches TV. When I took her to school for her first day and came home without her he went nuts barking at me and looking for her like he was trying to tell me I’d forgotten her or something!
I’ve rambled a lot, but I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t judge everything on now; they need to get to know one another and make friends. It’s a long game but keep doing what you’re doing and I’m sure it’ll come good over time. The behaviourist suggestion is great and a good one will be able to give you much better suggestions than I have and at least you’ll feel you’ve done everything to help your precious dog adjust to the changes.
Good luck! X
The exact same thing happened to me! When I came home with my baby I was actually in tears because I realised the dynamic had chained and my dog was so freaked out and doing exactly what your dog is doing. My sister in law who has dogs would collect him for a couple days each week for about 2/3 weeks. That way I knew he was having fun and out with other dogs but Not away for so long that he thought we’d go rid of him.
I think he did feel pushed out a bit at the beginning and it was a massive change for him because he was my absolutely baby before my son was born but when you have a new baby you just don’t have the time and energy to dote on anyone other than your newborn. I did make sure at night that we would still have our under the duvet snuggles though and then he just stopped barking and he realised that baby was now part of the pack! It will get better I promise!! Just give them space. Let the dog sniff the baby but then also make the dog realise that this is something he needs to be very careful with. He’ll get the message ! Xxx
It gets better. My dog couldn't care less about getting involved with the kids now they are toddlers but I do remember how hard it was at the start.
There were some standout moments like when my second came home and both her and my then 1 year old took turns at crying (the 1 year old was inconsolable at the betrayal of bringing home a new baby). The dog was losing her mind at all the crying and joined in with high pitched howling and barking. It would have been hilarious if we weren't so sleep deprived. With the eldest, I also couldn't leave the moses basket near any furniture as the dog would be straight in looking for the baby! The dog quickly lost interest in them and now actively avoids them, they're the ones chasing after her.
Lots of attention for the dog and hopefully things will ease up when they settle into a routine with the baby around. Dh and I would also sit on the sofa with the baby and let the dog snuggle up to us or have a sniff while one of us kept them at a reasonable distance in case they got too excited. A stairgate works great so you can separate them when you need to and means you can pop to another room if you need to grab something.
Bless you, it will get better, baby blues make everything look ten times worse than it is.
Is Ddog interested in food, Maybe treat when feeding/needing to attend to baby?
my fox terrier was a nightmare, saw my new baby as prey and would pant and lick his lips with anxiety. Staring at this bundle and jumping and snapping as he was passed around. It was truly horrendous. I found a behaviourist unhelpful, they fuelled my fear and anxiety.
Baby was never ever left alone, dog was only around the baby when my OH was able to help (in the early weeks). He had to be locked in the kitchen when baby was asleep in moses basket and i needed the loo. He was not allowed to sniff baby as some folks would suggest. I know my dog and he would have gone for my baby as to him it was a jerky small creature - squirrel like. So when was in the same rooms as us, my OH engaged the dog in play whilst I dealt with baby. Lots of praise and treats. I would take dog and baby out for walks. (he did try and pee on the pram). It took time, patience and a heightened state of anxiety for a while. My DS is 7 now and dog is 9. They get on brill and never had any incidents apart from those initial worrying behaviours.
Bit of training needed, you can go with an in person consultation or search the net for articles on the subject.
Our dog has been great around our new baby and baby doesn't even stir when the dog barks. We got her when our twins were 9mth old so she's used to babies and we alpha trained. Best thing we did for her was keeping her crate, it is her safe space where the kids are not allowed to bother her.
Thank you everyone.
@monkeeeee your dog sounds similar to ours - terriers eh! He sees the babies noises as like a squirrel or something, whenever he hears the noises he goes crazy at the moment.
We’re hoping he will get used to it. I go to a separate room for feeds and we’ve just bought a room divider/gate so we can gradually get our dog used to being in the room when feeds happen and just so he can’t physically get to him. We have the baby in the pram downstairs and he keeps jumping up at it - we are teaching him not to do that but with the divider it’ll hopefully be easier.
