Friday, April 24, 2015
It ain't that RUFF! Introducing Your Newborn to Your Dogs
If you’re anything like me, before babies you had pets. In my case, it was a lot of pets. I blame the nurturer in me, I just can’t resist an animal! So when I became pregnant with my daughter she was already coming in to a family of five - two parents, two large dogs and one turtle. They were our first children and we treated them as such; so a lot of planning went into the first introduction and although our oldest children took a little while to warm up to their human sister, they are now best friends! Here are my 4 tips for introducing your four legged babies to the newest additions. Before you even go in to labor let the dogs explore all the new stuff. Our house had transformed a lot before our daughter even made her debut. A whole room of stuff the dogs had never seen, a bassinet in ‘their’ (our) bedroom, a swing in the living room, a stroller in the hall. It was A LOT of stuff. So we let them interact with it all as much as they wanted in hopes they wouldn’t get jealous of the baby getting to have stuff we won’t even let them near and trust me, these dogs feel jealousy! Take an extra blanket with you to the hospital (one you won’t be upset with losing), wrap up your bundle of joy in it for a little while then let your significant other or another family member give it to the pups before you even go home. This will get them used to the smell of the baby so it won’t be a completely foreign smell when they meet. In our case the dogs sniffed it and then played tug-of-war with it until it was nothing more than shredded fabric, but hey, it still did its job! Go slowly! We were lucky enough to have family members babysitting our pups while we were in the hospital so we actually brought our daughter back to an empty house and we left it that way for a few days. Routines are hard enough to start with just a newborn! However, when the dogs returned we made sure they got love from both their parents before even entering the house (plus we had missed them!) then on leashes we let them inside where they (almost) immediately discovered the new addition quietly swinging away. We chose the swing because it was elevated and we were told from a lot of people that dogs get upset if their parents are the ones holding the new baby. Remember, you were their parents first! Let them sniff. It was so hard to not have a heart attack and pull him away the moment our nearly 80-pound dog stuck his nose in the swing to get a whiff of the tiny (barely 6-pound) human invading their space but I watched carefully and let it happen (with a terrified look on my face I’m sure!) and just as he would with another dog, he gave her a once over and went about his business.