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Bringing baby home is a huge adjustment for everyone.
Especially your furry babies who have no clue what is going on!
I know that when we first found out about the twins, one of our big concerns was how our German Shepherd, Sig, would react once it came time to introduce baby to dog.
He had never been around babies before, let alone kids. He was almost two when we found out about the twins, and actually announced the pregnancy on his birthday!
Sig is a massive, wild, obnoxious toddler of a shepherd. One of his favorite things to do was sprint across the entire house and run into the walls on either side. He is freakin nuts. His high energy is why we were so anxious about the twins arrival.
So of course my husband and I dove in and started to read all sorts of posts and articles on the topic of preparing your dog for baby. We found a lot of helpful tips, as well as some not so helpful.
I mean, there is only so much you can do in regard to a 120 pound dog!
These are the tips that we found worked best in preparing Sig for the twins arrival
1. First, you have to start with a well trained dog.
I know my family is probably laughing at this one, because Sig is far from the best behaved or most perfect dog in the world. He is freakin nuts. He does, however, understand the word ‘no’ and when he needs to walk away. Your dog should at least understand ‘NO’ ‘LEAVE IT’ and ‘STAY’. If they do not understand those basic terms, I would suggest starting to work on it with them.
2. Start to make changes early on
A hard, but necessary thing to do. You don’t want to change everything up all of a sudden and then bring a baby home on top of all that! Start changing things slowly. Shift you walk times to when you think you’d be able to once baby is here, then start to alter other daily norms. At some point you will have to start giving a little less attention as well. You might feel like you need to give your fur baby all of the snuggles, but really you’ll just confuse them more once baby is home and you aren’t spending all that time with them anymore. Start to slowly shift before hand to help ease your dog into baby mode.
Another thing to get started on is setting up the baby gates. This doesn’t have to be done right away, but give your pup time to get used to them before you are actually using them for their purpose! I love Regalo baby gates because they are very functional and easy to use!
3. Figure out THEIR space
This is something I didn’t do right away and it would have been very helpful. Find a space in your home that is JUST for your dog. I figured his crate would suffice. He loves his crate. Sig loves taking his peanut butter filled Kongs into his crate and chowing down. But what I didn’t think about was that his crate was in the middle of the living room- where the babies would be. This caused some problems and I had to keep moving his crate around to give him some space. Now he has his own doggie den in our walk in closet. His own personal space that the twins do not touch.
I think the space is most helpful for two reasons.
One- it gives a place for you to put the dog when you need to carry the stroller and baby out the door.
And two- it gives them a place to go thats quiet and safe. Sig loves his little doggie cave!
4. Let them smell
While you are bringing new things into the house, let your dog explore them. Clothes, furniture, bedding, all that. Them them be a part of the process. Then once baby does come, have someone bring home towels and blankets before baby actually comes home and let your dog smell them. That way the smell of the new human isn’t a total surprise.
5. Slowly introduce baby to dog
Once baby is home, slowly introduce the two. I would suggest having your dog crated or away from the door before first bringing baby home. That way the two (or three) of you can get situated before the excited dog comes in to great you. It might be a great idea to keep a leash on your dog as well, because you can never truly know how they are going to react. But little by little, spend time with your dog and baby.
I started with letting sig sniff the twins pack and play bassinets while they napped. I let him look and watch them sleep and ‘pet’ the babies and then would pet Sig. In my mind that helped him understand that I loved all of them? Haha anyways I would only let Sig be around them for bits of time that got longer as he got used to them being around.
But ‘used to’ I mean he wasn’t seemingly anxious around them. Sig paces and chases his tail when he is anxious. I recommend you learn your own dogs cues so that you can watch for them. Once I noticed he stopped doing those things and would calmly lay by the babies, I knew he would be okay for longer periods of time.
NUMBER ONE RULE- never leave your dog along with your baby. The twins will be a year old next week (insert sobbing mama here) and I haven’t left them all alone in the same room yet. As much as I trust Sig, and am 99% positive he would never hurt them- there is always that small chance. Even if it wasn’t intentional. His 120 pound self could really cause some damage if he got excited and tried to chase toys around the living room while the twins are playing.
6. Spend time just with your dog when baby is napping
Your dog is about to be put on the back burner for a while and it is going to be hard on them. Try to make nap time a special time for the two of you. Give pets and watch TV together or take the monitor outside for a quick lap around the yard. Never go too far, but making the little bit of time for your pup when you don’t have to have all eyes on baby will make all the difference.
When the time comes to introduce baby to dog, it’s going to be stressful.
Your dog is probably going to get anxious regardless, however, hopefully these tips help make the transition run a little smoother. The idea of it all seems like a lot, I get it. I was there too! But we did get through it and by following the tips I have shared, Sig and our twins are becoming best friends. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our family.