Like many of you, our first baby was a fur baby.
And we were in love.
So when we got pregnant with our son, I was a bit apprehensive. Would our human baby like our fur baby? And vice versa?
There were a lot of other voices that chimed into the conversation as well. Friends and family shared their concerns because our dog was just…well, SO BIG.
Now, three years later, I can tell you the answer to the first question, will our son like our fur baby, was a huge YES! Even as a baby, our son LOVED our big dog. Who knew that a big dog was so useful as a chair, pillow, and ladder!
The answer to the second, will our dog like our son, was more of a gradual process. I knew the dog was finally in love with her human counterpart when our son started eating solids and “sharing.” But, in the meantime, we worked a lot with our dog to help her get along with our son. We are not dog training experts, and I would totally recommend hiring a professional if you are concerned about your puppy dog. Here are a few things that seemed to have worked for us.
We trained our dog to be tolerant
When she was still a puppy, we gently pulled her ears and tail. We wanted her to be okay with a little child accidentally doing the same. And whenever she tried to defend herself by nipping, we scolded her. We also made sure she stopped eating if a hand covered her food. We had heard about dogs who became defensive when their food was threatened, and we wanted to help our puppy dog be okay with “sharing.”
We prepared our dog
I looked up “babies crying” on YouTube and had our dog listen several times before our son was born. Although she still went to another room when our son cried those first few months, at least she didn’t whimper like she did when we first started listening to the videos! We also gave her a blanket with the new baby’s scent on it. As soon as we got home from the hospital, grandma and grandpa took the baby, and my husband and I gave some extra snuggles and extra treats to our dog before we let her sniff the blanket with the baby scent. After that, we introduced them. The dog wasn’t overly impressed, but she wasn’t jealous or overly eager. We called it a win.
We taught our dog to be still
Like Great Danes, some English Mastiffs tend to lean on people. So even when our son was just a baby, we taught our dog to be very still around him. She wasn’t allowed to move until he was safely away. Granted, we were always close, but we wanted her to learn the importance of being careful around our son.
We never let them be alone together
Even now, although I trust our dog more than my toddler sometimes, for everyone’s protection, we are always with them. We never let them be alone. This might be overly protective, as I think we’ve prepared our dog well, but with such a big dog, I’d still rather be safe than sorry.
As we prepare for baby #2, I know our big puppy dog, now much older, will happily greet the new baby, especially when solids become part of the picture. As for my son’s adjustment to the new baby, I’m crossing my fingers.
How much love is there between your fur babies and human babies? What tips and tricks do you have for a smooth transition when there’s a new addition to the family?