Bringing Baby Home to Your Fur Baby
I fell in love with Wrigley the moment I picked him up from the shelter three and a half years ago. This sweet dog is a huge part of my life and honestly, used to be my entire life until my husband and son came along. When I had a rough day he would be there to snuggle me, when my husband was deployed for six months Wrigley kept his side of the bed warm, and while I was sitting on the bathroom floor puking my guts up in my first trimester he was right there with me. Our dog sitters even joked about how there were more pictures of Wrigley and I in our home than of my husband and I…whoops. He is my first love and I have spoiled him rotten, so naturally, I became worried how he would react to a new baby.
Wrigley has always been a very good dog; I have only heard him bark a handful of times, he’s never shown aggression and he listens to commands well. When we go on walks and all the dogs are barking at him he’s just minding his own business in his own little world. Still, I knew I needed to take every precaution to prepare him for what was to come. I began researching and consulting with our veterinarian as well as other families I knew that had dogs. Here is what we did to prepare Wrigley for the new arrival.
Play recordings of a baby crying.
In my second trimester of pregnancy I began playing YouTube video recordings of newborn babies crying. (Yes people have taken the time to record and post this sound.) The first few times Wrigley was pretty freaked out. I would pet him and give him positive reinforcement such as saying, “Good Boy, It’s ok”. After about three times of staying near him and watching his reaction I would just play the recordings and go about my day. Looking back it sort of prepped me for that high-pitched newborn shrill as well.
Have designated dog-free zones in your home.
When we moved into our new home last June my husband and I immediately deemed the nursery a “Wrigley-free” zone and would not even allow him to step foot into the doorway. We decided to do this mostly because he sheds like crazy and I really didn’t want to be constantly picking black dog hair off my newborn baby. He caught on pretty quickly and I’ve only seen him in the nursery a few times. When I have found him in there he scampers out pretty quickly and I remind him (even though by his actions he clearly knew) he wasn’t allowed in there. If your dog won’t easily stay out of rooms on their own I’d recommend getting a few baby gates to keep them out.
Bring home an article of clothing with the baby’s scent on it.
While still in the hospital I had my Mom bring home a hat my son wore the first day after he was born. She just walked into the house like normal and when she went to greet Wrigley she introduced the baby’s scent to him. I obviously wasn’t here for this but she told me he was very interested in sniffing the hat so she let him. While he was sniffing around she pet him and gave him positive reinforcement. Also, when we came home from the hospital my husband entered the house first while baby Liam and I waited in the car. He let Wrigley greet him and sniff my son’s blanket. Then I carried my son into the house and placed him on the floor still in his baby carrier for Wrigley to greet and finally learn where that mysterious new scent was coming from.
Let your dog get used to the new baby products in your home.
Before having my son we put all the baby items up and let Wrigley get used to the new set up in our house. Since baby toys and dog toys look so similar we also would lay some of the baby toys on the floor or couch and let Wrigley sniff them. When he would go to pick them up we immediately said “NO” and gave him one of his toys instead.
Wrigley was previous trained in basic obedience as a puppy and like I said before he’s generally a very good dog. If you feel like you might need professional help in preparing your dog I’d recommend finding a local trainer skilled in this area.
I can already see the love and attachment growing between Wrigley and my son. In the early days when my mom was here helping, if I was out of the room and Liam began to fuss Wrigley would immediately come find me as if to say “Mom, our baby needs you.” He also will sit on the floor next to our couch instead of in his dog bed whenever I’m nursing Liam. The funniest thing I see him do is when Liam cries loudly or for too long, Wrigley will go hid in our spare bedroom. He’s just like “I’m outta here, you guys can take care of this one.” I love watching them together and I know as Liam grows they will become the best of friends.
Do you have any questions about how we prepped our dog for the new baby? Drop a comment below or feel free to contact me directly. I could talk about this topic for days because I am so passionate about children growing up with animals in the home.