As the baby comes up on being the big one (NOOOO) I have been posting a lot of pictures of her “playing” with one of our dogs. Let’s be honest, people always love pictures of babies and pets. It also raises the question of: how did you introduce and adjust the dogs to the baby. Let me tell you how we did it!
We have two larger dogs (60 and 70 lbs), Gilly and Rosie. Gilly was adopted from an animal shelter and Rosie is a legit rescued dog. As in, abandoned in the woods and I brought her home. For this reason, Rosie is our lover pup. She wants to be pet and loved on ALL the time. Gilly is very aloof and la-di-da.
I think a misconception is that the adjustment happens immediately. For us, that was not the case. Until the baby started moving I don’t think the dogs cared either way. Well, they did look a little stressed on the days she cried a lot 😉 but that wasn’t often. A lot of the pictures I have are with the baby and Gilly. This is because Rosie usually immediately runs away if the baby comes after her. I think if the baby could pet her, it would be different.
There was one time the baby went to Gilly while she was sleeping and Gilly jumped up and growled. We can neither be mad at Gilly or the baby for this! What we do now is if we see the baby going for either dog we immediately say the dogs name to wake them up and then they decide whether they want to run or not. Rosie gets up and leaves 95% of the time. Gilly will usually hang out and see what’s going to happen.
When the baby is near either of the dogs we try to stay right there with them and pet the dog and reassure them with “good girl, Gilly” and pet them while the baby is crawling on them. Generally, the baby squeals at them, gives them a few pats, and moves on.
We try to make sure once the baby is in bed (or playing) we give the dogs plenty of attention. I have had Gilly for almost 7 years and Rosie about 5.5 years so it’s important for them to not feel forgotten.
Rosie is a licker. It is very bad. We will let her get a few licks in and then usually have to force her to stop. She would lick that baby raw if we let her!
What we did/do is really fairly simple. Both of our dogs do really well with the baby and we have a GREAT and easy baby. If it seems the dogs are irritated with her we simply move her, give her a new toy to play with, and again verbally assure the dog that they did nothing wrong.
I will say, if the dogs are eating or have treats we do not allow the baby anywhere near them. Other than that we really try to let the dogs decide whether they feel like dealing with her. Once the dogs walk away the baby rarely chases them down. She just finds something else to terrorize 😦
I imagine the relationship between the baby and the dogs will change drastically over the years. At this point I just have no idea how! I do believe that Rosie will like her a lot more when she is actually able to pet and play with her!