Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday's Feature

Written by a CP Media Volunteer

Anticipating a new edition to the family can be quite an exciting experience. My husband and I decided that it was time for us to add to our family. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our new baby in May. However, we already have two fur babies that need to be taken into consideration.

While both of my dogs have been exposed to both babies and toddlers, they haven’t been around them for prolonged periods of time. Both have been very calm and mindful of us while the children have been present. In hopes of having this behavior continue when our baby arrives, we are going to work with both of them so they know they're still part of the family.

I have been doing some reading and research about different things people can do to prepare their pets for a new arrival. Here are a few things that I have run across that I plan to use with my two dogs.

  • Make sure your dog has some form of obedience training. ~ This seems to have popped up most often. Basically, your dog should obey your commands; this will make adjustments much easier and help them to learn their boundaries.

  • Set up the baby’s room and let the dog explore the new surroundings. ~ We have been slowly getting things situated in what will be our baby’s room. Every time I go in there I let the dogs come in with me and look around. This will help ease some of the curiosity.

  • Play a recording of baby noises so that the dogs can get used to the sounds. ~ This is definitely something I want to expose my dogs to. My younger male dog has a tendency to bark at everything. While this is a behavior we need to work on before baby comes, he needs to know that crying and whining will be a new norm at our home.

  • Carry a baby doll around the house and talk to it as if it were a real baby. ~ This is supposed to help your dog physically see the actions you would take with a real baby. They suggest letting the dog sniff the doll and interact with you while holding the doll. It’s a good experience for them and a chance for you to see how they will react.

  • Show less attention to the dog as it gets closer to baby’s arrival. ~ This will prepare the dog for the attention the baby will need, which will be taken away from him/her. This seems like one of the hardest things to do but it’s inevitable the baby will take away from doggy time.

  • Bring home a blanket with the baby’s scent before the baby comes home. ~ Several articles and websites suggest that you take a blanket home with the baby’s scent before the baby arrives. Let the dogs sniff it so they have a positive association with the smell.

  • Don’t have mom carry baby in when first coming home from the hospital. ~ It is suggested that mom walk in first, without the baby to greet the fur kids. After normal greetings have been exchanged, then the first introductions can take place.

These are just a few of the many suggestions I have found regarding the introduction of babies and dogs. There is a wealth of knowledge out there that expectant parents can tap into to learn about introducing dogs and babies.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in preparing for baby but we mustn’t forget about our furry family members. By starting your baby off with a positive relationship with animals they will know how to properly care for and respect them. And as many people know, one of the greatest bonds is that between a human and their dog.

Please vote once a day for Col. Potter in the Animal Rescue Site's "Shelter Challenge"! Search for Col. Potter in Medina, OH. Feel free to cross-post and please pass this on to your friends and neighbors!

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