Babies and Dogs
We recently brought our newly born daughter into the world and after a brief period from Hospital into our home.
Like anybody we were filled with love and joy and plenty of last minute dotcom arrangements. There is so much to prepare for regardless of if you are about to bring home your first or third baby you cannot cover everything as well as you might like.
With the both of us being busy professional people, we work full time jobs up to 50hrs per week, a two year old daughter who is as busy as we are, we have hobbies that take us outside, families that love us, friends that support us but just not enough hours in the day; and somewhere along the line we also have our beloved Koda, Queen of the Garden, Ruler of the Veggiepatch.
Luckily we have been through this before and my wife knows her way around babies and children and I know my way around dogs. Her the Early Childhood Teacher and him the Dog Trainer.
Having gone through two pregnancies that posed their own challenges and bringing home two babies into our families we felt that we should be sharing this knowledge with those who are in similar positions.
This blog post will serve to give you an outline of what you can expect from our upcoming course “Babies and Dogs”. This course will serve to guide you along the way to ensuring that your dog friendly household remains so even after you have brought your baby home.
We had initially not thought much about it. But After speaking with the Alaskan Malamute Rehoming Aid Australia (AMRAA.org.au); located in Mandalong in the lower Hunter; we decided we need to put this together. Expanding the family unit to include a baby is no small decision in itself, it would appear that bringing a baby into a home with a dog is a significant reason to surrender the family pet. This course is set to enable families (including those families outside of the immediate household – Uncles, Aunts, Grandparents, Godparents etc.) to make the changes necessary so that their family dog is not estranged or placed in a scenario far too challenging to result in a good outcome.
The course module is broken down into 6 modules:
First Trimester – Relational Engagement
During this module you will learn how to discern polite and impolite manners of your dog, learning to read your dog now will enable you to address any issues later
Safe spaces, for both dogs and babies are identified
Recreational activities are strategized that will enable your dog to be alone for longer periods of time
This is a foundational module to engage both Social and Prey modes in your dog to provide both improved relationships and emotional releases in a positive manner
Second Trimester – Behavioural Evaluation
Behavioural assessments take place with ample time to address any issues identified
Social skills of your dog are improved through exposure techniques in secure conditions
Lifestyle changes initiated
This module builds off of the previous work with you and your dog’s relationship to alter any major or minor issues that have been found that could result in unnecessary stress or conflict once the baby comes home.
Third Trimester – Extended Relaxation
Safe place Stay
Father takes over majority of canine husbandry, Mother reduces interaction to simulate post Birth changes and also reflects the physical changes within the mother’s body and capacity
Pet Care fall backs
The familial relationships have been firmly entrenched and both you and your dog are confident in moving towards expanding the family unit. This module sees you extend the relaxation time of your dog to allow for extended periods of social isolation. The periods can include feeding, sleeping, midwife/medical visits, family visits, naptimes etc.
Week 1 – Bringing Baby home
Scent Articles, Possession and Isolation are covered between your dog and baby
This is the first week that the baby is at home, usually an unsettling period of artificial silence, reduced activity and energy levels of mother and father for our dogs.
Week 2 – Social Activities
Grooming, Relaxing, Walking and any other undertaking, done in a formalised setting using Separation between dog and baby
Building on the 3 trimester’s work of Social interaction with our dogs, you will engage in activities with your dog in a Social context
Week 3 – Formal Introductions
Sight-Sound-Scent of baby paired for your dog
Having habituated our dogs to the new baby we can now safely introduce them to each other. Formal introductions using sequential exposure
The course structure allows for a relaxed progression at your own pace. This means that you are able to invest time into your family over the 9months of the pregnancy without affecting your busy schedule as it is now, nor as it will be later.
The course workload also shifts according to the stage of the pregnancy to reflect mums physical capacity as the pregnancy progresses to full-term.
This is one way we can stop the drop. Through education packages such as this we can stop the surrender of dogs to shelters and keep them where they belong, in YOUR home!