HOW TO INTRODUCE THE FUR BABY TO THE NEW BABY?
Harvey is Sam and I’s first baby and anyone who know’s us, will most certainly know this! He is a Mini Schnauzer and just turned two in December last year.
Come end of March last year I really started to notice behavioural changes, he most definitely wasn’t himself. Needing to be next to me at ALL times including the bathroom! I presumed this was just a phase and maybe he was feeling slightly ill. Then the following week I found out i was pregnant and it all made sense! Dog’s know when your body chemistry changes and even though you may not be aware of the fact your body has changed they most certainly are!
During this last trimester of my pregnancy Harvey has really started to become overly protective over me towards other dogs and people. Never vicious – just not his relaxed self around new company. He will stand in front of me like he is guarding me from them.
At first i thought this was just him being cute but i decided to get further advice from our amazing Vet.
Remarkables Vets in Arrowtown & Queenstown are incredible and always so helpful. For any of those who need dog sitting they are building incredible new kennel facilities over the holiday period.
I spoke with Fiona a Vet Nurse and Dog Trainer from Remarkables Vets and here were her main tips on Introducing a Baby to the fur baby:
Protective Behaviour During Pregnancy And How To Deal With it?
This may come across as cute and adorable because he is “protecting” you but in reality the dog has picked up on all of your body changes, you are now slower, vulnerable and this could be a way the dog is trying to step up the family hierarchy and become “top dog”.
Fiona explained if you had a toddler and it stood in front of you and started swearing at anyone who walked towards you to say hello, would this be acceptable behaviour? Of course not so you need to stop it! Tell him NO very assertively, this will show him that you do not need him to behave this way and you are still in charge.
Also go back to the early days of puppy training, food. Alter the way you feed them, make them sit and wait with the food in front of them for a lot longer than usual – even make a cup of tea and when you finish it allow them to eat.
This again will let him know that even though you are pregnant you are still the “top dog” in the pack.
The nursery will be the babies zone, before the baby arrives do not allow them to waltz freely in there on their own accord. Make sure you introduce “invitation”. Invite them to come into the baby room so they know you again have control over this. Always follow with a dog treat and affection for reward.
The dog will know these are not his toys from the scent so make sure you again say No and follow with reward when he lets go of the toy.
Bringing Baby Home
Obviously first and foremost NEVER leave a dog and baby alone in a room together regardless of how well behaved your dog is.
Let the dog sniff around some baby items before you bring the baby inside allowing him to know the scent. Then sniff around the buggy, followed by the baby.
Again remember “Invitation” Did you invite your dog to say hello to the baby? Always make sure the dog knows this is ok.
You Can’t Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
This is absolutely incorrect, a dog is always able to adapt to new environments and although it may be a challenge the older they get, it is possible!
Fiona also suggested to buy a leading harness for the dog if they are anything like Harvey and used to running free on the rivers, the new buggy may mean a lot more restrained walking. Therefore a leading harness is ideal. This is not at all uncomfortable for the dog but provides a lot more control when walking a buggy as well as a dog.
Fiona and any of the Remarkables Vets staff are more than happy to discuss any further questions should you have any!
Personally i can’t wait to see both of our babes grow up together. Growing up with dogs and animals i believe is one of the best parts of childhood and is really important to our family dynamic.