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Your dog and your new baby

Forum: Pet Owners and Animal Lovers


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June 20th, 2006, 01:51 PM
Iris's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,090
I wanted to put a thread together on how to get the family dog ready for a new baby. Please, everyone, share you best advice, links, books, etc. It comes up often and it would be nice to have all the info together in one place.

I think the most important thing is patience!! Here's an article that I found helpful before bringing our baby home:

I also read the book Child Proofing Your Dog and thought it had some good ideas. Some of them were pretty common sense though.

Personally, I think that taking your dog through obedience training before the baby comes in so incredibly helpful. Commands like "leave it" and "drop it" will save you a lot of aggravation. Crate training is also helpful. It's nice to be able to but the dog somewhere and know that he or she isn't getting into trouble.

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June 20th, 2006, 01:56 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
I've posted this elsewhere... it's just a copy/paste ... so ignore anything that refers to a previous post ... I'm lazy! I'd highly recommend taking a babies and dogs training class while you're pregnant! Ours was great.

(1) I agree with what she said - bring home a shirt the baby has worn for a whole day so that the dog is smelling the baby and not just the hospital. The only thing I would add is that it shouldn't be shoved in the dog's face ("here, sniff this!"). It should be hanging from your husband's back pocket or belt loop or whatever and just left there. That way the dog gets used to the scent WITHOUT thinking the shirt is being given to him as a toy (thus, making the baby a toy).

(2) Include the dog in EVERYTHING! When you take the baby out in the stroller, take the dog as well. When you're feeding the baby, you should also feed or play with the dog. We went to a dogs & babies behavioral class when I was pregnant. The instructor said that for the first few weeks, stop feeding your dog once or twice per day as you have been. Feed the same "amount," but break it up into 10-12 tiny feedings so that the dog is fed every time the baby is fed. It's not only positive reinforcement, but the dog understands that you're not unjustly giving attention to the baby... you're FEEDING the baby.

(3) While holding the baby, YOU pet the dog. Slowly (which may mean 2 minutes or 2 months!) begin allowing your dog to sniff the baby, followed by you petting the dog with the baby's hand, followed by the baby petting the dog him/herself. Luckily a JRT is a short-haired dog. When babies get to the hair pulling stage, some frighten or even hurt smaller breeds and can cause the dog to lash out. Keep a close eye out for anything the dog might not like, and immediately move the baby away. This teaches the dog that you'll protect him, and teaches the baby (or toddler for that matter), that the behavior wasn't appropriate and won't be tolerated.

(4) Noise! If your dog is used to a quiet house, start making noise now. That might mean leaving the t.v. on, playing a cd of a crying baby, or whatever. Leave lights on randomly throughout the night, too. As for the baby, from day one, you should have the t.v. on, run the vacuum, let the dog bark/play, etc. The baby will get used to having noise around and won't wake up every time the doorbell rings or everytime you run to walmart.

(5) Initial introduction - When you enter the house, you're on the dog's territory with a new pack member. They must be properly introduced and put into place or the dog will try to dominate the baby. Walk in as you normally would without making a big fuss ("oooh! look at the baaaaby!" - NO). Sit on the floor with the baby and/or lay the baby on a blanket on the floor. (If you have a c-section, your hubby will have to do the introduction. It's really better if you do it though.) Let the dog sniff to his heart's content. Greet the dog without acknowledging the baby's presence (except for protection of course), so that your full attention is on the dog.

(6) After all is said and done, the baby is 4-6 months old and learning to roll/crawl. They're the best of friends, yada, yada, yada. Now is the turning point: NEVER leave your baby alone with the dog. When the baby becomes mobile, it's a whole new ball game! The dog will see the baby as either a puppy or a lump on a log at first and learn to ignore everything. When the baby becomes mobile, he/she can very easily annoy or even hurt a dog. The dog might get up and walk away. That's great. Many times they'll put a paw on the baby's hand or back to assert domination. Not only does the baby not understand pack mentality, but a dog's rough paw pads and/or claws can hurt the baby. If the dog doesn't want to play but the baby does, just as in the wild, he'll give a "gentle" snap/bite...which isn't so gentle on a baby's skin. 'Innocent' gestures from the dog can hurt the baby and vice versa. It's just best not to leave them alone until at LEAST 2 yrs old or so (and even then you should be in the next room and not across the house).

(7) When the baby becomes a toddler or young child, the dog might again try to show some dominance (by jumping up or whatever... that's fine for adults, but can severely hurt a child if he's knocked over into a table or something). Have the child feed the dog. First, the dog learns that he won't eat unless he's nice to this member of the pack, and second, the child learns responsibility. It's exactly the same for a husband/wife if the dog obeys one and not the other. The weaker member of the pack should be the food provider.
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May 18th, 2007, 08:19 AM
Super Mommy
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Linwood Pa
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i don't have a dog but my brother does and the dog i wild, so shes been in a cage, shes one of those dogs that when she gets excited she pees, So we keep her in a cage until my brother decides what hes going to do, Sell her or keep her.. I love animals but i prefer waiting until my kids are older to get one.
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July 3rd, 2007, 03:41 AM
PrincessLou79's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Shropshire
Posts: 40,661
I'm so glad I came across this thread! I am expecting my first baby in November and I must admit I have been worrying about how my dog is going to react to the new addition to the family, as she has been our number one for such a long time now! My partner and I have had problems with her in the past, with separation anxiety issues, and after months and months of re-training and hard work, she has only recently returned to her normal, happy, energetic self.

