If you don’t have a pet then you’re going to wonder why the hell I’ve felt the need to write this post but honestly, I think this question appears in my dm’s every other day! When I first fell pregnant I remember receiving an overwhelming amount of negativity to how it will change my feelings and behaviour towards our Dog. I was devastated. Steven is my first ever dog and my ultimate baby, I couldn’t imagine ever feeling any different but I can’t lie, the negativity from other dog parents had really got to me.
I wanted to do everything I could to make sure that we still gave Steven the life and love he was used to when our daughter Jax arrived. So, I did a lot of research into the best practices to make it an easy journey and I wanted to share with you, what we found to be a success.
1.Before your child arrives pop onto YouTube and play one of the millions of clips of a baby crying or screaming. This might sound like torture (it is a little) but it’s a great way to see if your pup is going to be distressed by the sound of your little one when he or she cries. We played about 5 minutes of this clip to Steven and his ears didn’t even twitch, phew!
2. Aim to bring the baby into the dog’s environment, not the other way around, to avoid them feeling displaced and put out. You’ll need some help from others but you’ve just given birth, so most people are happy to help. We made sure to give a muslin that Jax had been wrapped up in from birth to our friend who had been looking after Steven while we were at the hospital. She returned home and took Steven back to our house with the muslin for him to sniff. When we were let out of the hospital that day we returned and each popped in to give him a cuddle without Jax to reassure him and then lastly we brought her in, in her car seat and popped her down in front of him to sniff. I think he thought she was his as he was so excited!
3. Allow them to be a little different for a couple of days. Steven was much more panty for around 3 days but who could blame him, there were so many friends, family members and midwives popping in that it was a little overwhelming and he went into protection mode. We found the best thing to do was reassure and try to stick to his usual routine as much as possible.
4. It’s true, you should never leave your dog alone with your child but in all honesty, it’s more because I wouldn’t trust my daughter not to stick her finger up his bum or in his eye and who wouldn’t react to that! We found it useful to always have somewhere that Steven could go to get away from her when he needed and made sure to teach Jax the correct way to stoke and pet him. It’s our responsibility to protect both the dog and the child from each other.
5. Walks will be different in the beginning. I felt guilty because Steven had always had 2 hour walks off the lead and unfortunately when you have a child strapped to you or you’re pushing a pram I felt too nervous to have him off the lead in case he ran off and I couldn’t chase him with a little one. Just know that this will change with time. Nowadays Steven gets two shorter walks, one with the pushchair or pram and then one later when my partner gets home and one of us can take him out without Jax. Sometimes walks don’t happen because of the weather, sickness or nap times and that’s ok, instead, we play inside the house using treats, balls, the stairs and brain training games.
Have you come across any helpful ways to get your child and fur baby to become Bffs, comment below!