I'm 11 weeks pregnant and have two big pit bull/shar pei mutts and two cats. The pups are brothers who were abandoned in the woods when they were about 4 months, fostered with the couple who found them for a week and then we got them. They're a bit more than two years old. The cats were adopted at 3 months and are nearly 5 years old now.
The dogs have mostly only been around children at the dog park. One of my dogs (T-Bone) seems scared/ alarmed by toddler-sized children and the other (Porkchop) doesn't seem to mind them. They both have been around a friend's baby at my house before and were very interested in licking his feet. They both want to be close to my husband and I at all times. They're very cuddly and sweet. Porkchop is needier and prone to separation anxiety. Neither of them has ever bitten anyone. T-Bone has barked at children who run/toddle towards him. They still act quite puppyish occasionally and get over excited about walks and treats sometimes.
I'm wondering about other moms' experiences with introducing the new baby to the household pets. I don't think my cats will care about a baby but I'm a little concerned that my dogs will be weird. I'm especially interested in hearing about people who had home births with pets in the house. Thanks for any info!
I had a 7 year old dog when my son was born, he was a lab/something mix that I'd had since he was a puppy.
I didn't birth at home, so can't help you there.
My husband brought home a blanket from the hospital that had baby's scent on it before I got home, and let the dog sniff that.
Then, when we came home, I remember my husband carried the baby, and I greeted the dog with the smell of baby on me. AFter that, I don't remember much, except that it went really well.
When the baby would cry, my sweet dog would come to "tell me"... so cute!
The issues we did have were after the newborn stage, when our first son started to crawl/walk. They (the babies) are so unpredictable in their movement during that phase, so we separated for a while, but it turned out fine after a while. They got to be real friends, starting when baby would drop food from the high chair to the dog. That worked to cement the love lol.
I laughed aloud at the part about cementing the love. That's too funny. I haven't even begun to think about the crawling and walking stages. It seems a long way off, even though it isn't, really. I'm hoping my dogs calm down more by the time my child is mobile. I've heard that bully breeds take longer to mature and can exhibit puppy behavior for as long as 5 years.
We're friends with a trainer who does positive reinforcement and clicker training. She also offers a "dogs & babies" class. I think we might take it when we get a little closer to my due date.
That class sounds like a great idea, I'd definitely be all over it, it sounds perfect for you!
My current dog (2 yr old) may have some pitbull in him (who knows, he's 100% rescue mutt, but some people see it) and he responds really really well to clicker training. It's helped with his leash reactivity to other dogs, and for training in general. He *loves* my boys, btw.
There is a great book called "Click to Calm" that has tons of clicker exercises in it, which I've used with success (it's for any kind of dog, doesn't need to have behaviour problems to benefit from it).
We had a 110-lb Lab when our twins were born. One of the most useful commands we taught the dog (long before babies) was "Off", which means "Don't touch it, it's mine". I used it to teach him to stay out of my Mom's garden (I could throw a frisbee across the garden, and he would run around the garden to retrieve it); "off" meant don't pick up something in your mouth that isn't your own chew toy (very handy when the boys had chew toys too).
When we put the babies on the floor, we put them on a blanket, and told the dog to stay off the blanket. He would lay down with his paws and nose touching the blanket, but not quite on - as close as he could possibly get to the "puppies".
No matter how much your dogs seem to love the baby/toddler, never leave them alone together. A 2-yr-old that grabs a dog's penis, or a crawler who gnaws on the dog's ear is probably going to get snapped at!
We taught the children early to "pet gently", but there was still a stage when they grabbed on and didn't know how to let go. Our dog tolerated that behavior with good grace - if we put him in another room for his own protection, he would whine until we let him out - he would rather be abused by the babies than away from them, but he was a very special dog.
I know nothing about cats, but my brother had a cat who was completely tolerant of his baby dd - more so than their dog.
If the chips are down, the buffalo is empty.
I immediately got a baby gate that spans my house and now I have the dog's side and my ds's side.
