Preparing for Dog and Baby
Congratulations, you have completed Basic Training! Let's take all the information, and the exercises, you learned in Basic Training and bring it to the next phase, Preparing for Dog and Baby. It is time to begin preparing your dog for the arrival of your baby. I understand How much preparation goes into expecting your first child. You are looking up which diapers to use, reading up on formula vs breast-milk, interviewing daycare providers, etc, etc. But please remember your dog doesn't know there is a baby coming so you are responsible for doing everything you can to prepare your dog for this life changing event as well.
In this Phase, I talk about the importance of preparation however, I don't want you to feel overwhelmed with the task of preparing your dog. The training I did with my dogs beforehand, was critical to the success of my son's introduction to the household. The training itself took a couple 10 minute training sessions a day. Even with all the training in the world remember that all dog's have different personalities, that can come from breed traits or just who they are as a dog. For example, some dogs are instant nursemaids, others can be better with toddlers, some are dangerously interested in your newborn, and some dogs could care less about the baby.
With 5 dogs at home, I did everything in my power to get my pack ready. They all got the same training which was insurmountable in our success so far. However, I found it astonishing that the dogs all reacted differently to my son's arrival within their individual personalities. Let me explain.
Vegas was a baby protecting nursemaid from the instant I brought the baby home. She didn't want the boy dogs around the baby but allowed the other two girls around him. Guinness looked at that baby like he was an alien, she was very standoffish with him. Until he picked up a toy and dropped it for the first time, and then she looked at him as a potential throwing arm for her fetchaholic ways. Belle could have cared less, she was like "Oh a baby, I will be napping over here ok?". But anytime Meat came near the baby, Belle got up from where ever she was sleeping and silently stood in-between Meat and the baby. I paid close attention to that, and noticed that around the baby Meat had fully dilated pupils and was a little overly alert (Pupils blasted, ears forward, tail stiffened), especially when the baby cried, for my liking and for Belle's liking. So I keep a very close eye on him and his body posture around my son. Haoulie is, and always will be, a 100lb spaz and Vegas didn't like that so she gave him limited visits with my son.
With training, and pre baby preparation, life with my 5 dogs and my baby has gone smoothly so far. I take great comfort knowing I am still doing all that I can for my whole family. It is a work in progress, and we work at it every day. But I am determined to have my 5 dogs and my son love and respect each other.
In Phase Two I talk about Prey Drive. What it is and how the breed of a dog may make it more prevalent. I discuss different breeds and problems that may arise with dogs that hold strong breed traits. There are several different training exercises and training tools given to you here geared specifically to getting ready for the baby. However, if you have not read Phase One you will not understand how to perform the exercises in Phase Two.
See you in Phase Three, Introducing Dog and Baby.