My fur-st “borns” names are Diesel and Chase. Diesel is three years old and we have had him since he was nine weeks old. Chase, we adopted three years ago at six years old. They are both Hungarian Pointers or otherwise known as Vizslas. My husband Bryan and I love the regal, goofy and intelligent breed. We have immersed ourselves in the Vizsla community, belong to a Vizsla club and have friends who share the same love for the breed. One of our biggest concerns once finding out that I was pregnant was introducing our high energy dogs to a new born.
For the last seven weeks of my pregnancy, I was on bed rest. During this time I did a lot of reading on how to introduce dogs to a newborn but couldn’t really work with them as much as I would have liked. I will however share the things that I did do and have done since Charlotte was born.
- Baby Stuff
Before baby arrives, introduce the dogs to the baby items that you bring into the house. Let them sniff and investigate the new item while it has no baby in it. Set it up in the place you want it when baby arrives. Once you have established it’s place make that area and the item off limits. I used an already well known command, “leave it”. Once baby arrived it was easy for the boys to recognize the request.
2. New Toys
After the baby shower, I had enough toys for Charlotte to fill a small toy bin. Diesel quickly claimed the toys as his. In this situation, I used a firm “no” and the command “drop it”. Once he left the toy, I gave him one of his toys and removed him from the nursery. Now he will occasionally steal a toy but quickly drops it on command.
As much as possible I try to include the dogs in whatever I am doing with the baby. When I am feeding her, Diesel will quietly curl up next to me which gives him some cuddles with my spare hand. If I am on the floor for tummy time, I make her blanket an off limit area but the dogs will lay down close and watch. Again, set boundaries but don’t shut them out as this will cause jealousy.
While still in hospital, I had my husband bring home something with the baby’s scent on it. He gave the dogs a treat while they smelt the item. This helped them to associate the baby’s smell with something positive.
When I came home from the hospital, I walked into the house first and greeted the boys. As you can imagine, they went nuts. I then handed them each a high interest treat while daddy came in with the baby. They each came over and smelt her one at a time. Chase could care less, but had also experienced children in his previous home. Diesel was excited but soon responded to he commands “leave it” and “gentle”. Gentle is a command I taught prior to the birth. I would use it when giving treats, they had to slowly and carefully take the treat from my hand in order to receive it, no gabbiness. I now use it when Diesel is over excited.
My last piece of advice is exercise. I know that in the few weeks after giving birth, this is pretty much impossible but try to work it in little by little. My boys are a lot more manageable when they have had an opportunity to blow off steam or us their brain. When I couldn’t get the boys outside, I pulled out the treats and worked on commands that work their brains but did not involve me moving too much. I have now worked up to a few family walks around the block.