Since I got my dog Lulu Fynn, all my friends referred to her as my baby. Funny as it sounds, when I was looking for a nanny, one of the qualifications was that she had to love my dog. Lulu Flynn always knew I was pregnant. I was hanging out with five friends when the time came to go to the hospital, and they all said Lulu Flynn must have known the baby was coming that day. While I was in the hospital, I even had them sneak her in a purse twice to come visit me. (I’m sure this all sounds crazy.)
The first day I brought my son home, I brought Lulu Flynn outside to meet him just as all the books said. The first time I was changing his diaper. Lulu Flynn jumped up on the changing table and of course, my son peed on me, his pacifier fell, and Lulu Flynn picked it up and put it right in her mouth! Lulu Flynn and my son now both have pacifiers. I learned, at that moment, that Lulu had become my son’s big sister. I used to put Lulu Flynn in a carriage, and she would grab a “passy” so from now on I carry extras that I label just for her.
Lulu Flynn used to sit in the front seat of the car, but now she sits in the back with my son and sometimes even in his car seat. When I would feed my son, Lulu Flynn would bark at the bottle. Now she has her own bottle and formula (though this is probably not safe for dogs). My son’s toys are also Lulu Flynn‘s toys. LOL! They play “go and get it.” I read all the articles and heard plenty of advice from people warning me to be careful with Lulu Flynn and my son, but I of course did my own research, and learned preparations should begin months before your baby arrives. Here are some things I did and some helpful tips for you to follow.
Review your dog’s obedience skills. This should be done even if you think your dog is well behaved because you can never know how your dog will react when you bring the baby home. I never really had to worry about Lulu Flynn‘s manners; she always knows how to ask politely for water by tapping the bottle, she also knows how to pose for the camera!
Play recordings of a baby crying and other various noises that the baby will make. Your dog will get used to the sounds and begin to take them for granted. I didn’t do this, but when Lucas cries, Lulu Flynn goes into his room or barks to let us know he is crying.
Sprinkle baby powder around the house to help get your dog used to the smell.
Start socializing your dog around children. This way you can monitor and supervise the dog’s behavior to determine how the he/she behaves around children.
Borrow unwashed blankets to acclimate your pooch to the smell and feel. Friends brought home the baby blanket from the hospital so that Lulu Flynn could get used to the smell of her baby brother!
Allow your dog to become familiar with baby equipment, and instead of only stopping him/her from behaving inappropriately, focus on teaching him/her how you would like them to behave near the baby. Doing this ahead of time will make a world of difference! Start using the baby carrier throughout the house and in and out of the car to get used to what it will be like to use to equipment around your dog. Walk your dog with an empty stroller to learn about the skills that your dog will need to learn before a baby occupies the seat. Lulu Flynn now sits in the car seat and loves to be walked in the stroller!
There are also guidelines to follow when you bring your baby home.
Mom should greet dog first without baby. (I brought Lulu Flynn outside to meet the baby before I brought the baby in.)
Let the dog to get used to the smells and sounds of the new baby. Start your dog out on a leash until you feel more comfortable allowing your dog near the infant. Do not leave your dog unattended with the baby.
Positive reinforcement will deliver positive results. Punishing your dog is the worst thing you can do. Reward your dog every time he and the baby are together. He NEEDS to associate the child with GOOD things.
Create a simultaneous schedule for your baby and dog. This not only allows for particular times of attention (but also makes your dog feel included and part of the family.) If you hold the baby, reward the dog. If you feed the baby, feed the dog. And, if you change the baby, reward the dog.
Spend at least 10-30 minutes a day alone with the dog.
Do not forget to keep the Diaper Genie locked down to avoid any unwanted mess!
Some days you may feel like you do not have the energy to care for both your babies, but the extra effort will be worth it in the long end, ultimately forming a lasting companionship between your baby and dog …just like Lulu Flynn and my son.
P.S. Some items in this article were a tad exaggerated … ■