The Pups and Baby

Oh the Puppies. While I was pregnant I wrote about the fact that I wasn’t worried about how my Puppies would treat the Baby; you can read it here. Well, I was right-ish. I was also wrong.

Geordi and the Baby!
Geordi loves the Baby! He loves her best in the high chair dropping food on the floor for him to eat. Now, the Baby on the floor is a different dynamic. In a way he is afraid of her. She is unpredictable and still in the baby grabby stage of life. He also, does not want to hurt her so he is very timid and hesitant around her. Now, if you help her let go of treats, she has no problem holding them, he is all friendly and grabs the treats. He’ll sniff her but he won’t snuggle or hold still on his own for her. So yes, they will be great friends but she needs to get a little bigger and stronger to help aleve his worries.

Shadow and the Baby!
Now Shadow and the Baby is very very different story! Shadow hates the Baby. Yes, that is correct. She hates the Baby. She’s hated her since the day she came home. The first week Baby was home Shadow would not come near us unless it was to grab a treat and walk away. She was very pissed at the replacement. She finally unthawed a little but is still anit-Baby unless treats or food is involved. It’s taken me awhile to see my role in her behavior. With the Baby taking up so much of my time, and work and house crap, there hasn’t been the amount of time for her that she is used to. I.E. Baby came in and she feels sidelined in the affection department. Than the wet season started and our infrequent weekend dog park visits stopped all together; did not help her. Now that I realize what Shadow’s problem is I am taking steps to reaffirm to her that she is loved and important. Here’s how I am doing this:
– Go in through the backyard. Hubby beats me home almost daily and doesn’t usually let the dogs in. So when I get home and hear them outside still I go in through the backyard. This lets Shadow see me first before the Baby, her rival, sees me. We also play a little tag and gang up on Geordi.
– Feed them before I feed the Baby. I give them their dinner before I sit down to feed the Baby her dinner. This behavior goes back to pack hierarchies. By feeding them first I am stating that they are higher in the rank and importance than the Baby. While these two things might be little they have had a huge impact. Shadow is happier and more interactive with the Baby than before. And once the sun is out longer than 7:30 pm we’ll go back to walking at night together after the Baby goes to bed.

Now don’t me wrong Shadow is protective of the Baby. When she starts crying in her crib and Shadow doesn’t see me start that way right away she will come and make sure I know that the Baby need me. She’ll also look at the Baby when she fuses and sniff her when she walks by to her bed.

So my tips to new Moms with Pups:
1) Introduce in a controlled way. If you have more than one Pup take the alpha and introduce them first and then the second Pup. Do this in an open place so that the dog and jump around without knocking you over and get away from you if stressed out.

2) Don’t forget their needs. Yes the food one is easy to not forget and even poop scooping so you can get the lawn mowed are easy to not forget. But they also need one on one attention and the hierarchy and their place in it still attended too. I learned this the hard way with Shadow. Great them first, pay attention to them first (when you can), and still spoil them. They need to know they are still valued and not displaced in the family.

3) Encourage safe interactions. Help the Pups have positive interactions with the Baby. Hold the Baby and invite them over and help Baby politely pet them or give them treats. When your little one gets crawling watch them when they get close to the Pups and help Baby and Pups learn limits of interaction and spacing.

4) Acknowledge that they will have bad times. It will happen. Baby will corner them or Pup will get over excited and smack them or knock them over. A huge negative response from you will only hurt their relationship as the behavior was not intended. Now if it was intentional, different story! But work with Baby to learn not to corner them and the Baby crying will help the Pup learn not to smack them and to be more careful around them.

Pups and Babies can have great relationships it just takes the right mentality and the right levels of trust and training.

Enjoy!

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