Prepping dog for baby

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by LostAndConfused, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

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    My sister is pregnant and due in Sept. She adopted a dog last summer from a local shelter and I genuinely think he'll be GREAT with kids, I'm just not sure about how he'll be with a tiny baby. I am my sister's 'go-to' person when it comes to dog questions, so I thought I'd start prepping myself for her questions.

    What are some things my sister and her husband can do to make this an easy transition for the dog? He's about 65 lbs of black and white goofy and is the gentlest dog I have ever seen. He's just a hyper puppy right now. You can tug on his ears and tail and take stuff out of his month and he'll just lick you.

    The other dog in question is my parent's dog. Well, I guess technically he's my dog, but my mom has kidnapped him and won't let him go. lol. This dog is 8 and has not been exposed to many kids. He's not really a fan of kids or strangers. I told my mom, the best we can probably hope for with him is avoidence. He doesn't like people pulling on him and he's really good with "drop it," but if you try to take something from him he's likely to growl and possibly snap. The good news with this is that he doesn't really chew on toys or bones any more and he's normally pretty content to just lay on the couch and survey the living room. With this dog, he's old and grouchy and we didn't do enough to correct his behavior when he was a puppy and now we're needing to either fix it, or find a way to work around it.

    Any good books or websites I could suggest to my sister?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Barb04

    Barb04 Love my pets Staff Member

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    I know one thing people do is to bring home a blanket or something from the hospital with the baby's scent on it so when the baby comes home, the dog will already be familiar with the scent.
     
  3. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    We raised a 9 week old puppy with a 2 week old infant, and are now preparing to add a second baby to our family with the first baby savvy dog and a second goofy goober giant puppy. Actually, my sister is staying here with her baby and it's been really good practice for the second dog.

    Ground rules:

    1. Never EVER leave dog unsupervised with baby/child. EVER. EVER.

    Even if your dog is amazing with babies, some dogs can't resist the yummy smell of a soiled diaper and may inadvertently injure a baby trying to nom a diaper. Or they would accidentally punch him with a paw, or any number of other things. With small children they can randomly do hurtful things to dogs because they are small children and you need to be there to intervene so the dog doesn't try to defend itself and then get euthanized for injuring the kid badly/killing the kid. As an example, my daughter is extremely dog savvy for a little kid. When she was two, one time she stuck both fingers up my dog's nostril and pinched REALLY hard. He cried. I wouldn't have blamed him if he snapped or growled at her for that but he didn't. Luckily I was there to see it happening and stop her. Even now though I don't leave them unsupervised. She loves to play dress up with them and they enjoy it, but I have no idea when she might get some weird dress up idea they don't like so much and accidentally hurt one of them.

    2. Always protect your dog.

    That sounds weird because children are the priority but it keeps the child safe. All the reasons are listed above. If your dog trusts you to protect them from overzealous children, they won't resort to self defense or correcting the children themselves. If they feel the need to do that, then you've failed the dog on some level. I'm pretty sure the reason he didn't hurt my daughter when she pinched his nostrils is because he trusted me intervene.

    3. Don't punish growling.

    Growling is good. It's the dog's only way of saying "I'm scared! Stop it!". You want them to warn you when something is scaring or bothering them. Often, dogs that "suddenly snap" or "bite out of the blue" are dogs that were punished for growling. They had no way of telling people how uncomfortable something made them until they were pushed into biting. You always want that warning intact.

    If a dog growls it's best to remove whatever is irritating them, and find a way to desensitize them to the situation so they don't feel as threatened in the future. If you old dog growls when people take his bones for example, you'd back away from the bone. At this point you can do a couple things:

    Let him finish the bone in peace, or

    Go get something amazing (like hot dog) and trade for the bone, or

    Go get a leash, put it on him and gently call him away from the bone and give him an amazing treat.

    If dogs are guarding stuff, find treats they like even better than what they are guarding. Play trading games with them so that they learn giving their toys and food to the humans gets them rewards. I swap and then give their old thing back as soon as they finish the treat, so they learn that giving up their treasure means more treasure+old treasure. They have zero issues with kids or each other getting into the food dishes and playing with toys and bones.

    More in the next post.
     
  4. Romy

    Romy Taxiderpy

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    For baby/dog interactions we did the following:

    1. The trading games I mentioned in the first post.

    2. The dog was not allowed on any baby stuff. So the play mats, etc. he could lay next to, but not actually on.

    3. He had his toys, and my daughter had hers. No dog teeth on any baby toys. Some people put a dot of listerine on any toy that isn't the dog's to make it smell different. We didn't need to. Any time he tried to pick it up I'd just say, "Eh eh," to get his attention and then shoved one of his own toys in his mouth. He got the idea very quickly.

    4. While the dog is sleeping, get them used to being suddenly woken. I started by laying a blanket on him and then giving him a bit of hot dog when he woke. Gradually I worked it up to whomping him awake with a big pillow, or baby sized stuffed toy. The thinking is you want them to associate being suddenly woken with being pleasant, so that if a baby crawls on them or trips on them while they sleep they won't reflexively snap at the baby while still half asleep. Of course, you don't want to let a baby do those things but with kids and dogs stuff happens, so you want to help the dog be as bombproof as possible.

    You can also get recordings of babies crying and stuff. That helps some dogs. Our second dog transitioned just fine to hearing my sister's baby without them. If you have any questions let me know.
     
  5. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Excellent posts from Romy, as usual!:hail::hail:
     
  6. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll definitely pass these on to my sister.
     
  7. scrofford

    scrofford New Member

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    It just so happens I have an article on my website concerning this EXACT issue. Click here and it will take you directly to the article. It's not a very long article, but it should be a good start for you!

    A lot of people don't really have a clue as to what they need to do when a baby is on the way and they have a dog. Most of the time the dog is made to leave, which I think is terrible! Hope this helps!
     
  8. maxfox426

    maxfox426 My dog tickles my soul

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    Thank you for making this post and to Romy's response! :hail:

    I've already read many of those suggestions, but I still learned something new in this thread. Always great!
     
  9. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    *bump*

    Sorry. My cousin is having a baby in a few months and she just asked me how to prep her dog for the baby, so I needed this thread. It took me FOREVER to dig it up, so I'm bumping it so that I can find it easier. :)

    Thanks!
     
  10. stardogs

    stardogs Behavior Nerd

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  11. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    Passed it along, thanks!
     

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