Hopefully it’ll get better with time! Totally understand why the dog is reacting like that, obviously he doesn’t understand but it’s very stressful ☹️
Definitely worth speaking with a behaviourist. We've been going through similar but have 2 dogs 🙈😂 Daughter currently 9 weeks old. Luckily one dog has been pretty chilled and not overly fussed by her but the other gets visibly stressed by her crying and is quite intense and anxious around her. I spoke with a behaviourist we have used with them previously due to his anxiety which isn't just the baby, it's life in general! She suggested the following:
- train dog to go to bed/blanket/crate on command if you haven't already so he has a safe space you can send him to
- practise 'leave' or 'off' command with other things so he will back away from baby when instructed
- use segregation to give him time away from the baby when he and you can relax
- use strategy of sending dog to bed when he is over excited/too intense with interaction with baby and then call him over to interact when calmer, and give positive reinforcement at this point
- keep calm, don't tell him off for unwanted behaviour, instead use leave or off command and then distract or encourage him to another area of the house. Avoid shouting, use low cam voice when instructing him.
- ensure his routine isn't changed more than necessary and take dog out on walks with baby so he has positive association with him
Our nervous wreck is definitely getting calmer but it is slow progress. Luckily though they both seem accepting of her and haven't shown any negative behaviour toward her so far. I'm worried about what will happen when she's on the move but am trying not to think too far ahead and take it one step at a time.
Thank you @MGee123 sounds quite similar to our dog and these are great tips!
At the moment and noise or cries the baby makes he reacts, trying to get to the baby and crying and whimpering.
If I’m trying to feed the baby he jumps up at me if he makes a noise, I usually end up having to leave the room to do the feed as it’s just too much.
We often have the baby in the pram downstairs and he’s fine and will settle in his bed until he makes a noise, then he rushes over and cries to jump up at the cot. We use the ‘off’ command which he knows and understands but he still does it repeatedly and we just have to keep saying ‘off’.
But it’s only day 3…. Hopefully this will lessen!
Unfortunately when the baby is crying a lord in the evenings we have to put him in a separate room (which has his bed in it) which breaks my heart but in a way it gives him a break in a safe place he knows, as he’s on alert all day with the baby around. I just feel bad that he’s on his own when he used to be on the sofa with us but I guess eventually we’ll get our evenings back and he should be able to be with us again (but hoping it gets better sooner than that) xx
*tries to jump up at the pram I meant to say! He jumps up and barks…
I just wanted to say congratulations on the safe arrival of your baby! I remember your name popping up a lot when I was endlessly scrolling on here when I was pregnant so I am so happy to hear your baby is finally here!
Also just to say that the baby blues are temporary and these overwhelming feelings will shift soon. My baby was also very much wanted and I felt on cloud nine when he arrived. But, the baby blues hit me like a ton of bricks and I was crying constantly. However it did pass and it will for you too. I found talking to people about it and knowing it was temporary and very common a real help.
Lastly best of luck with your dog. Mine was very jealous when the baby arrived but we tried to give him as much attention as possible and it has improved loads. Hope it does soon for you too! Xx
I felt a HUGE amount of guilt the first few weeks but it has lessened as the weeks have gone past (only 9 weeks in now!), although not completely gone. I also felt much more disconnected from our boys to start with, which I hated as they were the centre of my world until our baby arrived! But that too has got better and my feelings for them have mostly returned to normal now. As others have said, the hormone surges and general chaos of the first few weeks make everything hard to deal with, so go gentle on yourself. I understand how you feel though. I felt (feel) under immense pressure to make it work as I can't imagine the alternative of rehoming them. This has provoked some anxiety in me I have never experienced before which I discussed with my midwife and they have referred me to the local talking therapies service to help manage this.
Our nervous boy barks when our baby cries too, and is visibly anxious eg pacing, won't settle, chews his bed. Try not to feel guilty for segregating them at times. It might help your dog to relax a bit as well as you. The send to bed command is a god send for us so it might be worth trying to teach him that if he doesn't do it already. It means we're not having to say 'off' all the time! I make a concerted effort to call him over from his bed from time to time when I can see he is calmer, even though it can take a while for him to calm down. It is such a challenge and having a new baby is challenge enough anyway I think! Do seek support though - for your dog and yourself if needed!
@MadAboutMyBoy ah thank you ❤️ We love him so much and we’re so grateful but omg the baby blues are real! It’s great to hear that it’s normal and gets better. Glad to hear you are doing well - how old is your little one now?
@MGee123 thank you, it’s good to know I’m not alone with this! I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through though and hope you manage to get some help. I think I will mention I’m feeling a bit down and overwhelmed at my day 10 midwife check on Monday. It sounds like the situation with your dog is improving though, so hopefully it won’t be like this forever. It’s so hard isn’t it when our pets are one of the family xx