Thursday, June 5, 2014

The plan: Introducing our dog to the baby

I am already a puppy mom. As I quickly approach being a human mom (T minus 11 days until due date, but who is counting?!), there has been a lot of thought about how our pup will adapt to the baby. Although Lambeau looks sweet and innocent, he has his quirks. Here are some of them:

- Lambeau loves to play. We could go for a long walk or a 3 mile hike, and when we get home he will go get his toy and (loudly) bark at us to throw it. He usually passes out shortly thereafter, but he is like the cranky kid who doesn't want to take the nap despite being over tired and stimulated. We've been working on our commands like "get your toy" and "come" and "no bark" when playing. The last thing I want is for him to bark, since it's pretty loud, and scare the baby. It's been a work in progress.

Lambeau on said 3 mile hike. Four weeks pregnant here. Memories....

- Lambeau loves to snuggle and be CLOSE. He is always sitting on or by our legs, or behind us on the couch. This could get awkward when feeding etc.

I would pay serious money to know what he's thinking here...

Lambeau loves treats. He will do every trick he knows to get one treat. This quirk will be used to our advantage.

We give him Nutro treats: all natural, low calorie and they don't smell like nasty meat!

The introduction plan. I read several articles, and these two were the most helpful: The ASPCA and Cesar Milan's guides to introducing the dog to the baby. Between the two articles, these steps seem right for us:

- Send Mr. Miller in with the baby's blanket before we come home. He will probably do this a day before we come home.

- Make sure Lambeau is walked before meeting the baby. By being walked and settling in back home, he (hopefully) won't be overly excited when I come in with Henry.

- Talk softly and calmly to him when I enter. As the articles said, he will (amazingly) already know the scent, so the baby simply entering the home will trigger the familiarity.
- Mr. Miller will be in charge of handling Lambeau when I sit down on the couch with the baby. I'm not sure a leash is needed, but showing Lambeau that he has to wait will hopefully create boundaries. 

- Mr. Miller will allow Lambeau to come on the couch to investigate the baby. We will affirm him with treats and soft tones. Lambeau has a serious love affair with Mr. Miller and listens to him so much better, so he is in charge of allowing him to do things.

- Lambeau will receive a new toy to distract him while we settle in. I looked at food puzzle suggestions in this article, and decided that the Omega Paw Treat Ball will work best for him. I don't want to give him peanut butter multiple times a day, because skinny pup will become porky pup! This treat ball allows me to put in dry treats mixed with kibble and will stimulate him while I'm feeding, bath time, etc.

I will let you know how it goes! This may seem like a very detailed plan (In fact, I felt like I was writing a lesson plan!), but Lambeau is very important to us. He brings us tons of joy and companionship, and we want to make sure the transition is smooth. 
Circa 2012

How about you? Have you ever introduced an animal to a new human (Whether baby or adult)? Any other pieces of advice? Any ideas of what NOT to do? Tell me about it!
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