It's been quite a while since I've blogged and there's been some big changes since my last post! If you aren't following me on social media, you may have missed the news that I'm pregnant! As I write this, I'm five months along and this Friday we will be finding out what we are having! Learning that I was pregnant was a huge shock not only for me but for anyone that knows me. I've been a die hard dog mom most of my life and now I'll be having a baby and being a "real" mom. This has brought up a few frequently asked questions of course and the number one question we've been asked is, "what are you doing with your dogs?"
We do have three dogs. We have Reese, a four year old Labrador Retriever, Zoey, a two year old Great Dane, and Enzo a one year old English Bulldog with spina bifida. This will obviously make things a bit of challenge with a baby but we are preparing to manage it! We've been working closely with my dog training mentor Paul Anthony of Champion Canine to get the dogs situated for a newborn. Our dogs are pretty well behaved but we've let them get away with a lot since it's just them in the house. They don't have as much structure as they should. So, there are some things we are changing with them and they're doing great with the adjustment so far! Our primary goals are to teach them to lay on their dog beds rather than the couch, go to "place" when people are coming in and out of the house, and boundaries. By boundaries I mean if we have the baby on the floor doing tummy time and what not, the dogs will know they cannot step foot on the blanket or play mat. Or, if we are holding the baby, they need to sit calmly on the floor and not be on the couch trying to squeeze in for snuggles unless they are invited. We are two of the biggest dog lovers on the face of the Earth but obviously the baby's safety is top priority. Reese and Zoey are both about 100 pounds so we don't want to risk them accidentally hurting the baby. I feel like Reese will be the best big brother in the world. He's going to love the baby so much and will probably be on watch dog duty 24/7! Zoey I'm sure will be baby security. You won't make it to baby without clearances from her! Enzo is a whole other story! I can see him just embracing nap time with the baby and hoping to share those puff treats.
All in all, we want them to know that we still love them dearly. It will be hard for them I'm sure to share the attention since they've been the center for their whole lives but, I think they will do fine! We've joked that raising this baby in a house of three dogs might make the baby think it's a dog at some point too! So, what are my tips for preparing your dog(s) for a baby?
- Find a reputable balanced dog trainer in your area to help you!
- Teach your dog the place command and practice it daily.
- Set up a blanket on your living room floor to sit on and teach your dogs not to come onto it. Bonus points if you hold a baby doll while doing it.
- Carry a baby doll around the house with baby noises playing on your phone. Get your dogs used to those cries and noises.
- Invest in toys for your dog that help with mental stimulation like a snuffle mat or puzzle games. These will be great for your dog to still get some mental stimulation when you can't devote a lot of extra time for them once you bring home your newborn.
- Have patience with them! A baby is a huge change for not only you, but them! The difference is, they don't understand what the baby is and why you aren't paying as much attention to them as you normally do.
I hope you guys enjoy our story with three dogs and a baby. It will be interesting for sure! And stay tuned for the big gender announcement! I can't wait to share this journey with all of you!