A 90lbs Dog & An Infant
I’ve said before I’ll consider the first year a success if our dog doesn’t eat our baby. I said this jokingly, of course. Yet, in all seriousness, I desperately want our dog and our son to get along and be best friends.
I was pretty nervous about leaving our dog with friends for 3 weeks and then coming home with a baby. That’s a lot of transition for a dog!
And, now that we are home, everyone’s loves to ask one of two questions related to the dog. 1. How is the dog with the Baby? 2. When are you getting rid of the dog now that Baby is here? In my mind, question 1 is acceptable, question 2 is not even a remote possibility and a weird assumption to make. So, my answer to the second question is always unless there is a major allergy health concern for Baby MPB, our dog isn’t going anywhere. If the dog exhibits concerning behaviour, we will hire specialized dog trainers to help us work through it before it becomes a problem. Simply, our dog is and always will be a key member of our family.
All that said, I thought I’d share about how it’s going with Baby and Dog.
For the first few weeks, the dog basically slept her days away in her “spot” next to my side of our bed. She didn’t come out much and we had to cox her into the living room with treats. At first we thought we’d have to locked her out of the bedroom at night as Baby MPB would sleep in our room in his bassinet. But that turned out to be unnecessary as the dog just got up and left on her own when Baby MPB was in our room. And, it turned out in the first few weeks at home Baby MPB was sleeping in his pack n play in the living room most nights with one of us on the couch and one of us resting peacefully in our bed without Baby. During the day, very rarely the dog would appear, lick Baby MPB’s feet and then promptly leave the room. Unless a family walk was involved, the dog never stuck around for long.
I was told very clearly from others and from the very minimal research I did on dogs and infants to just let the dog be. Not to force interaction. So that’s what we did. I will admit though, she seemed depressed. And I felt bad. So, I bought some of her favourite food – the expensive freeze dried wild salmon and something or other fancy dog food. Every morning to start her day off right she got to enjoy her favourite food. She still got her cheaper kibble (which is still an expensive brand thanks to her lifelong stomach issues) for her evening meal.
But, after a few weeks, our dog has started to reappear more and more. She has figured out that if we are strapping Baby MPB into his bucket seat there is a very good chance that we are going for a walk, which of course makes her happy. And, the other day, the humans in the house all fell asleep in the living room for mid-day nap, and woke up to the dog sleeping on her dog mat in the living room too. And the dog is even content to let Baby MPB put his feet in her fur when she’s sleeping on the couch next to me and Baby MPB is on my lap.
The only even slightly concerning thing we’ve noticed is that the dog get’s a bit jealous when people come over and don’t pay a tonne of attention to her. To be fair, she’s been like an only child for 6 years now, so she’s used to being the center of attention and she loves people. The dog’s jealousy is the worst when her favourite people, her dog sitters, come to visit. Interestingly the dog gets a bit jealous when she holds Baby MPB, but could care less when he holds Baby MPB. The dog isn’t violent or anything like that, but if our friend is sitting down holding Baby MPB, the dog gets her nose right into the lap of our friend and very close to Baby MPB . And as soon as the dog gets an adequate supply of pets (as determined by the dog) then she’ll back off. We’ve talked about it with our friend who also recognized this dynamic and our friend is good to pay attention to both of them and if the dog is getting too close she just stands up to put space between the dog and the baby.
And the other annoying thing is that the dog will no longer eat her cheaper kibble! She has never been a food driven dog, which is funny because she’s so big you’d think she’d eat anything and everything. But, the dog has now taken it to a whole new level, as she appears to be on a hunger strike unless I feed her the expensive stuff!!
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