Monday, August 16, 2010

Pet Psychology 101

I recently took Sam and Carter to our vet for their vaccines and check-ups.  I asked for our vet's opinion on introducing a new baby into the mix, and here's what he had to say more or less.  Ready for a little lesson...

According to Vet:  Dogs tend to think of themselves as living in a pack, and in our current situation (sans baby) our pack consists of Sam, Carter, Tony, and myself.  Bringing a baby home will introduce a new member of the pack, and the goal is to have the baby gladly accepted into the pack rather than seem like an intruder.

He also says that the dog we had first, which would be Sam, is the alpha dog.  Really? Sam, the alpha dog?  Picture that for a moment...
the sweetest dog on the planet
Sounds nuts, huh?  I kept listening anyway.

The goal is to be sure the alpha dog accepts the baby first as part of his pack and the rest will fall into place.  And to think I've been worrying about Carter more than Sam!

Here are a couple recommendations:

1) Be sure to greet the dogs, especially Sam (aka Mr. Alpha) for approximately 3-5 minutes upon coming home with the baby for the first time, and do have a formal greeting (but shorter) with the dogs every time we come home with the baby for the first few weeks.

2) When it's time for the baby to eat the dogs can sense that he is eating even if he is nursing or taking a bottle. Our vet also recommends that you give the dogs their food or consider a treat for the dogs just before you feed the little one.  Hmmmm...

He went onto say that doing this consistantly the first few weeks we have the baby at home will ensure a safe and friendly relationship between the dogs and the little one.  He went on to say that by the time the little one is able to sit in a high chair and eat they dogs will be insanely in love with him because he will drop more food than he actually eats which means the dogs will be camped out below the high chair waiting for the food to fall.  At this point they'll think he's their best friend especially since Tony has a no-table-food policy for the dogs.

What do you think? I'm not sure how I feel about all of it, but I do believe the "greeting of the dogs" will be very important. I can't imagine that I won't want to greet and love on my four-legged babies though. Heck, I'm already trying to figure out how to sneak Sam into the hospital with me.

Clearly, I open to any advice or tips.  Let me hear 'em if you've got 'em.


Ephesians 6:18    And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.

6 comments:

Breann said...

I have been slightly worried about this too, since Teddy is insanely afraid of children (bigger kids, they are loud and fast!) We just think we need to make sure we still give them attention and make them feel special!

The Johnson Family said...

That is good to know!!
I also read that you should have someone take the baby's hospital blanket home before you go home and let the dogs sniff it and lay with it so they can get used to the scent.
Bella is spoiled rotten and this is going to be a HUGE adjustment for her!!

taeandashleypark said...

We did the blanket trick with our dog but she wasn't really that interested in it. She was mainly confused when we brought the Jemma home but our biggest problem was that burping the baby looked like the "come here" signal to her so she thought she should jump up next to us. Now they love each other . .a little too much because Jemma now tries to lick Bailey back! I'm sure your puppies will love the new addition!

Anonymous said...

Zoey, Sams sister, is just a sweet as he is. She is the reason Sam is now about of the family. You need to correct the listing of your pack, Sammer thinks we are all a part. lol

k

Okie Rednecks said...

I have a friend who just dealt with this http://katieballa.blogspot.com They put up all the accessories and had them around so that it wouldn't seem odd and they were all put up and around all at once. They did the blanket thing and it seemed to work with Mac and they also greeted him first, loved on him and then introduced. Mac loves Eme now!

karen said...

We were worried about this too 24 years ago when we brought Seth home... We had 2 dogs; a 5 lb t-cup peekapoo and a 40 lb english springer spaniel. No one told me to do this but Bob and I had discussed introducing the baby to the dogs. We walked in and immediatedly put the baby down on the couch and unwrapped him from his swaddle. Both dogs cautiously approached and gingerly sidled up to the baby and the springer took a big ol lick on the babies face and that was the beginning of a great friendship... :0) And that will not be the first time that germs will make your baby happy...