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 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.
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.