Hi Everyone, Jennifer Lovett, Claws for the Cause,
I’m mainly focusing on dog moms today. As a dog mom, you made a commitment to your fur baby. That commitment was a life of fun and adventure. What happens when you go from being a dog mom, to an expecting mom or a mom? Some dogs couldn’t be happier to have a baby join the pack. Then there are other dogs, dogs that wished life could go back to what it was. Tons of dogs get re-homed when a baby comes into the picture. This is usually a very hard thing to do, as you’ve loved your dog for years. Your dog has depended on you and stood by your side through many changes. So why now does your dog act so different or are worried it might, now the baby is here or coming?
It’s simple, jealousy. Your dog is a per-verbal toddler. I know when I was younger and my brother was born I was absolutely not thrilled. I tried to get rid of him anyway I could. Sound familiar? I’m sure you have stories from your childhood regarding your siblings or friends’ siblings. Dogs can get the same way. You are your dog’s world and now it has to share you with a small little thing, that doesn’t do anything fun in their mind. Some dogs can get overly aggressive to the baby, some just could care less where it is and step on it or sit on it, and others just are very vocal and may react. As a pet parent, it’s your job to prepare your dog for the coming baby. Hopefully your reading this before the baby is born, it makes this all easier. If not, it’s going to take more time and dedication, though you will have your baby’s actual smell vs a borrowed baby item.
For starters, you need to give your dog time with your growing belly every day. This way your dog can smell the growing fetus, hear its heartbeat, or maybe feel it move. When you have this time with your dog, it’s a very special snuggly time. Your dog will come to love this time together with mom and little growing sibling. Encourage the curiosity of your growing belly, your dog is bonding in its own way to your baby. Once you bring your bundle home from the hospital your dog should recognize the smell of your new child as the bump in your belly.
Second, desensitize your dog. You need to get your dog used to the sounds, smells, and things that all come with a baby. YouTube is amazing for the sounds that come with babies! Just look up babies laughing, crying, whimpering, screaming or any noise a baby could make and make a playlist. This playlist should be played all day long starting on a low volume and gradually increasing the volume every day or so. By the time your baby is here your dog should care less as to the noises it makes. You may be asking yourself, ok sound that was easy, how do I get my dog used to the smell of babies? Great question…and the answer is an odd one. Borrow dirty baby laundry and full diapers…what? Yup, you heard me, borrow the baby smells. Ask the people in your life who have babies currently or young toddlers to borrow their dirty baby linens. They’ll probably look at you like you are crazy, be cool. Explain you are expecting and need help getting your dog used to the idea of a baby. Hopefully they’ll accommodate your needs. These dirty clothes are covered in pheromones, baby pheromones to be exact. This teaches your dog the baby is no threat. It’ll also probably have vomit, poop and/or pee on it. This is great, gets your dog used to the smells that come out of the baby. Next make sure your dog is involved in the process of making the nursery. This way your dog knows change is coming and help be a part of it. If you can, provide your dog with its own bed in the nursery as well. This way your dog has a comfortable place to hang out while you’re setting up the nursery and while you and the baby are going through the new daily routines.
Lastly, don’t forget to give your dog its regular exercise! Exercise is EXTREMELY important, a well exercised dog is a well behaved dog. If your dog is still getting its physical exercise it shouldn’t have the energy to get snappy, growl, or assertive. Now, I know what you’re thinking, I’m getting ready to have a baby or I just had a baby, how am I going to go find the time to get my dog its exercise when I’m constantly caring for a small human. There are options, hiring a person, like myself, to exercise your dog for you, make it a routine to walk your dog with your baby and continue the bonding experience for the two of them, or giving dad more responsibilities for 2 hours every evening and take a special mom and dog walk together. No matter what method you choose, this is probably the most important to keep up.
I hope you expecting moms and new moms find this material helpful. I got into working with animals to keep families together and get more homeless pets into forever homes. I want to see you be successful and to keep your family together. If you need any help, please feel free to reach out firstname.lastname@example.org! That’s why I’m here!
Until next time, remember adopt don’t shop and please spay and neuter!
Jennifer Lovett, Claws for the Cause