Ask The Hairy Dogfathers: First-Time Parent Jitters About Fur And Human Babies
An expectant couple’s first human baby is on the way… but will the two adopted furbabies treat their new brother or sister like family? Here’s what the Hairy Dogfathers have to say.
Dear Hairy Dogfathers,
My husband and I are expecting our first baby, and with the due date getting closer and closer we are into final preparation mode. We are also the proud owners of two rescued greyhounds, who are an important part of our household. Both dogs are generally friendly (with humans and with other dogs), although they are still dogs at the end of the day.
One of the dogs has a pretty strong prey drive, and neither have had any exposure to newborns, although they’ve interacted with my niece and nephew (from the age of 2). The only issue we ever saw with that is they are excitable and have no idea what size they are and thus often knock children over if unleashed. (My niece and nephew have dogs of their own and are well trained in how to interact with dogs).
So, my question is: how can we make sure that bringing home baby is a positive experience on our household, and what can we do to help the hounds adjust to their new human?
New (Human) Parents
Congratulations! You must be excited for your little bundle of joy to be born. I’m so glad to hear you being proactive about introducing this addition to your family. One practical thing you can do to help your dogs adapt is to get them used to their new environment before the baby comes home. Think of all the things that will change in your household, such as a nursery and baby gates – and prepare them well in advance. By getting all the baby stuff up, you’ll help your dog get used to the new scents and changes to the environment. Also think about how you will want them to behave when the new baby around and practice, you could even ask your niece and nephew to help!
Related: Daddy’s Puppy Problem
This is great news! Now, the first thing to do is relax. It’s great your dogs have been around children before and you have some idea of how they will react. Dogs are tuned in to our emotions and changes in their environment, so chances are your dogs have a pretty good idea that changes are a-coming.
Now the best thing to do is a little prep work before baby comes. Make the babies room off-limit to the dogs and get them used to being in kennels now. There will be times you need the dogs to be calm and quiet, and a kennel can be a sanity-saver during these times! You’ll also have to master your walks as well, because when the diaper bag and the stroller come along, you’ll need your dogs walking well-behaved alongside you. Your hands will be full!
Lastly, check out some dog classes in your area, as many offer classes for new and expecting parents that specializing in helping to prepare the dogs.
Send us a picture when your new addition arrives! There’s nothing cuter than babies and dogs!