Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Preparation for our pup

One of the hardest parts of having a toddler and a puppy is that both are TODDLERS!  
Our daughter Kelsyann has been the center of attention for 2 years now and sharing this stage with a puppy is something she will have to adjust to.  It is so important that including her when possible is done in a positive manner so that she develops a fondness of the pup and enjoys the interaction.  With razor sharp teeth this is all about timing and planning.  I hope to share some of the fun things we do to help keep the peace.
One of the things we did was set up a crate and have her put her stuffed puppy in it while she played something else.  "puppies need rest."  This is important especially for the little ones who are so self centered and want to be with a puppy non stop.  We tell her that Quentin needs puppy alone time.  She needs alone time sometimes too and so that seems to make sense.  Try to connect your child's experience to what your puppy needs to help make things more understandable.

Puppy adventures!

I know I know....those of you who know me are saying...what are you thinking?  A puppy!?!  Well, actually I have thought ALOT about this decision and hope that by sharing our challenges and successes that we may help many other families who adopt a dog or pup while having a toddler in the home.  Toddlers and puppies are work and require constant management and attention.  This is NOT a decision I made impulsively and I never would have chosen this when our 3 older children were toddlers.  At that time and for many years adopting an older dog between 3 and 5 years of age was the perfect option.
My decision to add a puppy at this time to our family is based on the fact that we have 3 older children who are able to help and enjoy the puppy experience.  I also am going into this fully prepared for WORK and meeting the challenges and successes we have ahead of us.  I have wanted a german shepherd pup since I was 6 years old.  After many years of rescuing dogs we have chosen to have a pup we raise from the beginning who we can include in all aspects of our lives.  we want to share in his beginning socialization stages and begin guiding his learning from the moment he enters our arms.  I was NOT ready for this years ago and am thrilled that now is the perfect time.
I am excited about this adventure and hope that by sharing our experiences others will benefit too!
So, meet Quentin our 8 week old German Shepherd Puppy.  The name Quentin means "5th born child."  So appropriate!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween & Hounds! "TREAT N TREAT"

Halloween is one of the most fun Holidays for children everywhere.  Candy, costumes and creepy crawlers are all the ingredients to make this a great and fun memory for kids. 
As you and your family prepare for this fun night, consider your 4 legged friends and how this one evening could leave a lasting and possibly damaging impression on them.
Think about the following:

Dogs rely on body language and predictable human behavior:
Are kids in costumes predictable?  NO, in fact most kids go out of their way to get a reaction from anyone or anything when they dress up.    
***Respect your dog by not expecting them to interact with kids in disguise.  Many dogs do not even recognize their own family members when an appearance is changed.  This can lead to a fearful response."

Do you like it when your dog barks wildly at your front door?
One of the biggest complaints of clients is that their dog goes NUTS around the front door.  It is amazing how even one night can impact the behavior of our dogs.  Door bell reactivity and excitement is frustrating to deal with especially with multiple dogs.  Prevent your dog from practicing this unwanted behavior on Halloween night with the following tips.
1.  Allow your dog a nice quiet and calm place with a yummy frozen goodie or bone.  
2.  Add white noise to this "den" area and replenish the treats when needed.
3.  If your dog is calm and behaves well at the sure to reward this behavior.  KEEP IN MIND that costumes can startled even the mellowist dogs.
4.  Put pumpkins at the end of your driveway with a bowl of candy so the kids do not come to your door.  Leave lights off on porch.
5.  Disconnect your doorbell for the night.
Tails of a puller, mugger and barker?
Does your dog pull on leash?  Does he grab other peoples goodies?  Is he easily triggered to bark?  If so then this is not the time to walk your dog.  Trick or treating night is busy, loud and there are goodies everywhere!  Please consider your dog before deciding to bring him along on Halloween!  Dogs often do better at home.  Darkness makes seeing difficult and this can make even calm and tolerant dogs feel a bit uneasy.  Darkness and costumes running around....heck it makes me uneasy!  Dogs also may be overly excited about the opportunities they smell in kids bags!  Chocolate and other goodies are not safe or healthy for dogs.  
Consider leaving your dog at home and follow the above steps to help him feel safe and secure.  NEVER leave your dog or cat outside on halloween night.  This is unsafe!  There are many sad stories of family companions who are injured or stolen on these nights.

i love Halloween and all that is involved but....I also know from my animal control friends that this holiday is very stressful for our dogs.  We need to consider what is safe and comfortable for our companions so that they can be safe, secure and successful on these Human Holidays!

So, make this a "treat N treat" for your dogs this Halloween!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Doors you can depend on.

If you have a newborn in the house you must be sure that your doors close in a dependable way.  If your dog is able to push open a door to any room where the baby may be sleeping then this must be properly secured.

We added a hook and eye on the outside of our daughters nursery to prevent our dogs from nudging the unreliable door open.  

Your newborn is NEW to you and your dog.  It is essential that extra care be taken in those first days and weeks home.  Full awake adult supervision is a must.  It is also important to KNOW that any door you close is totally shut to prevent access of your dog to your newborn.  A gate is not enough.  Be sure your dog never has access to the nursery or sleeping baby while you are not right there.

We have many wonderful baby monitors that make it so much easier to close the door to the nursery so that you know your baby is safe and sound. 

Dogs usually adjust very well to a new baby but they are animals and it is important that families take extra precautions in those early weeks.