Before LTD arrived our family dog was not only our best friend but our first real baby. We spent money on toys, food, and if you have ever been to a vet then you know how much money we spent. We arranged our schedule around the dog and even had to get a sitter if we were going to be gone for a long stretch. So what do you do with the dog when the baby comes home?
Try to avoid this scenario: You come home with the now two-day-old infant and the dog goes straight for him. The dog jumps on him and licks his face. What do you do? You freak out, yell at the dog and then lock him in the room upstairs. The lesson that the dog takes away from this experience is that he used to be number one in the house and loved, but now the baby has taken his place. In other words, the dog will blame the baby for his new lot in life and they both will have gotten off on the wrong foot or paw. It can get even worse if while you were at the hospital, the dog was at the kennel.
The best thing to do is come home, let the dog lick the baby (just for a second), and let him get it out of his system. Reward the dog for being gentle and then repeat this reward as often as needed. Now is the time to begin making deposits in the your dog’s trust bank. Every time the dog is around the baby and acting mellow, reward him. This new pattern of behavior and reward will build up good will in your dog and allow him to see that the baby is not a threat.
The baby is a threat. You will tell yourself that nothing will change and you will still love and treat your dog the same, but at the end of the day, you will simply be too tired to hang out with the dog like before. If your dog is anything like mine, this may lead to the so-called “canine cry for help”. During the first week with LTD, our dog tried to kill herself by eating a bar of soap. She wanted attention and she got it. And yes, bubbles did come out of her mouth and butt. When the baby is a little older and you start taking her outside just bring the dog with you to the park and hopefully things will return to normal, or at least what is now the new normal.
New Dad Suggestion (NDS): Never leave a dog and baby alone in the same room because as The Mommy says, neither the dog nor the baby will come up with a good idea between the two of them.