Pregnant after a Loss

Question for those with dogs, especially big ones... (or puppies!)

I have two dogs, both are big.  One is 4 years old and about 70 lbs and the other is about a year (still very much a hyper, active puppy personality) and is maybe 50 pounds.  I'm starting to think about pets and babies....  I know my parents have been outspoken about them not liking that we're going to have dogs with a baby around.  They're worried something bad will happen to the baby either accidentally or a dog will snap into "primal mode" and hurt the baby intentionally.

Is there anything my fellow PgAL pet owners have done to prepare their dogs for when baby arrives?  I'm already trying to train them that they can no longer get on the bed anymore because we plan on using an Arms Reach co-sleeper.  The younger dog, I'm worried because she's still very mouthy and likes to play rough even when I'm actively discouraging it.  I'm just wondering if anyone else has experience with preparing their dogs for kids or things that I can do as a parent to make sure everyone is safe....

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Re: Question for those with dogs, especially big ones... (or puppies!)

  • We started playing youtube videos of babies crying, letting them sniff the baby stuff as it came into the house. I sent DH home with baby blankets after DD was born so they could get her smell.

    As for the mouthing we would put dawn dish soap on your hands and when our male dog got mouthy he would get a mouthful of soap that he didnt like and that stopped mouthing pretty quick.

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  • I have a 110lb Golden Retriever.. and my parents have 4 dogs -- ranging from 10lbs - 165lbs (Newfy/ great pyre mix).. I had DH take a blanket of DSs home from the hospital and give it to the dog to smell before we came home.. when we came home, I was very open to allowing my pup to sniff the baby... the first day, he sniffed him a LOT.. every time he made a noise.. whenever one of us were holding him.. I never yelled at him.. now, they are BEST buds :)  The dog does not leave DS's side most of the time.. DS LOVES Chunk.. he will stare and watch him for 10 minutes at a time!  It's adorable.. we did the same thing with my parents dogs (since my Mom will be babysitting DS when I return to work next week), and they are all perfectly fine with him (my parents also have my nephews at their house, so their dogs were already used to kids)..

    Honestly.. the biggest thing is you don't want to yell at the dog for being interested in the baby.. it was hard for me at first.. because, Chunk is SO big.. I was nervous that he was sniffing too hard, or his sniffing always involved a lick here and there, and I was scared the baby would have a reaction to it.. but, he was fine and it really showed my pup that we trusted him around DS!

    Really.. I was so nervous about my pup with DS.. even though he's 7, he still acts like a puppy!  He has SO much energy.. I was really worried that he'd step on him, or paw at him trying to get him to play, etc.. but, my dog is like a completely different dog now that the baby is here.. he calmer, he's attentive to DS, he knows when its play time for HIM vs when we're busy with the baby.. I really worried unnecessarily :)

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  • I know my dogs will be put out when baby comes! We will be bringing something with the baby's scent home for them to become familiar with and putting a gate up so they can't get into the nursery or our bedroom. Other than that, just being very strict with them around baby. They'll get into the new routine.
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  • We have an english mastiff about 200 lbs and a Great Pyranese i dont remember how much she weighs, but also big. Both of them have followed me like ducks since i've been pregnant if I walk to the car, or to the mailbox. Both tend to be protective of anyone/anything we deem friendly or ours. We taught them to control pawing with their giant feet, though they were already good around small children/babies. They wont even bug kittens. They tend to guard them.
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  • google "how to prepare your dog for baby" and you should get a lot of info. 

    Mine isn't too big (35lbs) and is almost 10.  She doesn't pay rough but she barks at every    little    noise   outside (like a car door shutting).  We live right across from a grocery store, so people are parking and leaving all the time.  I'm worried she's going to wake up baby.  Her barks are so loud and vicious.  I'm starting to think she'll just have to spend time outside during naptime if she does wake baby.

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  • I'm glad you asked this. We have two 50-60 pound Springer/labs just over a year old. They definitely play rough with each other, and sometimes they accidentally get a mouth on me or DH when we get in the middle. And they live up to the "springer" name and tend to jump on new people. But they're sweet overall. We took them to my parents' house for Xmas, for the first time, and they have a 100 pound Lab. They did surprisingly great with all the people, but my 6yo niece kept saying that one of them was biting her hands. This seemed implausible to us, and when we said the dog was going in timeout for biting her, she got all upset and said she made it up, but who knows. I'm hoping she was jusy nervous since she has a cat and my parents' dog is a gentle giant, so their excitement scared her. Anyway, I'm concerned about having a baby on the floor when they're around, just since they get so curious. We don't allow them on the furniture already, so I hope just enforcing boundaries will do the trick!

