Dogs and Babies

baby Informational parenting

I have a big dog. Her name is Doris and she is a 78 pound Labradoodle. She is very sweet but also very hyper and energetic. Before I had my baby I was worried about how my dog was going to react to her. Would she like her? Would she be gentle around her? I did not want to have to give her away, but more importantly, I did not want to put my baby in any danger.  
I did a lot of research on introducing dogs to babies and how to make that a smooth and safe transition. Here is what worked for us...
1. For a few months leading up to having our baby, we slowly started paying less attention to Doris and changing her schedule a bit, getting her used to what would be her new normal.
2. After I had the baby, while I was still in the hospital, my husband brought home a beanie and a onesie that our baby, Wren, had worn in the hospital and let Doris sniff it and get acquainted with her scent.
3. The next day when Wren and I came home I walked in the door and immediately greeted Doris and gave her my undivided attention for about 10 minutes. Then I showed her our baby in her carseat and let Doris sniff her. She sniffed for a few minutes then would look at me, then back at the baby, then back at me. She seemed very curious about this new "thing" I had just brought home. She remained curious for a couple of months where she constantly wanted to sniff the baby, her blankets, her carseat, her rocker, and ESPECIALLY HER DIAPERS.
We were hyper-vigilant about boundaries and making sure Doris knew when she could and couldn't get close to the baby. I never left them alone and when Wren was on the couch or our bed I made sure Doris wasn't able to jump on there. It took some work and moments of frustration when Doris felt ignored and would steal Wren's binkys or act naughty, but every night after Wren fell asleep I would spend just a few minutes with Doris where I would play with her or just pet her as she laid in our bed. 
Fast forward 9 months and now Doris is one of Wren's favorite friends. She smiles whenever Doris walks in the room and Doris loves to kiss her. She is great around Wren and we even taught her to wait at the top of the stairs while Wren and I go down them before she speedily charges her large frame down, possibly risking a human take-down.  This process worked well for us, and hopefully works for any of you who are in a similar situation. 
Here is a link that I found VERY helpful as I was researching this. http://www.akc.org/content/dog-training/articles/how-to-introduce-babies-and-dogs/
-CeLisa

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