Love at First Sight: How to Get Your Pup Ready for Baby

by heirtoblair on December 8, 2012

dogandbabytips Love at First Sight: How to Get Your Pup Ready for Baby

I get asked pretty often about Harry & Tuck’s relationship & how we made that whole baby-canine friendship come to fruition.

Point 1: I am not Ceasar Milan. On the flip side, I grew up with dogs (at one point we had three in the house) & have attended official dog training stuff, so I may know a wee bit more than the average bear.

Point 2: Doug & I are “dogs are family!” people. Yes, I get frustrated with her & yes, she is a dog & not a human. But Tuck is still loved & respected in our house.

Point 3: I’m not into breed prejudice. Yes, Tuck is part German Shepherd. If you think that breeds with a “bad” reputation cannot be good family dogs, then I beg you to keep reading this post.

IMG 0170 1024x768 Love at First Sight: How to Get Your Pup Ready for Baby

We started working with Tuck fairly quickly in the pregnancy. We took her to dog parks to keep her socialized & walked her in the neighborhood so that she could get used to little hands of the neighbor’s kids touching her. We praised her good behavior, corrected the bad, & used those park dates & walks to make sure she was socially ready for baby.

Once we cleared out the nursery & began getting it ready for baby, we decided to not make the room “off limits” to Tucker but rather to create a calm atmosphere for her in it, which may sound totally hokey & new-aged but really worked for us. We welcomed her in the room while we worked in the nursery. I sat & read in the room & called her in to sit at my feet so she could spend time in there. She sat with me while I put together furniture & painted the walls & folded laundry. We welcomed her presence in there but set the rule that the moment she became excited or loud, she was booted out. (basically, think of it like time out for your toddler.) We did this throughout the pregnancy & by the time Harrison arrived, she knew that to be allowed in the nursery, she had to come in calmly & lay down.

Yes, we did the usual “bring blanket home from the hospital for dog” trick where she was presented with a towel smelling of me & Harrison while we were in the hospital. Never hurts to give that one a whirl. On the day that Harrison & I came home from the hospital, Tuck was still staying at my parent’s house. We came home to an empty house & settled Harrison into his swing, made a drink, & waited for our ol’ girl to be brought home to us. When my parents brought her, I went out to greet her without Harrison. I let her smell me & lick me & greet me & when she was calm, I took her leash & walked her into the house. We kept her on the leash for a while, not holding her firm but simply having a grip on her. & then I gathered Harrison into my arms & let our dog meet her boy for the first time. It was love at first sight.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber December 8, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Thank you for #3. We have a pit bull and I was actually asked what we were “going to do with the dog” when I announced we were expecting. Three years later, the dog and the boy are best buds. She actually runs to tattle on him if he’s doing something she doesn’t approve of. :)


Katie December 8, 2012 at 11:58 pm

That’s funny. I’d recommend all the same things when introducing a new baby to his/her older sibling. When my second came home, had my first not been in diapers, I think he’d have peed all over my husband and me to mark his territory. Imma try this stuff when when bring home baby #3.


Kami December 9, 2012 at 10:40 am

Dogs are family in our household too! Like you, I grew up with dogs. My grandmother was a dog breeder, and I remember going to dog shows when I was a little girl. :)

We have a german shepherd, and I don’t understand why they have a bad rep. I think they are amazing family dogs!! Our dog adores our son. He’s her boy!

Anyways, great post! I love reading about dogs and babies :)


Shannon December 9, 2012 at 8:42 pm

I couldn’t agree more about “breed prejudice.” About the same time we found out we were expecting, we brought home Hannah, a pit bull mix from a rescue who, we quickly discovered, had clearly been abused. She had some pretty severe social issues & we were very concerned. Turns out all she needed was a little boy. Almost 3 years later, you wouldn’t believe it’s the same dog! She’s incredibly tolerant, sweet, loving, outgoing…’s amazing. She still won’t let my husband put both hands on her at once but otherwise you’d never know she had a dark past. She was made for kids!


Molly December 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Good tips! When we brought Saul home, we had a full-blown German Shepherd that was just about one. I don’t remember ANYTHING from my first couple of weeks with the baby, but I do remember that Colston being around was such a non-issue. I don’t even think I gave it a second thought. I know at first, my husband was like, “Don’t leave Colston alone with baby just in case for a few months.” I doubt that lasted more than two weeks. He was curious, but somehow so gentle and just KNEW to be soft; the baby was delicate. Now, two-and-a-half years later, they are inseparable. Our GSD is so protective of us, but the sweetest, most loving and gentle 100-pound beast you could imagine. I’ll try to keep these in mind for when we bring home #2 in April!


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