Last week was National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and I shared that when I was pregnant I had a few concerns about bringing baby Brian (B2) home to our three dogs. While our dogs were very used to being around kids (Brian and I have 10 nieces and nephews), only our two older dogs, Ryder (12) and Tansy (5), really had experience around babies. Our youngest dog, Jethro (2), is a gentle, loving boy, but he has a lot of energy, so when it came to being around a baby, he was a bit of a wild card to us.
I did a lot of research during my pregnancy. I wanted to know things like the best way to introduce the baby to the dogs (I relied on this article for a lot of advice), and what we could do if the baby happened to be allergic to dogs (this is a pretty good piece on the topic, although I’m not a fan of the title).
Just as there is a transition period with any change to the family dynamic, the first few days and weeks that we were a family of six – 2 parents, 1 baby and 3 dogs – were stressful at times. But after awhile we found our rhythm as a family, and now the dogs seem to think of B2 as one of the pack. They are animals, though, so we just try to keep B2 at a safe distance when they get too excited about something and/or are playing rough with each other.
Keeping up with the dogs’ routine has been really helpful in establishing a happy family that includes dogs and a baby. Brian and I always took the dogs to play in our town’s park each morning, and ever since we had B2, Brian has continued to do this by himself. The dogs enjoy and, in all seriousness, depend on this time at the park each day with Daddy. I have taken the baby a few times, but usually he is sleeping so I just stay home with him. Also, I continue to take the dogs with me on my errands every day – to the bank, the post office, to pick up mail at Brian’s shop, etc. – just like I did before B2 arrived.
The dogs know that our love for them hasn’t changed even though we’ve added a baby to the family – and the baby gets a lot of our attention. There really doesn’t seem to be any jealousy toward B2 (although Tansy covets any of his toys that squeak). I can’t wait to see how B2’s relationship with dogs grows as he gets older.
Here is the video of the dogs meeting baby Brian for the very first time. He was 2 days old and we had just come home from the hospital with him. I can tell by my voice in the video that I was exhausted and anxious – so I blame that on my decision to film their meeting in portrait mode!