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Twin babies and a dog

(15 Posts)
Cornwall73 Fri 12-Apr-13 18:46:43

I have also posted this in the twins 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!

idirdog Fri 12-Apr-13 19:19:59

I don't have twins and dogs but a really well known UK dog trainer and top behaviourist has 2 sets of twins and a singleton in the middle. Plus at least 7 dogs. So twins and dogs can be done. smile

Most dogs do not react aggressively to babies or turn into mad aggressive dogs overnight however I can understand your concern.

I would have a gate between the kitchen and living room, then the dog can see you but be in a separate section from you and the twins. TBH he may not feel excluded but welcome the peace and quiet. As long as he gets cuddles etc when you are both around and gets his walk he will be as happy as can be. He will be getting more attention if you are usually at work if you keep up the dog walker then you will also know he is exercised and relaxed.

Put up the gate now and just get him used to being in a different room from you - reward him when he is chilled and relaxed in the other room. Build up gradually.

Sunshinewithshowers Fri 12-Apr-13 19:29:28

Hi OP, I moved 2 weeks ago & am due in 11 days (not twins)

At my old house, my huge collie x wolfhound would come up to bed every night with me.

But since moving I have put a stair gate at the bottom of stairs to get him used to staying downstairs at night before baby comes.

He paced about a bit on the first night, but I came back downstairs & settled him. He's fine now. Doesn't seem bothered.

I think I would gate off the kitchen & lounge If I were you.

Im worrying a bit, think I will have to do the same, as It will just be me as the only adult in the house. 'D'p has left us! hmm

I keep wondering about toilet trips ect if baby is asleep.

Sorry, Im not much help! But your right to prepare x

Cornwall73 Fri 12-Apr-13 19:36:51

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 however I have a feeling that the trainer's capabilities at handling a well behaved pack of dogs and children will be better than mine!

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.

Lilcamper Fri 12-Apr-13 19:37:22

I had a baby den (play pen) that I put round my daughter's Moses basket to stop it getting bumped.

Cornwall73 Fri 12-Apr-13 19:40:31

Funnily enough someone is selling a second hand baby dan playpen locally for £45 and I have already emailed to say I want it!

Sunshinewithshowers Fri 12-Apr-13 19:50:44

Are you in Cornwall OP? Im west cornwall, , there is one on eBay in Helston £40 x

Cornwall73 Fri 12-Apr-13 19:55:27

Sadler not smile its my road name in London!

ShesADreamer Fri 12-Apr-13 20:02:54

I not only have 7 week old twins but two retired greyhounds - it absolutely can be done!

Any changes you want to make regarding gates/off limits areas etc you should do now so they're established by the time the babies are here.
Our dogs had beds in our room and in DS1's bedroom and slept upstairs with us. I thought they'd be devastated at being left at night but they've adapted really quickly to upstairs being completely off limits and we don't even need to shut the stair gate.

Also, when you get your pushchair, take the dog out for walks with it so he can get the hang of walking behind it and not getting caught up in the wheels.

Initially, the cries of little babies can elicit a prey response in dogs so be on guard the first few days. They very quickly learn that this is the newest addition to their pack though.

I made a point of fussing the dogs while I was feeding the babies as there wouldn't be any high pitched squawking and the dogs could get a good sniff of their heads while building good associations. I'm bfing so have hands free once they're on. Harder with bottles though.

Weirdly, we were worried about the stairs thing but in reality it's perfectly easy to carry both babies down at once.

Neither of our hounds have shown the remotest interest in babies on the play gym or pushchair (the babies nap in their pushchair carrycots during the day). I'm sure this will change once we're weaning though!

Hope that helps. Feel free to pm if you have any specific questions.

Cornwall73 Fri 12-Apr-13 23:10:01

A greyhound twin mummy! Wow! I knew I couldn't be the only one! Thank you for all your kind words, you have shown me that it can be done with advance preparation and positive reinforcement.

