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Preparing dog for arrival of baby(23 Posts)
Just wondering if anyone has any experience of preparing their dog for the arrival of baby! We have a 5 year old Goldendoodle who we (or I) have babied quite a lot - he's not overly spoilt but he does get cuddles on the sofa/on the bed when he's been a good boy, and as the only dog/pet in the house he has been used to getting lots of fuss and attention.
I'm 16+4 weeks pregnant and just starting to think about things we can do to slowly introduce baby to him so it's not a massive shock when he/she arrives. My auntie said that every time they bought things for their baby they showed it to the dog and let him sniff it and get used to the smell etc, that way all the things and smells when baby did actually arrive wouldn't be a shock to him. I think we will do the same thing once we start buying things and once we start decorating the nursery and building furniture etc he will know that something is changing.
He can be quite hyper and still thinks he's a puppy sometimes, which is what we love about him as he has lots of character, but I'm hoping that the arrival of baby will make him calm down a bit. Having said that I don't want him to feel pushed out and completely go into himself - we would both love for him to be very involved with family life and the thought of potentially having to re-home if things really don't work out breaks my heart (though I'm sure it won't come to that).
Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated!
My tips would be, make sure you've got the "leave it" and "drop it" commands nailed - especially for high value items - in preparation for thrown baby toys and dropped food ;)
And take him out for walks with the buggy/pram before baby arrives so he gets used to that too.
When I was in hospital after having DD, my DH brought home her worn baby grows, blankets etc and left them where our dog could get a good sniff. I'd picked this tip up somewhere on the internet. It gave him a chance to become familiar with her scent so it wasn't so new and strange when she actually came home with us. Worked very well, he didn't pay much attention to her really and by the time she was up and moving about he was acclimatised to her.
We were going to do the worn babygrow thing but baby came unexpectedly early so didn't a chance!
We let our dog be around a couple of friends kids to get her used to the grabbing and noise of children and we know shes a docile thing.
Shes lab/collie x so is max as a hatter and full of energy but seems to know to chill a bit around the wee one.
When we brought dd home we introduced them right away but didn't make a big deal of things and she fell asleep next to the wee one in her bouncer. They know they're part of the family. The baby will smell like you!
Watching this with interest as am also 16 w with my first and have 2 dogs also
Make sure he gets a good long morning walk every day. That eases frustration a lot. There's no doubt that he's going to be demoted and he will inevitably feel it. I guess it's a disadvantage that he's accustomed to getting up on furniture and if you wanted to change that, now would be the time. I have very happy memories of 90 min dog walks with DS in his sling and the dog will just love having someone at home on maternity/ paternity leave too.
Make sure the dog has a safe place to retreat to where no one follows like a cage or bed. It means if the dog does get overwhelmed with the change he has somewhere quiet he can go and not be disturbed. Also start implementing any rule changes now. So if you no longer want him on the couch start that training process now.
You having a baby won't make the dog calm down. Why would it?
Time for some obedience training maybe?
Plan now what changes will happen after the baby arrives. Don't suddenly shut the dog out of certain rooms or not allow it on the sofa once the baby arrives. If you always walk your dog at the same time you could vary it so the dog walk can fit in with the needs of a baby.
How will you manage exercise after the baby comes?
You need to be able to separate dog and baby.
Thank you all for your helpful comments - really appreciated. Will definitely try and do the baby grow thing! Also a lovely comment about the dog loving someone being at home during maternity leave. I've got no issues with him being on the sofa/bed, he only comes up when we allow him to, he doesn't just get up willy nilly so I'm happy with that.
@Wolfiefan there is no issue with obedience, he is very well trained. Just because he is happy and bouncy doesn't mean he is naughty! I have heard a lot of people say their dogs calm down with the arrival of a baby as they can sense a small human being is fragile... Not sure what you mean by having to separate dog and baby - clearly I know they don't come as a package? I'm just saying I want the dog to be a proper part of the family.
You said he was hyper and thought he was still a puppy and you hoped he would calm down. That reads like he gets away with everything!
By separating I mean you can't leave a dog and a child together alone. You need to be able to keep them separate when you're not actively supervising. Your dog also needs to be able to get away when your child becomes mobile.
We took the dog for walks with the buggy and left it and the car seats up in the house.
