The Top 10 THINGS to Know When You Introduce Your Dog to Your Baby
Today is the day we are bringing home a new member to our family! We are adopting a huskie! We have decided to reveal his name in a separate post so he shall remain “he who must not be named” until further notice (which will be later today!).
Alex and I have wanted to look for a dog since we lived in our previous apartment. We lived in a downtown loft style apartment and although it was nothing less than amazing to live in that part of town, it was not ideal for a dog. So, we kept fenced in backyards in mind when we were looking for a house. I remember it was on our short list of “important things” our real estate agent wanted to know when she was finding us a home. Luckily, we were fortunate enough to find one. By the time we got the house, we (Alex) was pregnant and the big question we kept coming back to was, “when is the right time to get dog with a baby on the way?”
Obviously, we decided baby first, then get the dog, or that’s how it happened anyway. So now that we have an almost eight-month-old baby, we are adopting a dog. It really wasn’t that planned or simple… Alex actually shared that story in her blog this past week. We aren’t only getting a dog, we are getting a full grown four-year-old huskie. He is a mix and probably with something a little bigger than a huskie because he is a big guy.
So, what are all the things we need to think about? What all do we need to do to be prepared for dog and baby to get along? To be safe with each other? Who is going to take of the dogs needs and wants everyday? The questions go on and on and so I decided that today I am going to take a look at the top 10 THINGS to know when you introduce a dog and a baby.
But before we jump into that list, here is a look at what blogs are coming soon!
I am going to include in every blog a brief section with what is coming down the pike. It should help me have an idea what I want to do ahead of time as hopefully it will spark some commentary and feedback. Alex and I want to make sure we are writing about things our readers want to read about if that makes sense. We are going to be coming up with a few ideas on how to get feedback from all of you too and possibly even have our audience give us some topic ideas! For starters, here are the next blog topics coming shortly!
- Introduction to Upcoming Blog Series
- Myth Debunked – Your child will grow up to be spoiled if you are kind to them…
- Savannah and Dads First Two Weeks with Ghost
- Dad Interview
The Top 10 THINGS
- Come Up with a Plan
A goal without a plan is a wish! There are a lot of things to consider and you will be glad you made a plan a head of time. Here are some of the items you will want to consider: how are you going to make introductions, where will the dog sleep, are you going to have spaces in your home your baby or your dog can be without each other, how quickly are you going to start to trust your dog around your baby, what do you need to buy for the dog so your home is ready, what is your baby is scared of the dog, what is something bad happens, etc. Make a plan.
2. First Impressions
So, you can just jump right in to first impressions like we did or you can try to take a more strategic approach. Have someone else holding the dog leash while you hold your baby, find a safe spot that is quiet, let your dog sniff and get to know the new smells of your home and baby, remember to be relaxed and stay calm, and maybe keep the interactions to small periods of time until everyone gets used to one another.
3. What’s the Schedule?
My wife and I have somewhat of a daily routine, especially during the week days and the morning and evening are basically the same on the weekends. Dogs will pick up on your daily routine and come to expect it just as much as you do. Our cat Tuxedo knows exactly when it’s time to eat! Incorporating a dog into your daily routine is going to change things up a little bit. What time are feedings? What time do we go on a walk? When is it bedtime? Spend a moment thinking about how your routine is going to change and adjust accordingly.
4. House Rules
Rules are meant to be broken or maybe bent… I have never really cared for rules too much. I don’t think I am going to be that strict with our new dog or Savannah for that matter. My wife on the other hand, ha-ha, just kidding… We may end up with a few rules and it’s important to make sure everyone knows the rules. My sister doesn’t let her family dog sleep on their bed, and I imagine my wife will have the same belief. Think about if your dog is going to hang on the couch? What about jumping on guests?
