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bucketmouth64

pet dog and newborn baby

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My son and fiancé are having a baby in July. They have a 3 year old black lab that has been trained and very obedient. They are concerned how she will react with a new baby. Dog plays somewhat rough with her toys. What have you done with your dog to prepare for a baby?

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We had our first baby back in May and we also have a very high energy vizsla who can get a little wound up at times if he doesn't get run enough.

Our dog also likes to be right in the middle of everything and thinks the world is firmly centered on him. Because of this we were a little unsure how things would go with him when we brought the baby home.

There were several things we did to prepare the dog. The biggest thing is that we did a 6 week obedience course with him that was entirely focused on dog and new baby behavior. We did a lot of exercises to help prepare the dog for some new things he'll be dealing with and we also did a lot of work on new commands that make handling him easier with a baby. It was a great course and its put on my a training company in the Twin Cities. PM me for the name if they are in Twin Cities, it was worth the $100 or so we spent on it.

Our dog was good on obedience before hand but the course used the basic obedience skills and added on to them to create some new skills that have really helped.

The other thing we did was more for those first few days when we came home from the hospital. We had things set up before hand with a dog boarding place, we told them we had a baby on the way and that we'd need to drop the dog off at some point with little advanced warning. We then arranged for my dad to bring the dog to the boarding place after we left for the hospital. The dog stayed at the kennel while we were at the hospital and for a couple days afterward. This gave us time to sort of settle in at home with the baby and not have to worry about the dog. Meanwhile the place we boarded the dog runs the dogs 10-12 hours a day so the dog was getting a ton of exercise and loving it. When I went to pick him up after being home for 2 days he was absolutely wiped out. I got him home he sniffed the baby once or twice and then went to sleep for 2 days. That bought us more time where we didn't have to deal with the dog much.

In the end the dog has been great with the baby. He'll lay on the floor next to her as she plays. We taught him that he's not allowed on the baby blanket with her so she has a buffer around so he just sits next to the blanket and watches. A lot of dogs can sort of sense what they can and can not do with different people and kids. The younger the kid the more gentle my dog becomes, once the kids are a little older he knows he can run and play a little more.

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i think some dogs just know.. we bought a doberman shortly after we found out wifey was pregnant.. everyone told us to get rid of the dog because there bad dogs!! well the baby was born and when he started to crawl our doberman would walk up behind him and gently put his mouth on his leg or diaper.. we would freak out and yell NO!! after a few times we realized he wasnt going to harm our child. our son crawled towards the steps and the dog went behind him and put his mouth on his diaper.. i told my wife just wait and see.... well the doby picked him up by the diaper and dragged him back to his blanket!!! we were amazed!! the kids now sit on him pull his ears and he just lays there.. only time hes nocked them over is when he gets crazy and starts ripping around the house.. ( but the biggest thing that helped was when the baby was born we would make him sit next to the dog by the dog dish and play with his dog food and grab dog toys from him when the dog was playing with them))off course with supervisision.. the dog quickly realized that if he was eating and the baby was around he would stop eating and just sit there! hope this helps and good luck

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Tell your son to bring a blanket or the baby stocking cap home from the hospital before the mom and baby come home. Let the dog sniff it and know the scent really well. Don't let the dog take the blanket or cap...just sniff it. I did this with both of my boys when they were born. We had a big yellow lab at the time. He was never jealous, never rough, never anything but a great companion and jungle gym for the kids to play on! He was more at ease with the babies than I was!!!

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The good news is your son is aware of possible issues. That is half the battle. There isn't a dog alive that I would trust around a new born baby. They can never be left alone for even a second no matter how trustworthy. Introducing them in a controlled environment is a good first step. As the child ages I watch the child as much as I watch the dog. There is no way a dog should have to tolerate having it's ears and tail pulled etc. Even if your dog will put up with it what will happen to the kid when he runs into one that won't? The last thing (maybe not politically correct), if that dog ever shows the slightest sign of aggression, come down on it like a hammer.

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The good news is your son is aware of possible issues.

I am with CP - the possible issues and there will be some. My little yellow lab (50lbs 3yo) went into seclusion when we brought our daughter home. The dog was trembling, acting like she was lame in one leg, walked with her tail way between her legs, etc... One day we could not find her, finally located her stuck under our bed, hiding or something. We had to lift the bed to get her out. This only lasted a month or two, but the dog was definitely emotionally disturbed by our new baby, or her loss of our attention. No aggression, only the goofy withdrawal.

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Dogs pickup on emotions and their senses are next to none. If the dog is going to be a good dog, it will take very little human intervention. It will know what you have is precious. Not all dogs make the cut, and all the training in the world isn't going to change that. If they don't make the cut, it's time to put family first.

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Every dog is different, but in my experience they have been very tolerable, careful, and loving of small human introductions. I will note that my experience is limited to my brother's child and his black lab and the same child and my yellow.

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I believe it is equally important that we remember to take precautions to protect the DOG from the unknowing and therefore uncaring young child. Small children have done some horrific things to dogs, out of sheer ignorance of course but nevertheless we have to keep that in mind.

It's probably not necessary to bring it up but be sure the adults involved know to caution children about their big dog friends. Dogs and kids go together but only if the dog and the child KNOW how to treat one another.

And I've always said that every Labrador (black!) deserves a 12-year old boy!

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