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Love. Create. Celebrate. : They Call it Puppy Love

Saturday, March 1, 2014

They Call it Puppy Love

This is a family of dog lovers. There is absolutely no questions about that! We LOVE our two puppies. 
The little black one (we don't know what type!) was mine before my husband and I married, and the Rottweiler was my husband's. 
They are known as Joop (pronounced "Yope") and Daisy. 
And they are learning to adjust to life with a baby! 

We've been preparing our dogs for children all along really. 
Training them to sit, stay, and listen. Splitting our attention between them. Even having an inconsistent schedule for them was training them. We never had consistent walk times because they have a kennel at the side of the house that they can use to do their business. Heaven knows that babies don't come with routines or consistency - our dogs were use to that! 

However, there was a change that we specifically made once we knew the baby was coming. As soon as we knew I was pregnant, we started training the dogs to stay out of what would be the new nursery. I knew I didn't want the room covered in dog hair, and I didn't want the dogs to feel free to wander in there and sniff (or worse, chew on!) the baby's things. They learned very quickly, and it wasn't an adjustment when the baby actually came. 

After we had our daughter, we did two very intentional things: 

1. We sent a blanket home with grandma for the dogs to sniff while we were still in hospital. Something that smelled like us, but also like her. We wanted them to be familiar with her smell before they met her. 

2. We had them meet her in the driveway - not the home. Somewhere neutral so that they could sniff her and hear her before she entered their home for good. 

These things seemed to ease the adjustment, because the dogs were VERY good with her once we got home! They were curious and wanted to sniff her and follow her everywhere we took her (although not into her room!), but they were very good. 

Since we've been home from the hospital, we've done these two intentional things: 

1. We try to expose Ellie to the dogs, and the dogs to Ellie, as much as possible - supervised of course. We lean her up against them, and reward them with treats for being good. We let them sniff her and go near her freely because we want them to learn to be gentle with her.  Of course, we also have to punish them if they get a little too friendly - nudging her, licking her, etc. But, so far they've been very good with her - just curious. 

2. We made sure to give them lots of attention. We wanted to make sure that they didn't feel neglected. I'm sure that my husband did a better job of this than I did, because I was often preoccupied with feeding, burping, changing her… or sleeping! Having my family stay with us also helped with this as there were always more hands free to pet the pups. 

I predict that the puppies will be best friends with Ellie in a couple of years. They already seem to love her so much!
I think the most important thing is that you don't wait until your child is here to think about the changes that need to be made with your dogs. Don't wait until the 9th month to retrain them or everything will change so quickly for them and require a LOT more adjustment!

Anything else that's worked for other people?


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At March 1, 2014 at 10:54 AM , Anonymous Katie Vschaaf said...

Lucy is constantly in training at home.She is super jealous.. so it was a concern thinking about how she'd be with someone else taking all her time. For baby prep we turned on the things that made noise (swing, toys) and she never cared about them. She stayed with Greg's parents while we were in the hospital and for our first week home of adjusting. Her first time meeting Casey was at mom and dads. She was so happy to see us, I dont think she really cared about Casey. I was nursing him on one of the spare beds and she came in and laid beside us.. then I pretty much knew we'd be fine. When she finally came home, we let her be close to him and we let her lick him (but not on the face) because thats always how she expresses her love. She started bringing all her treats to him and thats when I knew they would be just fine. They are absolute best friends, its the sweetest things :)

At March 2, 2014 at 4:00 AM , Blogger jennyc said...

Can't say I have ANY dog experience... but that last picture sure is cute! :)


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