Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Be your dog's expert

Duke reads up on baby games & behavio
Each of our dogs has very different personalities and quirks. I say quirks with affection. The more you embrace your dog's unique characteristics and the more aware you are of how they learn and take in their environment the better you can include them as your baby grows. For example if your dog is very reactive to motion then you can plan and prepare for some level of arousal with different equipment and possibly intense intrigue when your baby moves in your arms or is passed from one person to another. If you expect the response then you can plan and prepare as to how you will handle this. r

Duke may be large but he listens well to direction and I trusted him this close. Putting a pillow between the dog and baby often for more comfortable for Moms. Duke would sniff and I'd say..."it's kelsyann" and then tell duke " good boy, now go lie down."
Ex. Duke was highly aroused at Kelsyann's crying at first. We reminded him what to do and that helped him settle down. Things like "Duke, go get your toy." "Go get your bone." " Go lie down." Anything that he knew to do and that he would be successful with. Some dogs need this more then others. You know your dog best and with some planning can make this an easier transition. You are the expert of your dog. Study your dog's behavior and responses and make mental notes or keep a journal of how they respond to new experiences and transitions in your environment. This can be very insightful as you enter this new chapter of your lives.
Our first days home were hectic and tiring but it was great to see the dogs and cats and to be home.
Duke relaxes while our son holds Kelsyann.
Duke chilled out quickly as he was able to follow me and listens well to directions... he was easy to include. The excitment faded for him quickly and he settled into a new comfortable pattern. If you have lived with a shepherd you know how it feels to have a constant shadow that is "just there" all the time. You look down no matter where you are and there is your shadow I never even am aware of when he arrived...he just is always there. I love that! Here is a photo of Duke in his spot while we nurse. He picked it and every time we sit in this chair....there he is. It is funny as this is my office and he lies down in a different spot when I am on the computer. Different activity different routine. Love it!

Here is a photo of Duke in his spot while we nurse. He picked it and every time we sit in this chair....there he is. Gotta love that!

Our female Mal/shepherd mix (12 yr old) Carin is used to the many changes in our home. Having fostered well over 70 dogs over the years and being in our home for almost 10 she pretty well rolls with the punches.

Carin waits patiently for some attention.

Good girl Carin!
Carin also follows our direction and is very easy to include. Her only challenge now is older age and this will be taken into consideration as Kelsyann begins to move on her own. Carin is a bit of a moody girl to other dogs and is known to resource guard. Even though Carin has only guarded items from other dogs in the past, as she ages and with new dynamics we must be observant of any possible shift or changes in her behaviors. New patterns can sometimes creep up with changes in the health and home dynamics. With this in mind and despite her age we continue to reward her sometimes when she makes a "good choice" that avoids a potential conflict. We all need incentives sometimes to stay on track....right? Or at least it helps.
Paying attention is essential with the great kid/baby and dog combo. If you need help with your dog or have questions about any of their behaviors don't hesitate to contact one of our presenters for support. Never wait if you have concerns. We are ready to listen and offer help.

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