Preparing the dog for the baby...(4 Posts)
Our baby is due in Feb, and we've been doing what we can to make sure it's not too much of a shock for the dog but I just wanted to check if there's anything more we can do.
So far, we've worked really hard on her being happy to be left on her own for a bit. (2-4 hours, never ever longer!)
We've made sure she met lots and lots of babies and children.
We've got her a bed or mat in each room and taught her that that's her space and she needs to go to it when asked, so she knows not to be underfoot.
As soon as the baby is big enough, we will also be training the baby not to ever go in the dog's space, so her bed and toys will always be hers.
I haven't managed to teach the dog the difference between her toys and baby toys, but as she never ever destroys toys, just likes carrying them around, I am going to let that one go!
My mum is nearby and had already agreed to watch the baby regularly so the dog and I can go out for a few good walks a week, and we also have a dog walker, and I plan to walk with the baby in a sling also.
Any other tips?
Just get her involved. Let her sniff baby, cuddle them both at the same time. Talk to her while holding baby etc. Just don't push her out. You want her seeing the baby as pack, not as a rival for your affection and attention. My dogs were a bit when I had DS. They got over it as soon as DS was crawling and they realised they had a new playmate. He and youngest dog are actually the same age. Elder who died last year was my girl, through and through, would follow me everywhere and used to wake me when DS woke in the night before he even started to cry. Younger is DS's partner in crime and I could cheerfully throttle them both some days but they both love/loved the kids and were/are endlessly patient.
Our staffie was a year old when DD arrived, she is nearly 2 now, and has been great with her. He sits by the bed while i am getting her to sleep and took to fetching DH when she cryed. We did similar things when I was expecting her. We also got a realistic crying doll and would cuddle it and ask him to be gentle. When we came back from hospital (after an unexpected 10-day-stay for me and DD) I went in first and made a big fuss of him, he was wildly pleased to see me, before DH brought DD in.
He got into the toy box once before she arrived (i was hormonal and cried buckets), but since she has been here has been really good at leaving her toys alone. We make sure he gets lots of presents too. Only casualty has been a rag doll who got her head pulled off. Entirely our fault for ignoring him lots one day because we had a non doggy friend round and leaving toy lying near his toy box.
DD loveds him too. She went through a hase of fetching his lead as soon as she was up and asking to walk him (we had to hide it as I was worried she'd strangle herself), and most mornings fetches his bowl to feed him. She threw most of his dinner over herself today trying to carry it back.
When i was in hospital with my baby, i brought a blanket in to wrap him up in and sent it home to my dogs bed after, so his scent was familiar to them. This stage (i.e newborn) I didnt find an issue at all, it was quite easy. When they're mobile you need your eyes everywhere - having two dogs was a bigger burden, but we used stairgates to manage it. Its been fine so far, my little boy is now 2. Neither seem much fussed by the other.
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