We had a playpen and I put DTs in there in their bouncers when they were tiny if I had to go to the loo / kitchen etc, not because I was worried he would hurt them but because he likes to lick.
We also took babygrows home from hospital so he cold smell them.
Also agree the dog needs space that is his only once the baby is on the move - for us its his bed under the stairs, they're not allowed near.
Ddog got slightly put out and demanding of attention when people came to visit who normally made a fuss of him and then kind of ignored him when they came to see DTs. We asked people to say hello and make a fuss of him when they came to the door and then on to the babies - he was happy then.
Baby gates / stair gates to create dog-free space for the baby.
We had advice from a dog behaviourist that said basically don't have the dog in the same room as the baby without two adults around as if the dog jumps up or needs controlling, then you can't do that and protect the baby at the same time. it doesn't matter how big / small / friendly / docile your dog is, it is still a dog.
She also said to invite the dog into a room rather than let it assume it can go wherever it wants and when it wants. The worry with ours is that it will be over-protective of the baby.
@Wolfiefan ah he's not hyper in a bad way, he is really very well trained, he just doesn't quite realise he is 5 now and has a few mad mins now and again (though I guess most dogs are like that!). Of course, would never leave a dog and a child alone together under any circumstance. Will definitely make sure dog has a 'safe place' so he can get some quiet time if needed and escape the madness!
@MaderiaCycle fully appreciate what the dog behaviourist said about having two adults in the same room in case of emergency, but unless you are living a life of luxury and are very rich and can afford for both parents not to work and stay at home, how is that even do-able?!
Two adults in the room?! You'd need to employ a dog minder!
Find ways to blast the sillies off outside safely!
Mine doesn't get invited in but she's not allowed to burst through doors when I open them.
Or not have the dog in a room with a baby? Keep it in the kitchen if you’re in the living room or vice versa? Dogs can do an immense amount of damage to a little one.
@MaderiaCycle it's not really practical to keep dog in a different room. We live in a 2 bed terrace, our downstairs lounge and dining room is open plan and the only other room is the kitchen which is too small to keep a dog cooped up in. Upstairs there is just a bathroom, our bedroom and what will be a nursery. Happy for our room to be his 'safe place' if/when he needs it but will certainly not keep him locked up in it.
Regardless of what a dog behaviourist says, I really don't agree with keeping a dog in a separate room. I want to integrate him as part of the family not alienate him. If I didn't want to see him all day or have him involved with the family I would just re-home him not confine the poor bugger to a separate room.
To add, I think you're increasing the likelihood of problems between dog and baby if they are constantly separated. The dog needs to get used to baby and vice versa with both learning how to act around each other.
I played screaming baby videos on YouTube to get my dog used to the noise. I also let her sniff blankets and baby grows and the baby when she came home. Seemed to work well, I gave a 4 month old baby and my dog has happily accepted her into the pack.
The cuddles on couch and bed are probably going to have to stop, chances are you will have your hands full with the baby and you don't need a dog jumping up demanding attention, maybe if you slowly stop it and not let him up aswell it wont be as much shick when you demand he gets down whej you have baby in arms or on couch or are feeding. He might become confused if he is randomly told to get down after being allowed free riegn to jump up. Best of luck.
We put out the cot and rocker etc to let Ddog inspect them, and practised walking around with a teddy bear in a blanket, nursing it and letting Ddog have a look. The key thing was teaching him to back off after he's looked. We also played a baby crying noise on YouTube so he could get used to it, and we made him a nest in the corner with a bed and toys and got him used to lying in it.
@kellymarietunstall2 the screaming baby videos made me chuckle - great idea though, thank you. Glad you have had success!
@missmorleyme he is not allowed free reign to jump up - he is only allowed to come up when he is invited. If on the occasion he does get up without being told to, he is promptly told to get back down again which he does with no hesitation, so I don't see that will be a problem.
Thank you everyone for your great advice and ideas
@cirrys, I was just telling DH this morning that I want to do that with pram and cot (when we get them) and suggested the crying baby videos as well.
At this stage I am trying to reinforce basic sit, stay and leave it commands. Dog 1 is really good with all of them but dog 2 is a little sneaky thief, you get him to sit and stay and he slowly bum shuffles closer and is always stealing the toys that other dog was playing with first (the wee shit just lies on top of them, he doesn’t even play with them) but I am making progress with him and still have plenty of time to go
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