You Want A Baby But Your Dog Is Nuts
Six days a week we have dog owners come in asking for help with their dogs. Many of them are coming in because they want to have a baby, just started trying to get pregnant, or they just found out the joyous yet stress-inducing news that a baby is on the way.
I’m a father of two young kids (5 years and 18 months currently) and also a dog owner as you might imagine. I’ve been through the process personally, and I’ve helped many hundreds of dog owners through the process. Here are some things that you’ll want to think about far before the baby comes. Don’t put these things off!
1: About 80% of dogs don’t develop issues with the new baby if the dog is part of the family when the woman is pregnant. There seems to be a positive shift that happens when a dog is allowed to grow up with the woman that doesn’t happen when kids are adopted or when a family with kids adopts a new dog. Having said that, we always suggest a significant amount of training regardless, because if your dog falls in the 20% of dogs who take issue with the new member of the family, it’s incredibly hard to make it work and it takes many years to do the process correctly. If the dog gets the right training while the woman is pregnant, it’s only about a 5% chance that the dog will take issue with the new baby, and it’s because all of the training is already in place before the baby comes. If you want to roll the dice, be my guest, but you’ll be paying a training many more thousands of dollars to fix things if you are not proactive.
2: Get your dog used to the fact that the world does not revolve around them. I know what your thinking, your dog is your world, right? He/she is your fur baby. Your first baby. Bull-crap.
It may seem that way right now, but when that baby comes, your dog is going to take a back seat whether you like it or not. Get your dog to know who’s in charge NOW, because if you are not proactive, jealously will creep up fast and before you know it, you could have a really big problem on your hands.
****The safety of a child is more important than the freedom of a dog.
Get used to that. My dogs are incredible with kids and are impeccably well trained, but I still made them spend a lot of time on their beds when the babies were new. Having a baby is busy, and having to worry about dogs stepping on an 8-month-old baby who’s learning to crawl is not something that you should have to be worrying about.
3: Start prepping your dog to walk nicely beside a stroller now. I know this seems crazy, but hear me out. Does it sound safe to walk your dog next to a stroller for the first time when your little nugget is in there? No, that’s not a good idea. Train your dog to walk nicely on a leash, and to never pull on that leash EVER. Then, start with the stroller, then add the baby.
4: If your dog barks in the house, get on that ASAP. I’d say that at least 80% of dogs have excessive barking issues, and those issues are not going to be fun when you finally get your baby to sleep at 8am, after being up with them most of the night. Your dogs barking now is not the end of the world, but in 9 months from now, you are going to want to murder your dog when they wake up the baby.
5: If your dog is a jumper, that’s going to be a problem. Kids get knocked over and that can make them terrified of dogs, even your own. I’ve had many dogs come in over the years who jumped up on kids and hit them with their noses, causing the kid to get a bloody lip. Try explaining that to an irate parent at the park.
6: If your dog guards things, you better get on that issue now or your kid is going to get bitten. I’m not going to be nice about this one. Get that figured out, seriously.
If you need help with these things, I don’t care if you come to Mango Dogs to get these issues addressed, just call someone that’s a parent and a dog trainer who can help you with these issues. All too often we have people call us after the baby comes. They waited too long, and now the kid has been bitten and they are putting the dog to sleep. Don’t let that happen to your dog.