5. Vet Visit & Dog Training
Whether you are adopting your new dog or buying from a breeder, you will want to make sure your dog is registered to you and has all of their shots and vaccines. You can sign up for a training class or find some self-training videos on YouTube. Even if you aren’t trying to win at the dog show, you will probably want to know some basic commands, so your dog is well behaved, especially when you have guests. I just love it when I go to someone’s place and their big dog starts jumping in my crotch and the owner says, “oh, it’s fine…”
6. New Sounds and New Smells
Our main gain is to make sure we feel safe and secure with our big dog around our newborn baby. A great way to get your dog acclimated to your baby is to take some of your baby’s things like their cloths, blankets, or toys and have the dog get a good look and smell. If you have an old item you are okay with the dog having, even better. Place the item near the dog. Another helpful tip is to let your dog see your baby in their crib and other regular places, so your dog gets used to that sight. You want to help your dog understand what is normal.
7. Supervised Visits
Anytime you have your baby and your new dog or dog and new baby near each other make sure you are right there supervising. You want to make sure you are ready to step in if something goes wrong. Your baby or toddler might pull on their fur a little too hard and even the nicest dogs might snip at their little fingers. Help your dog by remaining calm at all times and hold your baby while you pet and play with your dog at the same time. Remember to keep those visits limited initially.
8. Keep Toys Separate
Have a designed place for your baby’s toys and your dog’s toys. Your dog is probably going to get pretty excited when it’s time to play with their favorite ball or chew toy. If baby can get into those toys your dog might get too excited and try to snatch a ball out of baby’s hands like they would with you and maybe do a little damage to those little fingers. Find a place out of reach for your children. Alex and I have created a couple toy areas for Savannah that are put away that the dog can’t get to. We haven’t got any dog toys just yet, but we will keep those out of Savannah’s reach as well.
9. Dog Only Safe Zone
Dogs like to have a spot that is just for them. It helps them feel safe and secure. A place they can go to get away from it all! Alex and I have a kennel and we are starting to create a spot in the lower level of our home just for him! His kennel, food, and toys will be there. We got him a bed and we are going to find a spot in our living room for that so he can relax. Those spots will be just for him and we will let him be when he goes there. When it’s time for Savannah and our new dog to play together, that will be in the community spots.
10. Your Child Comes First
Always remember that your child comes first. Don’t ever leave your young child and dog alone because you just never know. If something does happen or start to get a little out of control, you have to immediately step in and protect your child. If for some reason your dog cannot get along with your little one, you might have to look for an adoption agency to step in. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but at the end of the day, your child comes first.
Bonus! – Baby Gates
Just a quick bonus! Baby gates double as dog gates and are a great way to segregate your house into child and dog safe zones. Alex and I have two sets of stairs so we are going to get some baby gates which will help us divide up the different levels. We would have needed to get them anyway as Savy Bee is getting close to walking age but we totally would have gotten them just for the dog too!
What Really Happened
I decided not to get too technical and include a bunch of research articles on this blog as it was meant more for fun and quick tips, but I did do some research and learned a lot about bringing a dog into your home when you have a newborn baby. We didn’t follow all of these tips to a tee because our new dog and Savannah actually met spontaneously and luckily everything turned out great. They have met three times now and everything has gone really well. All of our visits were supervised, and we had someone holding his leash while Alex or I held Savannah. We also ordered a baby gate and it turned out to be a clunker, so we are sending it back and looking for a new one. I think we will probably figure out our new daily routine as it comes. I don’t want to get too technical since I like to keep my “ahh, sorry but I am working” card still since I work from home and sometime Alex thinks I am on an extended break and would like me to take over! We did get a bunch of stuff to prepare but we can’t seem to figure out how we are going to keep Savannah and Tuxedo and the dog, and their belongings and food all separated. The dog is probably going to eat Tuxedo’s food, Savannah is probably going to pull his fir, I am probably not going to remain calm since dogs scare me, ha-ha, but in the end, we will figure it out!!
What do you think? Do you agree with me? Tell me in the comments below. I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about introducing a dog to your newborn with me today. We are SO excited to be adding Ghost as a BIG addition to our family and I cannot wait to share with you all how it goes. We probably aren’t as prepared as we could be, but I am sure it will all work out. Please let Alex and I know your experience with your pets! Also, if there is a topic you would like us to cover, let us know and we will try to do that for you. Thank you for reading and happy parenting!