Introducing Dog and Baby - Ready, Set, Go!

Ready, Set, Go!

Is your house ready for the baby's arrival? Here are some things to do now, to make coming home with baby easier.

Dust off your dog's crate and make sure the crate or kennel is still the appropriate size for your full grown dog. My favorite soft kennelThe crate is a great tool to use to give the dog a safe quiet place where they can go undisturbed. This is also handy to have, set up and ready, for the times you need to keep your baby and dog separated. If your dog does not love to spend time in their crate then we need to make it worth their while to go in there. But first let's talk about where to put your crate. The main living area is my preferred location for the crate. I like the central location for two reasons; one it makes the dog still feel part of what's going on even if they are in the crate, and two it is easier and more convenient for you. If the dog is whisked off to a location far away from everything and everyone, it can start to feel like a punishment to them, and we want the crate to be a happy place. Now, I realize a crate is an eyesore in the living area, however, it is not forever and the safety of your child and dog is more important.

From the time she was six weeks old, Vegas has hated being put in a crate, she completely freaks out as soon as the door is shut. So over the years I have had to work very hard at making it a happy place for her. Fortunately, with the way my place is set up, I don't have to use one unless one of the dogs is on Injury Time Out (also known as ITO at our house). But I will share with you some of the things I have done to get her to tolerate the crate. A very high value treat in my house is a pig ear, a real bone to chew on, or a squeaky toy. My dogs don't have free access to these because they are never happy with their own, they want the the one the other dog has. So they are saved for special occasions and are administered individually. When I am working with Vegas, and the crate, this is a time she gets to have one of these special treats, and I make sure she is undisturbed by other dogs. I give her this special treat when she is put in the crate, and when she comes out of the crate the special treat is put away and only brought out again when she goes back in there. I leave the door to the crate open (not now that my son is walking but before) and any time Vegas goes in there on her own I give her a tasty treat. Her daily meal is given to her in the crate. So all special happy things happen in the crate and she does much better with it now.Gate Configuration around stairs

Another thing to do is get sealed treat containers and set up treat stations throughout the house (out of the dogs reach, mind you). You will want free access to treats for rewarding the dog around the baby but you don't want to have to get up to get them when you have a baby in your arms.

I have a great set up for our dogs. The outdoor area has an acre fenced in, an indoor/outdoor run, and a calf hut lined with hay. So I had the ability to have the dogs outdoors when I needed them out of my hair, and trust me, with 5 dogs, there have been times I have needed them out of my hair. If you have a fenced in yard set up an outdoor space for your dog. Make sure they have an area to get out of the elements that is warm and dry. Set up yard toys forGate to kitchen them so they have some entertainment out there. I am not saying leave them out there forever or anything, it is just a peace of mind for you to know they have all the comforts possible for anytime they spend outside. It is more about guilt free living!

Make sure you have figured out how you are going to set up your gates throughout your home, and do it before the baby arrives. I found it so much easier to have all of that done, and get the kinks out, before the baby came. The dogs also got used to being gated out of a room. By the time they were gated, to separate them from the baby, they didn't associate being kept out of a room with the new arrival. OnGate to baby's room that note, have the rest of the baby equipment set up so your dog can investigate it and get used to it, without the baby, up to and including the car seat. This one can be tricky so make sure you are installing it properly. You can go to your local fire department and they will check it for you. Most infant car seats come with 2 bases and a bucket style carrier. The bucket is detachable and used as a carrier. It is this carrier that we are going to get the dog used to, with our old friend Boo Boo playing the part of the baby. Please remember this, the car carrier is for the car. It is not intended, nor is it safe, to use it as a baby holder around the house. However, since this piece of equipment Gate to playroomwill be what you bring the baby in the house with, it is a good idea to get your dog used to it prior to the baby's arrival.