Monday, May 14, 2012

Helping introduce a pooch to her new sibling

I've been thinking about this for the past few weeks, and wondering what any of you would recommend.  (I'm due in three weeks, but the doc says the baby will probably be late)

Cadie will either be at the vet or her grandparents while we're in the hospital.  Do you think it'd be better for her to be home when we bring the baby in or for the baby to be here when she comes home?  I don't want her to feel threatened by the baby (not that many things threaten her, she'd be friends with the coyotes if we let her), but I also don't want her to feel she has a higher spot on the totem pole than the baby.  

This might sound weird, but should we start ignoring her a bit so that when we have more to take care of it's not a total shock to her?  (Not that we're going to forget about her!!  Just a natural part of adjusting to life with a newborn!)

Also, she knows not to go on the furniture (never really gave her the option), but she's never *not* had access to, say, a certain rug or blanket on the ground.  And eventually we're going to have lots of things on the ground... including babies.  Which we don't want her stepping all over.  Eventually (like a year down the road) I can totally see the baby and Cadie being best friends and having picnics, but not right away :-)  
I was thinking about putting a few blankets out now and using the 'Eht and collar tug' method to teach her that they're not a safe place for her.  But, then when there's a baby on it, I don't want her to think the baby is the one causing that scary sound and feeling.  Any tips?

We've been really happy with how she gets along with kids, she's really great.  The youngest kid she's met was 2 years old, and unsure of her at first, but Cadie sat still (without me even telling her) and let the kid be a kid - play with her face, touch her all over, etc, and Cadie just loved it.  Then she licked the kid's face clean, which the kid loved (hehe)  We think her instincts will be good with the baby - we know she's good with toddlers, but newborns are a bit different.  

Oh, one last thing.  Sometimes, if I'm carrying something, Cadie gets curious and jumps up a bit to see/sniff what it is.  In general, she's MUCH better about not jumping on us, but if I'm carrying something her curiosity wins.  How do we cut that out? 

2 comments:

  1. Well, here is what I think: You are wise to begin spending some time in Cadie's presence while emotionally unavailable, in order to prepare her for the reality your attention will soon be more divided. Also, it is important for the baby to be safe, and while not getting all up in the idea of "dominance," there are some real risks specific to territoriality and also predatory reactivity when dogs are not properly introduced to babies. I'd prefer she is brought home after you are established in the house with the baby. If she is at her "Grandparent's" house, have your husband bring a baby blanket or your shirt and allow her to smell those items, which intermingle your and the baby's scent. When she is brought home, have your husband keep her tethered, and don;t be too friendly extending your baby for her perusal. Think how any mother would behave--even Cadie, if she were one. She would not be surprised by you behaving in a standoffish way. Do not be apologetic; just behave as if the human part of the family has grown, while life for family dogs continues as usual. Call if you have questions, and good luck!

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