We worked on some dominance issues and although we keep them separate most of the time, they get supervised time together and we haven't seen any other issues, except we need to watch the dog's weight and my ds loves to feed him by throwing food from the high chair.
I also think that it helps that ds is walking now. I think the dog was confused by the crawler who was going for his food.
We had two dogs when our first daughter was born - a pit (rescue, age unknown) and a shepherd/husky mix (just about 2yo, we'd had her since she was 6wks). We had no issues with either during the newborn stage...they both would smell her and lick on her, but neither was really that interested. Their big life change was that they were no longer allowed on our bed and they both took it in stride. As dd1 got older, our pit became more interested (sleeping in front of her crib, liking to be near her, alerting me when she cried, etc) and she was always very kind/gentle with dd -- getting out of her way, not minding being loved on, leaving her toys alone.
Our husky mix was more like it sounds your T-Bone is - she was visibly uncomfortable with loud kid noises, didn't like all the movement a toddler brought to the house, and was generally weary of dd. She was more prone to leave the room if dd wandered in, and that meant she was also spending much less time with us. It became challenging to even walk her, because although I got the distinct impression she was not happy to have added dd to our "pack," she became very (very) protective of her. Dog aggression developed, and her mistrust of people outside our family also increased. We utilized baby gates to ensure that she had a safe space to retreat to in our house that dd couldn't access but we made a point not to exclude her from regular home life. We tried lots of different approaches to manage this (realizing that a lot of it was due to other circumstances outside of dd1 being born, in addition to her tendency since puppy-hood to display dominant behaviors) but over the years, it was always *just under control. Hindsight being what it is, we are very lucky that she never caused harm to anyone or any animal. In the end, she began to be aggressive toward myself and my dh and "guarding" certain areas of the house (namely, the kitchen). We made the heartbreaking decision to have her put down when dd was 6 (and we had two other children by then as well).
We have a 3yo pit now who we got at about 4months old, and she has integrated beautifully into our family. The only issues I foresee with her and the baby we are expecting in December is that she is a super cuddly lap dog who may love on the baby a little too strongly. My thought for introducing a new baby to pets (and older siblings, even!) is that as the "leader," they are looking to you for cues on how they are supposed to react...if you are confident and accepting, and project that you expect the same from them, they will follow suit.
We had 2 dogs and a cat when DD1 was born and they were all great (although, a bit cautious of the new little one at first). There was never an issue, but we don't really leave them alone together. DD1 had a period where she was pretty rough with the dogs and we needed to run interference.
Had a homebirth with DD2 (cat had to be put to sleep before her birth, so just the 2 dogs). My midwife said that the dogs started barking and jumping around in the backyard when DD2 was born. She said it was the neatest thing.
They were outside because they were getting anxious around the time of the birth, they usually want to hang out inside all the time, but they ran right out when my MIL opened the door for DD1 to go play. It all turned out really well.
I think that if they are a bit nervous around kids, maybe slowly introduce and let them lead it. Let them come in when ready.
SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)
Well my DD is only 3.5 months old at this point, so I can't tell you about the crawling or walking stages. But so far the dogs have adapted to her really well. We have Chaos, a medium sized mutt (husky or elkhound mix) and Mayhem, a greyhound. Chaos had to be closed in another room when we had our homebirth, partly because she was upset when I was in labour (she picks up people's emotions very well) and partly because she gets over-excited when new people come to the house (i.e. midwives). Mayhem is very mellow so we just let him do his thing - he actually ended up about 4 feet from me when I was pushing, sleeping on his bed.
So far the dogs will come up to sniff DD sometimes or sniff her blanket on the floor but they don't really find her that interesting. Chaos gets upset when she cries (emotions and noise again) and will go to another room if we can't get her to stop fussing quickly. The main thing has been that they haven't been getting as much of our time so if you have someone who could take them for extra walks or play with them that would really help, especially since exercise helps with any stress they may feel. Also Chaos is a big barker and it's annoying when DD has just fallen asleep and she wakes her up, so working on a "quiet" word would be helpful. Also a "place" command is very handy when you need the dogs out of the way, we use this to tell the dogs to go lie on their beds.