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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21 Comments on “A 90lbs Dog & An Infant

  1. Dogs are so smart!! She’s a lucky doggie to have such caring parents. I’m sure as baby MPB continues to grow, they will both be more comfortable with each other. My friends kids LOVE their dog 🙂

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  2. She is milking that food thing for all its worth!!! That is hilarious. It sounds like she’s doing pretty well considering the huge changes in her life in the past several weeks. Bless her! They’ll be best buddies as soon as Baby MPB starts really noticing her and laughs at her antics (or existence, for that matter – dogs and babies are the BEST combo).

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  3. This is so hard. My cats are still adjusting three months later, just now starting to lay around the baby more. It’s like all of a sudden they’ve realized that my lap is never going to be really free again so they better warm up to this mini human I’ve brought home. They do, however, feel the need to groom her wild head of hair a lot.

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  4. This sounds almost identical to our experience when we brought C home. Twix took it the hardest. She wouldn’t eat for 3 weeks, and she would leave the room the moment the baby entered it. If baby happened to touch her, she went running out of there as fast as she could. Over time, she sloooowly started coming around. She’d even do the lick and run thing that you described! Now that C is eating solids, Twix wants to be her best friend. Charlotte thinks she’s hilarious, and she leans over and gives her food on purpose and then LAUGHS and laughs. Both dogs still get very upset if Charlotte is crying for an extended period, but thankfully that doesn’t happen much. I’m sure in time our babies and our dogs will be BFFs. Watching them get to know each other has really been an interesting journey.

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  5. We have a French mastiff so similar size. When E first came home, she didn’t really like anyone but me holding him. She had to check in with him when others held him. She was also wary of grabby hands until he was about 4 months. She seemed to sense his movements weren’t deliberate or under control. Once he was more aware of himself, she relaxed. He thinks she is hilarious. They interact a lot now. They squeak at each other and have a great time. She lets him pet her and knead her. It just took a little time. Elliott is now 7 months. She loves to lick food of his fingers and he thinks it is hilarious.

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  6. I have such a love for dogs and I so enjoyed reading this post. I didn’t know about not forcing interaction, so I appreciate that tip for when we (hopefully – I just can’t say it without “hopefully”) bring Baby SN home this summer! Such a sweet post. I can’t wait for our little guy to join our family that very much includes Hollywood! Love to imagine your dog coming by for a quick toe lick and then leaving. So funny!

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  7. my husband and I found this hilariously relatable (at least once the baby enters the picture toward the end): https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=x7ARYCDna3E

    In the beginning, a baby isn’t very interesting for a lot of dogs. But before you know it your kiddo will be her favorite human, and your baby’s first words will be dog sounds ;). But it might not happen until your baby is a little older and they can interact more.

    The other day my daughter’s grandparents took our daughter for a few hours, leaving our dog whimpering at the door (which she NEVER does when either of us leave!). Oh, and now she won’t bother greeting us at the door unless our daughter is with us!

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    • I forgot to add that when we first brought baby home our dog barked at her the moment she cried… Eventually she moved on to just ignoring her completely, then “guarding” her when she was on the floor but not mobile, then finally to being BFFs.

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  8. Our dog reacted almost identical! It takes a while to adjust and now he even lets C pet him and they’ll roll around on the floor together (obviously always supervised by me.. And our dog always has an exit route for when he’s done with baby time). I also trust my pup with everything in me…They’re almost BFF’s. We’ve also had to make accommodations to his food and treats, funny huh??

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  9. You’re right, you can’t force it. It sounds like she’s coming around slowly, and that’s fine. The fact that she won’t eat the cheaper food just may be her way of getting more attention from you. If you’re fussing over why she won’t eat her food, then you’re paying her attention…there are only so many ways that our furries can ask for attention when we’re already preoccupied!!
    I find it completely unacceptable that people when find out you’ll be bringing a baby home, they ask when you will get rid of your pets. When B went to work on Tuesday (he had stayed home with me Monday) and mentioned to a coworker that we put Cole down, the coworker then asked when we were getting rid of the other 3 cats before the baby came. If that was me, I would have LOST IT on them!!!! Why say such a heartless thing during an already sensitive time??? I never understand what is going through people’s minds.
    That being said…I’d just give your dog more time. She has years to go with baby, and they’ll become friends probably once he gets up and around and more active as he grows. The fact that she’s already coming around a bit more and letting him put his feet on her is already good signs. 🙂

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  10. It sounds like your dog is adjusting really well considering the major changes. I LOVE that you would hire someone to work with your dog before finding another home. Most do not consider that. Our dog is small and there haven’t been any real cuddle moments since she got mobile, but he does follow her around when she has her snack cup and she loves to feed him. Recently they have started to play a game with his toy that I used to do with her strapped on me as a baby. So hopefully, when she grasps the “gentle hands” concept he will feel more comfortable to go in for some cuddles. For now he sneaks into her room at night and lays on her bed until she wakes up, which is kind of really sweet.

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  11. I’m so glad that Sadie is adjusting well to Baby MPB, and even showing her saucy side by being a food snob lol. Our dogs also turn away from certain dog food that doesn’t meet their standards. I can’t wait until the babies are big enough to really enjoy the full benefits of having wonderful dogs like the ones that we both have ❤️

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  12. “You’re not keeping the cats, are you?” was the most common question we got when Matthew was about to be born. My dad even wished for an allergy so he could take our cats (which I find very sweet). I don’t understand why people assume that we’re going to “get rid of” our pets because a baby has arrived. Those are not the types of people I want in my life. Truly.

    Dog will come around. Sounds like she’s adjusting quite well! My friend still hasn’t brought her dog home because she was aggressive with their new baby. It’s been 3 months and she’s heartbroken. I’m glad, for both you and Dog, that Dog is home again. ❤

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  13. So glad the adjustment is going well! Our Kona still gets annoyed by Nora, and more so lately since Nora is more mobile and often wants to play with Kona now. I still picture them good friends, but maybe not for a few more years!

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