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Greetings,

I was wondering if anyone here had pets before kids, and how everyone (parents, children and pets) adapted during babyhood through toddlerhood?

We are animal-lovers and soon-to-be parents (we are working on our first "human" child--LOL). We have 3 pups (2 poms and a 3-legged American Eski) and 3 cats. We're concerned about making sure everyone adjusts and keeping anxiety and jealousy to a manageable minimum.

So far, I'm working on desensitizing our crew with positive reinforcement using a realistic doll and baby-sounds CD (I'd bring kids over, but none of our friends who live near have any). I'm also planning on making "safe-spots" in the house (crates, baby cates, baby gates) where the fuzzbutts can go when they want a break from the kid. Of course, we'll probably be getting a diaper pail with a lock-down lid.

Still, I worry about it being enough. I know a lot will also hinge on our child and how we raise him/her.

Any words of wisdom (or even cute stories) are most appreciated!
 

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We had pets before ds. It all went relatively smoothly. You are definitely on the right track! Safe spots are really important.
It is super important to be very close any time a young child is around a dog, even if the dog "likes" the baby. Dogs don't get that you can't play with a baby like you can with a puppy! And, ime, babies are seen as having a lower status in the pack, at least until the can walk, give commands and treats.
A superyard was a great thing for us. It let the dogs be around ds, but I didn'y have to worry about 3 dogs running over him to get to the window to bark at a squirell! lol
 

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We had a dog and two rabbits at the time we brought DD home from the hospital. Our dog was 9 years old at the time. She was our "baby" before the human baby came long. Doggie just freaked out when DD cried. The shrill newborn cries frightened her. If we had DD downstairs, our dog would run upstairs and stay there. If DD was upstairs, our dog would run downstairs. She didn't snap at DD. She didn't exhibit any aggression or hostility. She's a very sweet friendly dog and still continued to be so but she was definitely unhinged by the baby noises and smells as well. I have a photo of DD sleeping in her co-sleeper and our dog standing on the bed, leaning over the bed to the co-sleeper and sniffing what I think is a poopy diaper.

Our dog got over her fear of DD's noises after a while. I can't remember at what point she felt comfortable being in the same room for long periods of time with DD but it happened. Then, we had a period where DD would want to grab our dog's fur, hit her, treat her like a toy. We seem to be past that stage and the dog's novelty has worn off for her. Now, they mutually ignore each other and do their own thing - almost like parallel play. Though we do trust our dog, we never leave DD in an area by herself with the dog. We leave our dog food/water in a spot that our daughter can't get to. There are also safe hiding nooks and crannies in case she wants to get away from DD. I do think it's important to have such places for her own well-being and relaxation. A toddler, even on that ignores her most of the time now, is still too much for an older dog who needs her own down time.

The rabbits didn't give one thought to the new baby. They were the same as before.
 

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I was very worried about bringing ds back into the home--But I was gone less than 24 hours. Anyway my dog(100 lb shep mix of some sorrt) was rather peeved with me, would not make eye contact with me for a couple of days--she became my moms best bud. She had never shown any human aggression and had been around many small children-but no babies--but she did have dog agression especially with females. After a few days my lovely dog eventually would come up to me IF i did not have the baby with me and by the next week she was back to herself with or without the ds with me. I continued to closely watch her but not in their 6 years together did she ever growl at ds (she only growled at two adult men her time with me). As ds became mobile she was the most patient dog I had ever seen, ds stood for the first time ever by pulling up on her. They were very close...have fun !
 
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