Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Dog Dishes no more!

As we prepare for our vacation we describe to our pet sitter how we feed the dogs. One gets their food tossed here, one there and the other two have either a canine genius or stuffed busy buddy or kong. You throw their food? she asks looking disgusted. Yep we never use bowls as it is a waste of an opportunity for some mental stimulation for the dogs. My clients have the same reaction when I tell them to begin allowing their dog to "hunt" for their meals. Do you really think your dog cares? Hunting for meals slows down the eating time, engages the senses and provides your dog an activity they enjoy! Go for it! There are many variations for this activity that are especially great for expecting Moms as they require little effort but create nice bonds and a fun game.
Kibble fetch is one that even Moms on bed rest can engage in.
Have measured amount of kibble. I suggest breaking up the days amount of food into several meals and put into a cup. Sit or lie down and ask you dog to do the same. Then roll or toss a kibble or two. Your dog will go get it and then return to look for more. Repeat.
There are many ways to make this challenging but this game is a great version of fetch that will be wonderful to include baby in down the road. So, abandon those bowls and engage the hunter in your dog! Have fun!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mama and her pups reunite posted by presenter Michele Crouse, CDBC, CPDT

This is a gorgeous example of a Mam dog naturally responding to pups. This family has traveled a tough road and had been separated since 3/5/09 Watch how she "checks in" and cleans etc. Noitice her tail used so intentionally to communicate with the pups. Midline then low all intentional. Very sweet and great way to become familiar with how dogs care take. This relates to our "Is a kiss just a kiss" post. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dogs & Storks at the Oscars?

Yes, we had the pleasure of sponsoring Bone Appetit bakery at an Oscar event that took place at the Beverly hills luxory suite the 3 days prior to the big Oscar event. What a great opportunity. :) Our new Dogs & Storks DVD was in every Bone Appetit gift bag given out! Click here for photos!
Education is essential when it comes dog and baby harmony and safety. Reaching as many people as we can with a consistent and positive message is a huge part of what drives me. I believe passionaltely that if we can educate expecting families then we can decrease the number of dogs that are re homed and surrendered due to fear or a bite having already happened to a young child.
Many families do not know where to turn for advice as they prepare for life with baby. As an expecting Mom myself (4th baby on the way) I am frequently on message boards and read the suggestions from well intentioned but misinformed people that absolutely terrifies me. ex. allow dogs to sniff baby on the floor or bed when you first come home or correct your dog when they get too close to baby, or one of my favorites offer your dog a dirty diaper to become familiar with the baby scent! me...dogs don't need an invite to explore diapers! And...we do NOT want to encourage this! Anyway, when I chose to license the program out it was to create a greater impact by having highly qualified dog professionals all over the country offer this in their community. Currently we have well over 40 locations and growing. This is the first step towards getting Dogs & Storks type programs to be second nature when a family is preparing for a baby. Consistent and persistent presece in communities. We want all families to prepare and plan to prevent accidents. Education is the best cure for fear and hasty choices like giving up on a family dog. We want families to know that they can afford support and help from professionals. Got quesitons....give us a call or email us! We are here to help and participating in events like the one at the Oscars is just another way to make communities aware of this resource. So, when you think baby and dog...think....Dogs & Storks! Spread the word! Find us on Twitter and Facebook See you there!
Photo credit: Kevin Parry

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Life catches up!

The blog is a good indicator of how hectic and busy my life is. At 5 months pregnant with 3 kids, 4 dogs, 6 cats and 2 is busy. So, that brings me to one of the things I love about Dogs & Storks ....practical advice. As I go through my own preparation with our dogs I am reminded of what works and does not work in the real world. I think this is a good reminder in general and want to encourage all expecting families who may be working with a dog professional to keep in mind that it is important that YOU communicate when advice is "not do-able" for you. It is our job to adjust a plan to fit your needs. I see many families who have gone through training and share their guilt about not following through or being able to do something recommended. My thoughts on this are....if ever advice or tips are given that will not work for you and you do not achieve the results you are looking for them PLEASE speak up. I am not sure why this has come to mind today but I just wanted to express this as often I know people see whomever they have hired as an authority and sometimes do not speak up. In our field and when it comes to behavior we RELY on feedback and results. Communication and feedback between the family, the dog and the professional must flow easily for the best results. Don't be afraid to ASK for more! Just my thoughts for the day. Our hope our program answers your questions and if not....Ask for more!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dog and baby smarts!

Life is hectic when you are meeting the needs of a newborn. Grabbing a moment when your arms are free is precious. I know this first hand.
That said, it is so important for families to have a set plan of where the baby will be and where the dog will go when Mom/Dad ( or any caretaker) needs a potty break or has to leave for "just a second."
In our program we encourage families to PLAN for these moments. Role play and go through the steps and practice ahead of time for the "what ifs" that will come up. ex:
What if the phone rings and the baby is having tummy time?
Where is the dog, where should the dog be?
What if there is a delivery at your door when the baby is in the seing?
Where is the dog? Where should the dog be?
What will you do when you need to use the bathroom?
Where is the dog? where should the dog be?
And so on. Planning ahead for these "moments" makes a HUGE difference when it comes to newborn safety in homes with dogs. It is critical to remember that our dogs are NOT familiar with our newborn and they (along with us) need time to understand and gain familiarity with this new being. At NO time is it safe to leave for just a second. You must be sure that your dog never has access to the baby when an adult is not paying their FULL attention. Plan, prepare and prevent!
In both of the photos the dogs are secured with something to enjoy. Dogs can enjoy their crate for short periods of time and emergencies at any age! Keep it around and reward your dog with a busy buddy or kong toy with yummy goodies. The dog in the bottom photo is enjoying a food filled toy while secured by a tether. He is comfy and able to be with his family but not underfoot or roaming freely at this time. Having many options for securing your dog/s gives them a change in environment. Be sure to schedule times for games and fun with your dog throughout your baby routines. Including your dog with your constant supervision is the best way to help he and your baby begin to become familiar with one another. Setting up a plan and practicing ahead of time by familiarizing your dog to crating, gating and being closed in a room for short periods of time will make these moments alot smoother for everyone.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Does BSL really work?

We’re seeing more and more places jump on the BSL bandwagon, but is it just a knee-jerk reaction or are they actually examining the evidence as to whether…
Does BSL Really Work?? -

If this is a topic of interest we encourage you to visit the newly launched site
for the National Canine Research Council
The mission of The National Canine Research Council is to publish accurate, documented, reliable research to promote a better understanding of the human-canine bond.

For more information go to
Two decades of intensive research, during which the NCRC has developed the most complete body of data available on incidents of canine aggression, have taken us beyond the limitations of epidemiological studies that focus on the dog and the single vector of breed. Our historical approach has yielded an understanding of the relational dynamics between dogs and people that no single-vector approach can replicate, and of the responsibilities of owners and professionals – all the people directly associated with the human-canine bond – to the community, and to the dogs.

Karen Delise, Founder and Director of Research