Welcome! I am Jennifer Shryock, Creator/Director of the Family Paws Parent Education Programs for families with dogs, Dogs & Storks and The Dog and Baby Connection. I am a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and Mother of four with a degree in Special Education. kids and dogs are my passion! Our programs offer dog and baby friendly solutions that are safe and easy to implement in your own home. Learn with me as I share my experience of 4 kids and multiple dogs and cats all under one roof!
As I look around our living room I am amazed at all the items and equipment we have for this very small person. :) Swing, bouncer, exersaucer, toys, teether, baby carrier....gosh...tons. Anyway, before Kelsyann arrived we had the swing out and turned it on. We played the music and let the mobile move etc. Our dogs became comfortable with the swing in different locations and pretty much ignored it. The first time I put Kelsyann in the swing I remember feeling concerned about how close to the dog's level the swing sat. This healthy discomfort reminded me that this was again something that would take some time to introduce WITH Kelsyann IN it. No matter the prep with a doll, or with an empty swing...nothing compares to the real deal. Wiggly giggly babies make things much more interesting! It is very important that families remember to introduce the new equipment WITH BABY IN IT slowly. Assume your dog will be reactive and be super alert the first bunch of times your baby is in the equipment. Observe your dog for signs of stress such as Yawning, lip licking, avoidance of the area etc. If you notice these signs then try to simply resort back to your comfort cues (something he knows well). Give your dog something to do that he understands. Reward him with praise, treats or toys for calm behavior and relaxed behavior around the equipment with the baby. Take your time and ALWAYS SUPERVISE!
Always remember that while you are learning about your baby your dog is too. Patience, time and inclusion in daily routines makes this relationship blossom!