January 27, 2008,
K.M. asks from Columbia, MD on January 21, 2008
Preparing My Dog for Baby Coming Home
I wanted to know if any of you have advice on getting my dog adjusted to having a baby in the house. How to introduce them, etc. Maybe how to prepare him before we bring her home from China. My dog Braveheart is a super loving affectionate dog. He wouldn't hurt a flea but I know there will be major adjustments - he will no longer be the baby nor will he be getting our undivided attention. Any ideas out there? Thanks!
So What Happened?™
Gosh - Thanks all of you guys for your great advice!! Braveheart will be boarding at our vets for the two weeks we are in China - they love him there and take extra care of him. I think I will have him stay 2 days after our return and then have the baby upstairs while bringing him in on the main floor. I won't have any blankets or hats to share with him ahead of time. I definitely agree with you all that they need to be introduced fairly soon after they meet in the house - unlike what one of the MIL's thought in a response below. With Braveheart, you can tug his tail, his ears, move his food dish - he's so laid back. He's a Keeshond and they are wonderful family dogs. Putting the high chair, etc in the kitchen for him to get used to is an excellent idea.
Thanks everyone. I'll let you know how it goes. I don't know when we'll be going over there - China adoptions have been significantly delayed.
M.O. answers from Washington DC on January 22, 2008
Many parents ask for the blankets that the baby is wrapped in after birth, blood and all. According to the parents the dogs need the scent and will associate the smell when the baby arrives. I would call a dog trainer to find out other specifics.
K.K. answers from Washington DC on January 22, 2008
I remember being told to tug at the dog's ears and tails. Also bother them while they were eating...put hands in dish etc. The day you actually come home, it is a good idea to have the baby outside and have dad go in and love the dog. Then have mom go in and love the dog while dad is outside with the baby. Then, have dad hold the dog while mom brings the baby in holding him/her.
I hope this helps.
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M.C. answers from Dover on January 22, 2008
I worked as an RN in L&D and we heard this question a lot. Our advice was to take the pet into the babys area frequently, a lot of the time this a room that wasnt previously used and let him smell all of the babies new things. Talk about the baby by name or by baby so the pet is familiar with the name. The best thing is to bring him the babies clothes, blankets from the hospital. After the baby is born but you and baby are still in the hospital, have your hubby bring home some of the babies blankets and clothes he used that are still unwashed. The smell from the clothes will be great for the pet to sniff and get used to. Good luck!!!
S.S. answers from Washington DC on January 22, 2008
Good for you that you are taking your dog into consideration!! What always worked for me was to have my husband bring home a blankie that I had used while holding the baby. He would let him sniff it and get use to our scents together. Also, when bringing my second baby home we had (still do!) a rottie. I wanted to make sure he was use to baby sounds, etc. So I wrapped up one of my younger daughter's dolls and it was a good thing I did. He was a bit jealous just seeing me hold a baby doll. He got use to it quickly and learned not to jump up on me or sniff too forwardly. He has always been great with the kids and protective of them too. Regardless, I NEVER left him in the room unattended with any of the babies even if they were in the bassinet. Good luck and congrats on the baby!
T.N. answers from Washington DC on January 22, 2008
Make sure the FIRST thing you do when you arrive home is greet your sweet, loyal pup WITHOUT your baby in your arms. Your dog has missed you and needs your undivided attention for a few minutes. At least that's a first step!
K.L. answers from Washington DC on January 22, 2008
Unless you have an article of clothing with her scent on it to let the dog have before she gets home, there is not a lot you can do. When we brought our two children home from Russia we never thought there would be a problem with our friendly dogs. Unfortunately as soon as our 3.5 year old walked in and saw the Springer Spaniel he started screaming, not the home coming we were expecting. He didn’t seem to care about the Westie. We kept them apart as much as possible and thought about giving the dog away. It took him three months not to be scared anymore, we never knew why, the dog is super friendly. Our daughter was 10 months old and never even noticed. They both now torture the dogs with hugs and kisses and everyone gets along great. So sometimes everyone just needs a little time. Good luck, you must be very excited.
C.M. answers from Norfolk on January 22, 2008
This book was reccomended to us by our dog trainer: Your Baby and Bowser. We had two 'problem' dogs and were very worried about bringing our daughter home. It was very helpful.
T.B. answers from Norfolk on January 21, 2008
Before I started working in day care, I was a Vet assistant and had to answer these kind of questions on a regular basis. The first thing that I would suggest is to have your dog around children about the same age as your little bundle will be when you bring her home. This will get him used to the sounds and smells of a baby. Another thing that you can do is to ask to have a blanket or shirt (or something) that your baby has slept with or worn sent to you, if they will do that, you can let him sleep with the blanket. This will get him used to having her scent in the house and around him. If you do not know anyone with a baby around your little one's age, maybe they can send you a tape of her crying and laughing so that he can hear her before she arrives. I would go and get him a special toy or treat to have around when you bring the baby home. This treat or toy would be something that you only give him in the presence of the baby so that he will learn to associate good things with her (most dogs that I know go "crazy" for hot dogs or cheese). If you are able to get a tape of her, you could also give him the treats when he is listening to the tape.
You are right that there will be some adjustment time needed for him. I would just remember to make sure that he does not feel that you are turning your back on him when the baby comes. Always make it a positive experience for him and he should do just fine with it.
If I can be of any help when your little one gets here, feel free to send me a message!
Congratulations and Good Luck!
J.B. answers from Washington DC on January 22, 2008
My husband brought home a blanket for the dogs to sniff before we brought Nate home. Also, I walked into the house first WITHOUT the baby (my husband brought him in) so I could pet and reassure the dogs. Hope this helps!
A.S. answers from Charlottesville on January 22, 2008
While I was pregnant, my husband baby proofed our cat and dog. He got down with them and pretended to be there offspring. He made sure to teach them how to react when the tails, ears, feet, hair got pulled. Just be playful with them and when the dog gets rough, remember to show who's boss by holding their snout closed. It may take a few times of playing to make sure the animal realizes that you are playing with them and are not a threat. Also, wash an item that is going to be the baby's and let the dog smell it and be comfortable with it without taking it over. We brought home a blanket that had the baby's smell on it from the hospital. But that's not possible in your situation. You might also want to make a particular time of the day that you give extra attention to the dog and then very little for the rest of the day. They do adjust just fine. Do you have any friends with little kids? Getting the dog used to other kids might help easy the tension too. I hope this helps. Good luck with your new life adventures.