B.A. asks from Camas, WA on January 15, 2009
How to Introduce New Baby into Home with Two Beagles?
We have two beagles (one almost 6 years old and one 6.5 years old) who have always been very patient and gentle with other kids in our neighborhood. In fact, at the request of the parents and the lady in charge, I used to take them to a daycare down the road from our house in the afternoons so the kids there could play with them! We are expecting our first child, a son, in six weeks. Just wondering if anyone has any advice on how to introduce a new baby into the home so the dogs accept him and understand he's one of us, not one of them to dominate. Some worries...leaving our son on the floor or having the dogs in the car with our son in the carseat and having them climb over him. I've always heard beagles are great with kids, but never having one (a child, that is) in our house makes me a little nervous. We've had the dogs about 5-6 years.
T.C. answers from Portland on January 16, 2009
M.L. answers from Seattle on January 16, 2009
If at all possible, send a blanket or shirt that smells like the baby home as soon as possible before you get there with your son. That will help your dogs get used to the smell of the baby before he's in the house. You probably won't be leaving your son on the floor until you have a chance to see how the dogs interact and have a chance to teach them that the baby dominates them rather than the other way around. I also strongly discourage you from taking the dogs in the car with the baby at this point unless the dogs are crated or in seatbelts. We have a siberian husky that was riding in the backseat with our daughter and the dog was shifting to get comfortable and stepped on the seatbelt holding the carseat in. Fortunately I heard it happen and was able to immediately pull over and buckle her back in safely. From the sounds of things, your dogs wouldn't intentionally harm your son, but with 3 beings stuck in backseat, it's impossible to know what would happen.
1 mom found this helpful
H.O. answers from Anchorage on January 16, 2009
Beagles are great with kids..we had one growing up that watched all her kids except the youngest graduate high school (There were five of us.) We think she was around 16 years old when she passed. She was great with us, and other kids..and was even very nice to other dogs.
Main thing: Include them, and if you set limitations right away..perhaps even go so far as to put the carseat in the car, and put a doll in the carseat ..or even a bag of sugar..something they might wanna lick at anyrate but not edible necessarily. Teach them to "Leave it" or whatever your "tsk tsk " word is and they will leave it alone. Make sure you praise them highly..don't give treats for expected behavior though will create spoiling. Just simply reward with ear rubs and such...make sure they familiar with baby sounds...listen to baby music a little, and other things..get out baby toys that rattle and squeak..you just familiarize them with the sounds and they won't be so traumatized by a baby crying. Don't blast them with surround sound..put a cd player where baby will sleep and have a track of a crying baby on there. (Warning this has been known to cause early milk let down ;)
Good luck..and give them plenty of love, and when the baby comes make a concentrated effort not to shirk them on their exercise, or affection. In our house the dogs go outside in the morning before we even get the kids up..and they usually are in shortly after. Before we move into the day we spend a few minutes saying "Good Morning" to them. And at night we say good night..as they are family too. (Whether that time is spent playing a short game of catch (one or two tosses) or just stopping for an ear rub for five minutes..seems to make a big difference in their day. They get ornery if we are too hurried and don't do it. SO, I Suggest keeping your routine with them or develop one now that will include them...so that nothing gets forgotten or left out..and no one feels left behind :)
A.M. answers from Portland on January 16, 2009
I was real;y worried abou this too. I have a beagle mix & she is...was the boss. So someone told me that the whole family has to act like the baby is the new boss...the baby is the new head of the pack. I also acted very, very strictly whenever the dog showed any signs of wanting to compete with the baby. She got the idea pretty fast, I'm not talking about hitting your dogs...no....just let them know it's completely unacceptable to threaten the baby. But acting like the baby was the new head of the pack worked well, but my dog was depressed for about a year afterwards....so I would suggest that you also try to pay as much attantion to them as possible when the new baby comes, treats, petting, etc....good luck & congrats!!
N.M. answers from Portland on January 16, 2009
When my daughter, my oldest, was born we had a beagle. We weren't sure what to expect when we brought her home. She stayed with family while we were in the hospital and the day before we brought her home we sent a blanket with the baby's smell on it. My husband visited the dog and had her smell the blanket so she was familiar with it. We had the sweetest introduction - the dog LOVED the baby! Belle, the beagle, turned into a little nursemaid! If we came from the store or whereever and the baby fell asleep, we would often leave her in the car seat until she woke up. We'd put on the floor in the family room or on the couch. EVerytime we came home (awake or asleep) the dog would have to sniff up and down to make sure she was okay. If we left her sleeping in the car seat she would sniff her and then come back every so often to check on her. If the baby woke up and she didn't see up pick her up or take her into another room, the dog would sniff all over and whine and search the house until she found her. Then she would have to sniff her all over again to make sure she was okay. Unfortunately our beagle past away suddenly when our daughter was only about 18 months. It was such a sad time. Those two were inseperable.
Good luck to you! I hope you have a wonderful an experience with your dogs and your baby as we did.
B.H. answers from Seattle on January 16, 2009
We have two beagles, boy and a girl, and just had our first child in August. We were concerned about the same thing. I watched the Dog Whisper and he recommends that you keep the dogs at a distance from the baby for the first two weeks so they recognize that this new thing is not a toy. Never leave the baby in a room alone with the dogs and never give the dogs a blanket or toy that's the babies because they will associate the smell as being their toy. We held our dogs off for the first week and never let them jump up on us if we were holding her. While she's on the carpet we keep a close eye on them and command "no" when they approach too close. They have done really well. The first week the dogs had some behavior issues because of the change but adore their new family member now. I wouldn't recommend allowing the dogs free in the car with the baby. All it would take is one claw to the face. My female dog is a nurturer and is always around the baby. They will be great companions as she grows. Best of luck and congratulations!
A.B. answers from Seattle on January 16, 2009
I could be totally wrong about this, but I think you might be my backyard neighbor!
First off Congratulations!!!!! Exciting times are coming soon!
I was raised with dogs my entire life,.. and up until just recently we finally got our own family dog. She's a big one though! I was worried how she would be with our son, especially since hes a toddler and can be rough, but she is fabulous! You just need to encourage good behavior remind them to "be gentle".
Dogs are very intuitive too, they can sense when someone is ill, or when a new child comes into the house. Let them smell the blanket, they will want to smell the baby and lick him! My parents dog (blue heeler) always has to smell and kiss the new babies, its a dog instinct to smell and get familiar with the new member of the family. So you don't want to shun them away but let them get to know the babe as the new member of the family. In no time they will become very protective of you new wee one. But since there are two pups, you may want to let them meet him one at a time that way its not too overwhelming for you, daddy, the babe, or your dogs!
Congrats again! That would be very cool if you were my backdoor neighbor,.. instead of swapping sugar we could be sharing childrens tylenol! ha-ha!
E.J. answers from Seattle on January 16, 2009
My husband took a blanket home from the hospital that our son was wrapped in a day before we came home and let our dog sniff it. Not really sure if it made any difference - as of now our baby is 10 months and loves our dog but our dog is still a little unsure (but very tolerant) of the baby. They just have to get used to each other over time like anyone does. Most dogs do tend to be very spacially aware and will likely not cause any problems but at least beagles are fairly little. Our Lab-boxer mix got excited and stepped on our baby's back when he was like 4 months and everyone was just fine. Baby's are tough! In a few years they will all be the best of friends! Congrats on your upcoming addition!!