I have been distressed about it all recently because he broke his toe at Christmas, it didn't heal and half his toe was amputated. He also has an ulcer on the same foot. He is not allowed on his usual walks as he has to rest but its like having a bee in a bottle sometimes. He is very bored despite having lots of toys and a selection of beds to choose from. We are just taking him on lots of short walks when we can but every other day he is having accidents in the kitchen, shredding mags and loo roll or his latest is loosing all confidence on the stairs and crying until one of us makes a fuss and accompanies him ( at whatever time of day or night). I am nearly 20wks and very tired when I get back from work so having to deal with our normal chilled out dog being a bit of a handful is sending me over the edge a bit. We hope he is on the mend soon though but these last few months just fuelled my concerns about the babies.

topbannana Sat 13-Apr-13 02:51:34

If I were you I would buy gates for every door. They can be left open all the time but when the babies are in one room and the door goes or you need the loo, you make sure the dog is the other side of the gate to the babies. It's a bit like one of those logic games really!
Start early with stopping the dog going upstairs. It will then not be a shock to him when the babies arrive.
Also try and remember that, while you will undoubtedly have your work cut out, there will only be odd occasions (such as bringing them down the stairs) when having new twins is much different than having a singleton WRT the dog.
Oh and congratulations by the way smile

foolonthehill Sat 13-Apr-13 09:07:51

I had 4 children under 5 and a lurcher.....by child 2 i decided that in addition to the gates on the room doors i would crate train him (he was 3ish) as an extra way of ensuring he had some space where the DC could not bother him...and also if i was getting a bit pressurised i could pop him in for 20 minutes to straighten life out again...and he couldn't jump out of the crate! it worked like a dream...he loved his space and the DC quickly learned that it was not for them.

You've had excellent advice.

congratulations on the twins and good luck with everything.

minicreamegg Sat 13-Apr-13 13:30:01

I have 2 German Shepherds and a 1yr old, I'm pregnant again and I'm thinking even going for a pee will be a big dealsmile can't leave dogs with DC's, can't leave my 1yr old alone with baby!

Quodlibet Sat 13-Apr-13 13:44:07

OP, congrats on your pg.
Another thing to consider is that greyhounds are about the least aggressive dog (I remember reading somewhere that there has never been a case of a greyhound attacking its owner). If anything he will probably want space away from the babies and will need somewhere quiet and twin proof to remove himself to.

Cornwall73 Sun 14-Apr-13 08:30:07

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. So the second hand playpen and mat got dropped last night. the people selling it 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. The playpen is not as light as I had hoped but I will be able to move it from the living room to the kitchen depending on why I'm doing.

Good to hear that they are not bothered about feeding the babies. I was worried that the smell of milk would spark an interest.

No doubt MIL and step MIL will visit and help but they are very much non dog people so other than accepting that he have there is no intersection with him. If they visit and DH is not here doggy duties will be down to me. They have already questioned us about our plans to further train our dog when the babies come (step MIL is a cleanliness freak) and DHs response that they will be in a cot and therefore safe didn't go down well. To be honest they know that DH is out of the house for 12 hrs a day so I will bear the brunt of child and dog care and having some stuff in place like the gates will help me. I also found out that some of their concerns come from the fact that DHs uncle was attacked by a dog in his pram when he was a toddler. They didn't go into details but it was obviously a very scary thing that has affected the family. He wasn't physically hurt but he did develop phobias to animals as he grew up.

Greyhounds are very placid, so laid back they spend most of their retirement horizontal, but I just didn't want to be caught unawares with two new borns. Thank you for all your advice, it will be used.

And thank you for your congratulations. It has taken us seven years and much heart break to get here. When we got our dog it was because we wanted to go on walks and for our hands not to be empty - everyone seemed to be pushing buggies or holding children. We had each other but wanted someone else to care and fuss over. He gave us this, and now, God willing, we will truly have our hands full smile

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