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Tips please - preparing dog for arrival of first baby (sorry, long post)

(9 Posts)
DreamingOfTheMaldives Thu 04-Apr-13 11:45:02

Hi. I am 19 weeks pregnant and want to ensure my dog is as prepared as possible for the arrival of baby. I don't want him to be stressed out by the arrival of the baby and I don't want to get stressed out at him when I am tired etc.

He is a 4 year old labrador x miniature poodle whom we have had since he was a puppy. I work from home 90% of the time so he is used to having me around. He often tends to come upstairs with me and sleeps in his bed on the landing while I work in the office. He is pretty well trained (although a little cheeky at times).

Baby will be sleeping in our room with us initially and then in our spare room for the next few months (the spare room is also my dressing room so it will certainly be multi-functional for a while!) Our dog sleeps on the landing at night but does tend to come into our bedroom in the morning, usually to wake us up because he wants breakfast!) He also tends to come into the spare room with me when I am getting ready. In fact, it's probably fair to say that he follows me everywhere given half a chance!

He is allowed on the sofas for a cuddle but only when invited - he does sit in front of us to 'ask' to get up and sometimes we let him but does respond well when we say "no, bed"

He is not food possessive at all.

He follows me everywhere. I can train him very easily to stay downstairs when I go upstairs and can train him to stay out of certain rooms. I know how to do this but we haven't always been consistent which is why he follows me around blush He is a very intelligent dog and learns very quickly when training is consistent. He is also quite a sensitive dog.

If we leave him downstairs while we come upstairs he tends to collect items such as slippers and shoes and cuddles up in bed with them and even takes the dog shaped draft excluded In similar circumstances he has been known to take plastic type things to his bed and chew them, I think because they make satisfying crunching noises as he destroys them!

He absolutely loves cuddly and squeaky toys although doesn't get possessive over them.

He can get jealous - if I am stroking another dog he is likely to come over and wants to get in on the action but there is no aggression whatsoever. Similarly if my husband and I are having a cuddle, he wants to join in.

All in all, he is a wonderful temperament and is fairly well trained but has been a bit spoilt with time, love and affection, particularly by me.

Sorry, this has turned into a really long rambling post but just wanted to explain as much as possible about my dog.

What are the best things to do to prepare him for the arrival of baby. Things I had thought of but don't know if they are necessary:

1. Practice bed stays to ensure he stays in his bed sometimes when baby is on the floor (eg nappy changing). Don't want the baby standing on!

2. Prevent him from coming into our bedroom and the baby's room (a little concerned about this as he does come into our room to tell us if he needs the toilet in the middle of the night or if he is going to be sick)

3. Stop him from following me upstairs so that I do not get stressed out by him being underfoot when I am with the baby.

4. Get a 'baby crying CD' and also perhaps a doll to carry around. Ignore any jealousy type demands for attention when I have the doll.

5. Put up cot and Moses basket before baby arrives so that he gets used to it

6. Borrow friend's pushchair so we can practice leadwork and ignore strange looks that I will get for pushing an empty pushchair around!

7. When baby arrives, try to find a few minutes every day just for me and my dog to have a snuggle.

Does anyone have any other suggestions, or any comments on my ideas. Really want to make this transition as calm as possible for my dog and us. I read a thread on AIBU recently about people who don't really like their dog as much after they've had a baby and the majority of posters agreed that it is how they had felt. The thread really upset me and left me a hormonal blubbing mess and the dog had very soggy fur

Sorry for rambling

Bunnylion Thu 04-Apr-13 12:20:36

I'm in a similar position - 20 weeks with my first, work from home and also take my dog to work, so he has me with him all the time.

I'm not as anxious as you seem to be about it. I think this is because there are a couple of babies in my family and circle of friends so Ive made sure my dog spends some time with them over the past few months. He is fascinated by babies and I'm sure will fall in love with mine when the baby pops out. But I will be keeping a physical distance between them until he's used to it and I'm comfortable.

Do you have anyone who can help expose your dog to a baby? Obviously done in a safe and calm environment.

I know that I'll have less time for my dog when the baby comes but I'm sure a lot of people who say that they no longer like their dog are just very tired and stressed out new parents.

I grew up with dogs and they were a wonderful part of my childhood that I look forward to my child having as well.

Try to give your dog some organised baby exposure if you can and try not to worry about it too much!

Empress77 Thu 04-Apr-13 12:26:15

How about a DAP collar when the baby as may help him relax about it?

DreamingOfTheMaldives Fri 05-Apr-13 12:07:49

Sorry for slow response.

Bunny - I am a bit anxious about it. To be honest I'm anxious about everything to do with the arrival of the baby but that's another tale. Unfortunately I don't really have anyone with a baby who he could be exposed to - my friend does have one but she is quite scared of dogs herself so I don't really want to ask her.