I would be devastated if we had to get rid of our dog, so I shall be extra vigilant in following the advice given here and hopefully everything will be fine!

Thanks ladies!
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July 16th, 2007, 01:32 PM
Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 796
I am so happy that this is up here. My first baby will make his or her appearance in december. i've got a beagle puppy right now and he'll be just a year when the baby gets here. i'm so worried that we'll have to get rid of him but he's been introduced to some babies before and he does okay he gets excited though because it's a new person. he's done obedience classes and we are getting him used to the baby stuff in the house as we get it. i'm a stay at home wife right now and will be a stay at home mom.m i'm just worrie dthat he will be very jealous since he's my "baby" now.
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October 30th, 2007, 09:12 AM
kris3307's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,722
I remember when we had Sara my DH brought home one of the baby's blankets so he could get use of her smell. We also did was when we got home from the hospital my sister-in-law was waiting outside with Charlie so he could greet her and all walk into the house together. He was a little jumpy at first but when we put her next to him he kissed and was smelling her. It was very cute....

Since then they become such great friends and actually one of her first words were Charlie... How funny is that??


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December 7th, 2007, 10:51 AM
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I am so glad this thread is up. My main concern is for the safety of my dog because I've seen/felt her worst, and it isn't even enough to leave a mark. She only weighs 4 pounds and is getting older and I'm sure when my daughter starts being mobile Yoda will make a very fun toy for her. I hope to be able to teach her to be gentle with Yoda (that is if Yoda ever lets her get near her haha!) but I've never had kids so I don't know how easy a task that is.
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April 4th, 2009, 10:59 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
How to introduce a new baby to your dogs - CNN.com

I'm surprised that the last line of this article isn't closer to the top of the article!
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October 4th, 2009, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 48
I agree, thank you for posting all of this. Very helpful!

Last edited by FeatherBlue; March 2nd, 2010 at 01:11 PM.
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December 14th, 2009, 05:13 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 178
My dog has met babies and small children on numerous occasions. She gets so excited. She seems to be naturally careful with very young children not to knock them over or try to play rough. Older kids she will try to roughhouse with like she does us. Do you think she'll do well with our own baby? Shes been through obedience class, crate trained and all that buisness and she is well socialized.
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December 14th, 2009, 05:29 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Kazoo
Posts: 2,156
I bet he will do well. Our dog is the same way, careful with little kids but kinda rough with the older ones, and she has been awesome with our baby. Ever since we brought her home (and actually while I was pg) our dog was very protective of her and me. Now that DD is a little older they play together all the time. Our dog lets the baby pull her hair and poke her in the face and she just loves the attention. Here's a picture of them playing:
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December 14th, 2009, 09:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 178
How cute! What kind of dog?
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December 20th, 2009, 11:37 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 3
I would think that this advice may work with the majority of breeds, but I definitely will not be taking part in the "lying the baby down and letting the dog sniff to its hearts content".

Although, a lot of this is just common sense. My 120 lb dog is getting no where near until we're confident he's 1) ok with the baby and 2) not going to clumsy foot all over him.
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May 26th, 2010, 10:31 AM
elsi2009's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 269
I found a helpful PDF here http://leerburg.com/pdf/introducingdogsandbabies.pdf
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December 18th, 2010, 06:46 PM
Purrrrrrr's Avatar Semi-crunchy Mommy
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,715
Hey Guys,

I have a question and I'd like to get an opinion on how to introduce my puppies to the new baby in May:

I have two black lab puppies, Jake and Jocelyn. I have no doubt that Jake will be terrified of baby because he's terrified of everything new. He will avoid baby as much as possible, probably for a month or so.

Jocelyn on the other hand, LOVES, LOVES, LOVES children. I mean, freaks out with sheer joy when she sees a kid. By the time baby arrives, she'll be a little over a year old, so still a puppy in labrador time. I am worried she won't be able to stay away from the baby! Every time she sees a kid, her first instinct is to lick it from head to toe. She knows "leave it" and can usually control her urges, but kids are a whole different story. It's like she simply cannot resist them. She's also incredibly strong. It takes both me and my husband to hold her back when she really wants to go somewhere.

What do you think I should do to prepare her? I'm considering getting a life-like baby doll and carrying it around at home, but it won't smell like a baby and it won't make noise like one. I know when it cries, they're both gonna get upset (I had a bad day once and cried when I got home and they ran around in circles with their tails tucked). Any suggestions?
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December 30th, 2010, 06:52 PM
Rozz-berry's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 440
Originally Posted by Adrienne214 View Post
Our dog lets the baby pull her hair and poke her in the face and she just loves the attention. Here's a picture of them playing:
Love this picture! Thread tagged.
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September 28th, 2011, 12:35 PM
theagent49's Avatar Veteran
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 139
I'm just wondering if anyone had an hyperactive dogs that they were worried with how they would act around a baby. My 4 year old lab is a little high strung and it's my only concern with bringing in a baby (we're going to start trying in early 2012).
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