What are the practical precautions to take and preparations to make when bring home a baby to a house with dogs.
Having a baby means lots of new objects, smells and sounds, dogs are naturally curious and will want to explore these new aspects of their home so it’s a good idea to get your dogs used to this before the baby is born.
While I was still pregnant we got Holmes and Claude ready for life with a newborn. We let them sniff his blankets, his talcum powder, the nappy bags we’d be using, we pushed the empty pram around the house and set the bouncer in the middle of the living room. We looked slightly mad in the eyes of any visitors who all got slightly clammy as they reminded us that baby hadn’t been born yet BUT it meant the dogs were utterly bored by all this stuff long before Alfie arrived and had no need to go near it once it was in use.
We also (and I’m not sure that this made a difference) played them the sound of newborns crying in the hope that a sudden wail wouldn’t startle them. I also fed them while it playing to establish positive associations. They never paid much attention to either the recordings or the real thing so perhaps this was an unnecessary folly.
You might be away from your dogs for a few days after having your baby and they’ll be so excited to see their mama again.
When I came home from hospital one of the first things I did was to leave Alfie with Fred and go and say hello to the boys. This was really important, I hadn’t seen them in a full day and they were all paws and tails when I walked in. Once they’d had some attention and settled down I let them come and see Alfie.
The first priority is the baby’s safety so go slow!
We introduced our boys together and honestly, it was rather anticlimactic, perhaps I watched the Jungle Book too often as a child but I really expected some dramatic interspecies bonding! There was nothing of the sort! Fred held Alfie while I held some treats, after a few sniffs it was established that Alfie was utterly boring and best ignored. The treats were devoured and everyone took a nap. It’s only since Alfie has turned 6 months that they’ve all really started to show and interest in each other!
Now that Alfie is slightly more human like the dogs love him, particularly Claude who will take every chance he gets to give Alfie kisses!
They are two great companions for him, for a short while Alfie used to get anxious if I was far away – I guess the other side of the room is far in your only a foot tall! He’s far more content to let me wander away if the boys are sitting with him.
We haven’t had any jealous moments or even minor causes for concerns BUT I would never leave Alfie alone with our dogs, the other side of the room is as far as I will go! Yes they’re our fur babies, they’ve never bitten anyone blah blah blah. They are still animals who have large teeth, I’d rather be cautious than surprised. A warning nip can do irreparable damage to someone as small as Alfie.