Introducing the Dogs to Wee Babies
When we were bringing Bean home for the first time, I was a little worried about introducing him to our dogs. We have a big black lab named Big Molly who I didn’t worry about for a second. I was pretty sure that sweet Molly would let any baby climb all over her, pull her tail, or dress her up like a pony without ever batting an eye. Over the years, I have been proven right countless times. Big Molly loves babies. Even before Bean was born, Molly camped out in the nursery for weeks leading up to his birth. She just laid next to the crib, waiting for a baby to arrive.
When Bean Man finally came home from the hospital, Molly was never far behind. She laid at his feet where ever he might be. She wuved him.
Lucy was a different story. We knew from the start that Lucy was going to be tricky. Lucy is a dachshund/chihuahua mix who was six years old at the time Bean was born. I have had Lucy since college, and I love that dog. But Lucy is a mean little thing. She snips and snaps and is a bit unpredictable. We really had no idea how she’d be around a baby.
We prepped Lucy for baby by setting out all the baby equipment about a week or two before Bean was due. This gave the dogs a chance to get used to the baby stuff before having to get used to the actual baby.
When Bean finally came home, we did like everyone suggested and Chris brought home one of the baby blankets from the hospital a couple days before we arrived home so they could get used to the smell. I don’t know that that did much, but we checked the box like we were supposed to. The biggest adjustment was, naturally, when Bean arrived at the house. They immediately crowded around the baby carrier to sniff and smell the new arrival. And then, they just kind of walked away. No big deal. It’s just a baby.
Gradually, over the next few days, each dog took their time getting to know Bean. They came around for a minute when he was sleeping, just to see if he was still there. If he started crying, Lucy left the room, but Big Molly would sit next to wherever the crying baby was and just glare at me. I could see her thinking, “WHY ARE YOU HURTING THAT SMALL, BALD PUPPY????” She did not like the crying baby game.
As time has gone by, both our dogs have built their own unique relationship with both our kids. Molly is always close by, but doesn’t really romp with them. It’s almost like she knows she’s bigger than they are. She hangs out near them and lays there when they crawl all over her or poke at her. She still wuvs them.
Lucy doesn’t have much to do with the kids. She always hangs out just out of their reach, not really wanting to be bothered by them. As they’ve gotten bigger, we’ve taught them that they can’t sneak up on Gracie or mess with her or anything. So far, the kids relationship with Lucy is pretty reciprocal. She leaves them alone; they leave her alone.
I think the most important part of bringing a baby into your home with dogs is to know your dogs and how to interact with them so that they are comfortable. We had to work with Lucy and Molly in very different ways with our babies because they are very different dogs. Adapting to the needs of your dog is really important, and I think it makes a world of difference as to how accepting they are of your newest bald puppy.