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  • I have two big dogs: a 60 lb pit bull and an 80 lb lab mix. Both are excellent around my friends' kids, especially my pittie, who just lights up whenever kids are around. That said, I have had to deal with my fair share of comments about what we are going to "do with the dogs" when baby comes (uhh... still love them?) by other people, especially since we own a "dangerous" breed (insert heavy sarcasm. He is the biggest marshmallow). I have done a lot of research into introducing dogs to babies, and I also do a lot of rescue work and have had many conversations with dog owners about successfully integrating a baby into a home with dogs.

    You're definitely off to a good start by looking into is now and stepping up any training while you've still got time. You may also want to see if your local Humane Society offers classes on preparing dogs for baby. Many do.

    When you have the baby, it's helpful to have DH bring home a hat the baby was wearing from the hospital ahead of time to introduce the smell to the dogs before baby arrives. And when you come home, DH should carry the baby inside so the dogs are free to greet you and smell you (they will have missed you, and you will smell different to them). And then introduce the baby. Let them sniff the baby, but don't make a big deal out of it.

    I can't stress enough, that no dog, regardless of breed or size or tolerance with kids, should be left alone in a room with a kid, ever. And kids should learn from a very early age that dogs should be left alone while eating or sleeping. Make sure your dogs have an area that is a baby free zone, such as a crate or kennel.


    Also, always make the baby a positive association for the dogs, so the dogs learn to connect baby with good things -- not being kicked out of the room all the time, or being told no. I know while our dogs are generally excellent with our friends kids, can also be a bit overwhelming (licking, inadvertently knocking them over because they get excited). Rather than scolding our dogs for doing so, we redirect them. We'll call them over to one of us if they start heading for the kid, and pet them and praise them when they come. If they get near the kid and are respectful (i.e., not molesting their face off with their tongues), they get lots of praise.Kids should learn from an early age to be gentle with pets too. Some pets may be really tolerant and let the kid sit on them or pull their tail, but don't take that tolerance for granted. Just as we all have thresholds for how much we'll put up with, so do pets. It's not fair to test your pet's limits, because if dog growls at kid, guess who gets in trouble?Speaking of, dogs shouldn't be punished for growling. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but growling is a warning. If a dog growls, it's because it's feeling uncomfortable or threatened, and it's your job to remedy it by removing dog, baby or both from the situation. A dog that's punished for growling will learn not to growl, and that's when you get dogs who "snap without warning." By the way, dogs don't snap without warning naturally - they only do so when you take away their right to warn.Hope some of this helps! 

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  • our beagle was very hyper(crazy) and when she was a puppy I always pulled on her ears, face, tail and fur. When we were in the hospital my parents brought home one of DDs hats and Scout(our pup) actually slept with it. She was very big into smelling DD all the time but she actually calmed down once we brought DD home, by the time we had DS she wasn't very interested. The kids get along great with her, especially since DS loves to share his food. The dogs will understand and just do as much as you can to get them used to the baby equipment, sounds and smells.

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  • We've been allowing our dogs to sniff anything new that may enter the house (ie. clothes, swing, toys, etc.).  I've also been letting our 1 yr old German Shepard/Doberman mix spend time in the nursery (under my watch) b/c he used to hang out there all of the time.  Also, we've been occasionally turning on the swing, bassinet, & anything else that makes noise so they are used to it before the baby comes home.  The biggest thing is to be consistent with any training you may employ.

    Good Luck!

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  • I didn't do anything with my dog and cats to prepare. When we brought DD home they all kept their distance for a week or so except for a quick sniff here of there from our dog. I honestly think they saw how important she was to us so she became important to them. Besides one cat, who is her BFF, they pretty much still keep their distance but are great with her. When she was itty bitty our dog would come running to us if she coughed or something while she was in our swing. Like to let us know something was up.
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  • We have two big dogs, one small dog and a cat so this has been a worry of mine too. I read some articles by Cesar Milan about how to prep dogs for a new baby and I can't remeber everything but a lot was mentioned in previous posts. However the biggest thing for me is when my friends with small kids come over my dogs are great. My biggest and most hyper dog lets little kids pull her ears and climb all over her. I think most of the times dogs are really good with babies and little kids but maybe that's just me!
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