Introducing your new baby to the family is generally quite an easy process. But things might get a little trickier when it comes to introducing the dogs to the baby.
As anyone who owns a dachshund can probably attest, they’re basically babies. I dare say others are too, but for us, we own dachshunds, so please excuse the bias. They’re needy, demanding, and they’re going to sit on your lap. That’s just a fact. Your lap is theirs, no questions asked. So what happens when you bring an actual human baby home? And suddenly they find themselves in competition with a much needier, unbelievably more demanding little sister.
As we have two dachshunds. Ralph, our youngest, is an obsessive, who is still fascinated with our rabbits two years after having them. If the rabbit blankets are on the washing line, then chances are he’s sat by the door waiting to get out and try to pull them down. Elsie, on the other hand, the eldest, was once an only child so to speak. So she once lived the life of luxury by having ‘parents’ who basically treated her as a baby. Once Ralph entered the picture she would occasionally get jealous if anyone showed him too much affection. This was her attention that he was stealing, and she didn’t like it.
So what we had were two very different problematic dogs for bringing a baby home. One who would be utterly infatuated with her, and want to see her constantly, and the other which could potentially get jealous of her, and bring along all the problems that could come with that.
For the first week, we kept it simple and merely eliminated the problem of the dogs by simply not having them there. We were lucky in that regards as my wife’s mother could have them for this time. But this did give us the chance to settle ourselves into this disjointed new routine of having a baby, and it also gave us chance to take clothes she had worn to the dogs so they could smell her prior to even seeing her. Something I very much recommend.
Introducing the Dogs to the Baby
Next came the difficult bit. Introducing the dogs to the baby. We did this slowly and gradually. My wife sat in a different room with the baby and we let them sniff the house, eventually she came out and they would be able to see her holding the baby. As expected Ralph was absolutely obsessed. Not in an “I want to kill her” kind of way, but very much in an “I HAVE TO SEE HER ALL THE TIME!!!” kind of way. Elsie, on the other, was quite surprising in that she really didn’t seem to care. It’s as if she knew she was going to be here and had already dealt with it. All she wanted was her place on a lap when she wanted it and for the sun to constantly be out, which luckily for us, it almost always was.
The following week was extremely hard work. It called for separate rooms during breastfeeding, due to the fact my wife could barely sit down without being ambushed. And it called for patience. If you want to know the best things for introducing dogs to babies it’s time and patience. Here’s Ralph, the obsessive member of the two dachshunds.
Other Tips to Help Introduce the Dogs to the Baby
Time – Just understand that this probably isn’t going to be an overnight thing. For us, it easily took a week before things felt a little calmer. It wasn’t long after that where they would fall asleep next to her. And it took a long time before they really had a bond and could ‘play’ together.
Patience – Having the patience to gradually introduce a dog to the baby is hard work. But it’s something that you need to do. It can easily get frustrating when things aren’t going well, but just remember, it will eventually happen. Well, I’m not dishing out guarantees, but it should happen if you keep going.
Distractions – Having a few new toys and treat-based distractions are a great help. Obviously don’t try to overfeed your dog. Maybe just try something that will take them a long time to get into whilst they’re in the same room as the baby.
Affection – Don’t forget that your dog was once the top priority and all the affection went their way. This goes for visitors too. Make sure they still show the same affection to your dog as they once did. Having them bypass the dog and go straight to the baby can lead to jealousy and ultimately could lead to them wanting to harm the baby. Even more so with the alpha of the pack as they may see the baby as competition.
Discipline – Have clear rules and stick to them. It’s something you’re going to have to get used to as a parent anyway. Don’t want them jumping up at the Moses basket? Then put them in the crate for a few minutes every time they do. This is literally what we had to do for hours on end for a few nights. Don’t want them to lick the babies face, then the same goes for that. And if you’re interested in whether you should let your dog lick your babies face, then I have a post about that here too.
Hopefully you’ll find something here that’s helpful. It can take a while to fully introduce the dogs to the baby, but once they’ve bonded it’s amazing.
Having a One Year Old With the Dogs
Well it’s been over a year since we first introduced Isabelle to the dogs, and what they have now is amazing. We still have to be cautious. We’re lucky that Isabelle has started to shift from trying to grab the dogs to trying to stroke them. It’s something the dogs are very happy with.
She’s also walking now too! Isabelle loves the fact that she’s now able to ‘chase’ the dogs. She especially loves it when she has something that they really want. Obviously we still have to be a little cautious. She’s still learning what’s acceptable and what’s not. But the more time that they spend together the larger their bond grows. Elsie still ins’t massively fussed on playing with Isabelle, but she loves her when she has food. Shock shock. Meanwhile Ralph sees Isabelle as his best friend. And I am so happy that they have a bond like that!
I just thought I’d update the blog and show what the bond between the dogs and Isabelle is like these days. I really hope that anyone out there who has dogs and a baby can have what we have here. It’s not always easy getting dogs and babies to get along, but if you can nail then it’s amazing to watch.