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Young dog and new baby(13 Posts)
Hi everyone, long time reader first time poster!
I'm pregnant with first DC (its early days yet) and have a 9 month old puppy. I am doing usual puppy training and working hard on recall and lead walking.
My question is, is there anything specific I should be doing with puppy to prepare him for this change. He is absolutely part of the family and I want to set us all up for success when baby comes.
He is fine overnight for 8-9 hours but not left much during the day. I am building up the time he is alone in day/evening (after a run) and am up to 2 hours without problems.
He can be a bit possessive of chews/toys - we are working on swapping, although this does worry me a bit for toddler stage.
I would never leave dog and baby alone in a room together, any contact would be fully supervised.
Any other suggestions for things to start training now? Or anything to be aware of with dog and baby that a first time mum may not have considered.
I would only allow him in the areas/places in the house now that he will be allowed when the baby is born. So for example if you wouldnt want him kn the sofa when baby is there, dont let him on now, etc. Just makes it clear to him what he is and isnt allowed from the beginning.
Walking nicely on the lead also a big one to make it easy to walk him and push a pram at the same time.
My dog is an older boy so he was much more set in his ways but the things that have been important for us are:
Stairgates all over the house.
Being able to walk next to pram safely - his harness means he does this really well.
Have a rock solid recall as I can't just run after him - this has been a life saver.
Being able to leave things when told verbally. You often can't get to them to stop them, say if your baby is napping on you and they've found a toy.
Not barking at the postman/passers-by (this is the biggest problem I have, he woke the baby multiple times a day for months)
Having good manners with visitors (I can't have friends with babies over as he's too boisterous).
Sleeping in his own bed outside your room at night. You won't want to be dealing with a dog too during night feeds.
Try and do all you can so they don't get used to stealing food. Mine will take food if you are distracted and I often was when DS was small. There was something soul destroying about having an upset baby and your lunch has been wolfed down by the dog!
Your dog will be the best cleaner uper ever during weaning.
If you can train them to leave the room and stay out that's helpful, an OUT gets mine out and it can help when you just need them out of your way while you deal with baby.
Seriously consider an outdoor mixer tap so you can wash the dog in warm water without having to drag them and your baby upstairs to the bathroom.
Don't stress if how you feel about your dog changes after birth. I really struggled as I was so wrapped up in the baby. It's nice to have someone else to cuddle when the baby is napping and the walks are some of my favourite memories.
I hope that's not made it sound horrific, my dog does some of those things really well.
Thanks @Chuffingchuff we sort of do that, we don't have him upstairs, but it isn't 100% enforced as we don't have a stairgate there but will get one.
@gingerbreaddragon yep we are working on the rock solid recall. It was good as a little puppy but we've just gone back on the long line as I teenage willfullness has set in and sometimes another dog or scent has proved more interesting than us. Teaching a strong leave it or drop is probably our best goal then as tbh it is something he struggles with and we've managed it so far but yes as you say may not be as mobile to swoop on things first!
I am a bit concerned about managing baby and dog when out and about on my own but I think that's mainly because I have very little concept about how it will be to manage the baby so it's hard to picture it all fitting together. I'm leaning towards a sling being easier than a pram.
Definitely definitely use a sling. While he is still young and you are practicing recall etc you may need to use a training lead which needs 2 hands. Also leaves a hand free for treats etc if you have any reactivity issues that come up.
The fb group Dog Training Advice and Support has a brilliant unit of dogs and children with loads of great advice.
“I'm leaning towards a sling being easier than a pram.”
I did struggle a bit with slings in general to be fair, but, picking up poo is real awkward with a sling on and with a pram you can just park it up and go deal with any dog situation.
Many congrats OP.
My dog was about 7years old when our babies started to arrive, he was absolutely great with them, never showed any sign of jealousy. When we brought each of them home, we let him have a sniff of them in their car seats.
When I was starting labour at home, my dog was very distressed, he knew something was happening and he was stressed out, so be prepared for your dog to get upset when the time comes.
We also never left our dog alone with our babies, whilst he was usually very calm, I was always fearful that if a toddler grabbed his ear etc what may occur, we wanted to keep him safe too.
If it helps I was maybe lucky but I found that the baby loved the walks, loved to look around at the trees or whatever we were passing and so was generally calm whether in pram or sling. Often the motion sent him to sleep so I used to time it with nap time. So the real trick was sorting the dog and then it was fine.
Teach him how to walk nicely next to the pram, most people end up using a combination of slings and prams until the DC can walk independently so I think this one will come in handy.
Teach him to accept being closed off from some areas of the house, ideally with a baby gate so he can see what is happening.
Think ahead to late pregnancy/newborn stage to see how you will manage the dog’s needs. It’s obviously a time you will want to concentrate on yourself and the baby, but if the dog gets a lot of good walks and continues his training during this period, things are more likely to go smoothly.
Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Don't want to sound like a patronising old fart but it's so lovely to read of someone considering their dog when a baby is due.
The only thing that jumped out was the bit about being possessive. It depends on how that presents and how it develops.
If it looked like resource guarding I would consider getting a good behaviourist in who uses positive reinforcement methods. That's fixable but it can be made worse if not handled correctly.
Not suggesting that's what it is or you need to panic! Good luck with your extending family.
Our puppies were a year when ds was born.
They were allowed to lick his feet!! No issues at all with jealousy, ds is 5 and they have an amazing bond.
Dogs Trust have some guides here:
They have some recorded sounds to play for your pup, babies are LOUD and that can be a bit surprising for dogs!
Make any changes now, not when baby comes. E.g. if dog won't be allowed on the sofa, change it now. If they will be sleeping elsewhere, change it now.
Practise walking with pram and reward for walking nicely with it. I did this before baby was born so i was confident when I had to go out.
Get baby things out now so your dog adjusts to them being there - e.g. musical bouncers. Play crying sounds and reward calm behaviour. Even wash yourself in baby bath products to get the smells introduced.
Have a look at the resource guarding with a behaviourist to try and get it sorted before it has the chanceto become an issue - make sure they use positive reinforcement.
Good luck, and don't panic. My boy (boisterous breed) accepted our baby in to the family like she had always been there and is so gentle with her.