My DH thinks that our dog will be fine and will adore the baby but I can't help but worry that he will be miserable because he won't have as much attention/time anymore.

Empress - that's not a bad idea. May get one of the plug in ones instead though as my dog is rather furry and the collar probably won't get close enough to his skin to be activated.

tabulahrasa Fri 05-Apr-13 13:17:27

To be honest - I did absolutely nothing to prepare either of the dogs I had for the arrival of the DC.

When I had DS I had an elderly lab cross - he did come and glare at me occasionally when DS cried, in a, can you not shut that thing up? kind of way, lol. Other than that he pretty much ignored him. He was grumpy and arthritic and missing an eye by that point though.

He died, I got a new dog when DS was about 2 and had DD 2 years later - again I did nothing, in fact he carried on sleeping on my bedroom floor. He loved DD (well with a brief interlude of being a bit scared of her when she got mobile and pokey until I managed to stop her hassling him). He slept underneath her cot when she was in there and moved to under the bed if I had her in there being fed.

Yes, they get less attention from you, especially with a tiny baby - but that stage doesn't really last long and after that they've got a mini person wandering round dropping food for them (not my plan, but a very welcome bonus for the dog) and willing to throw balls for hours while you can do something else in the same room...children are much better at things like hide and seek because they fit into smaller spaces. So ok, you're busier, but you've given the dog someone else to play with, lol.

I wouldn't stop him following you by the way - it's much handier to have a dog that follows you so that you can leave the baby to do something than to leave the dog and move a sleeping baby.

Scuttlebutter Fri 05-Apr-13 15:05:28

Not a parent myself, but some observations based on seeing what's helpful for other people. Great idea to get dog used to various baby related items in the house.

When you are actually having the baby, and immediately post your return home, even if birth is very smooth, you will be very tired, and trying to establish things with baby. Good idea to sort out who will be looking after dog while you are in hospital and have plan/mini suitcase all ready and packed for dog, just like yours. Consider booking and using a professional dog walker for the first couple of weeks - this will help to ensure dog is still getting plenty of exercise/attention and takes the pressure off you/DH while you are still sleep deprived and exhausted. Check dog's schedule for things like worming, vax etc and make sure these are not planned for the week you come home from hospital! Take dog into vet a couple of weeks early if necessary to get these done and sorted before the big day. Make sure you have plenty of supplies of things like dog food etc. before the big day.

You'll be doing lots of walks with a buggy/pushchair so if it isn't already good, perfecting ROCK SOLID loose lead walking is an investment to make now. Either go to training classes or work one to one with dog trainer (APDT, so positive methods) to get this right, and generally improve doggy manners - he sounds lovely now, but any improvement is good, and a well trained dog is just so much easier to live with.

Transport - depending on your vehicle, will there be any changes in where/how your dog travels, if baby seat is going into car? If so think about how dog can continue to be carried safely and securely in vehicle and begin now to use new methods if changing e.g. crate in boot, seat belt harness etc.

Good luck smile

Lilcamper Fri 05-Apr-13 16:11:29

This is a brilliant blog on the subject by a really good positive trainer lothloriendogservices.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/preventing-problems-part-two-the-coexistence-of-children-and-dogs/

No point in carrying a doll round, the dog will know it's a doll and the baby will smell, sound and look completely different.

Isandri Sat 06-Apr-13 19:51:03

I love my dog just as much now as I did before I had my baby.

All I did was get the dog to stiff the baby's used clothes when I was in hospital. I let the dog stiff the baby when we came home. I carried the baby a sling (caboo) when I walked the dog. The baby now wants to see the world so I use a pram. The dog was so excited to see me when I got home I took him on a quick 5-10 minute walk and gave him a pig ear when we got home.

I still let the dog sit next to me on the sofa. If the baby crys and I don't hear him the dog fetches me and takes me to the baby.

DreamingOfTheMaldives Wed 10-Apr-13 12:45:33

Thanks for all your suggestions. I guess I am over thinking things and just need to relax about it a bit.

Tabula - good point about the dog following me around.
Lilcamper - thanks for the link. Very true about the doll, I think my dog would look at me with disgust that I think he is that stupid to believe it is a real baby!
Isandri - good to know your feelings towards your dog didn't change. I guess family cuddles on the sofa will just involve 4 of us instead of 3! Getting some of his favourite treats in sounds like a good plan - he could have these when the baby arrives home so he associates his/her arrival with really good things.

Scuttle - I mentioned dog walker to my husband but he thinks we should be fine as he will be at home with me for 3 weeks after the baby arrives and my Mum and Step-Dad will be around for the 4th week so my dog should still get his same amount of exercise. Will probably end up using a dog walker for my last few weeks of pregnancy (if DH is working away) so will have someone available if we realise we are struggling to manage in those first few weeks. His loose leadwork is very good at the moment but he can have a tendency to stop abruptly to scent mark or if another dog is nearby so we are currently working on this.

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