One of the things we were most worried about when bringing Teddy home was his the dogs would react. We have a 4 year old Shih Tzu called Ralph and a 2 year old Cocker Spaniel X Miniature Schnauzer called Opie. Neither had spent a lot of time around children and both have very different personalities.
Neither had reacted much to me being pregnant so I think it was a bit of a surprise when we came back from the hospital with a baby one day. We had tried to get them used to it by having the pram and bouncer in the lounge and setting up the car seat. Ralph made his feeling very clear by sitting in the car seat and getting in the pram!
We had tried playing baby crying videos to get them used to it but they didn’t react at all. I had thought Ralph would stay out of the way as naturally he is a bit of a grumpy loner and Opie would be far more interested as he is incredibly sociable and loving. However when we first bought Teddy home it was entirely the other way around!
Ralph cried at him and followed whoever was holding him absolutely everywhere. Whenever he was sleeping in the pram Ralph would be there watching over him, obviously we were careful to never leave him alone with the dogs incase they jumped in. It was absolutely adorable if not a little annoying! Opie was interested to start with and then stayed out of the way but we did have to be more strict with the dogs about jumping up on the sofa and setting more boundaries so they didn’t jump up on Ted.
4 months on its started to flip around, Ralph is now pretty disinterested, giving Ted the odd sniff but otherwise keeping his distance now that Ted can grab things and reaches out (unless he is asleep!). Opie is now much more interested and will have a go at licking Teddy any chance he gets so we still can’t leave Ted in his bouncer for a second incase Opie licks him. He is much more aware that Teddy isn’t as hardy as other humans or dogs so won’t jump or try to walk over him but he is desperate to give him some love and be friends which is so nice to see.
My top tips for introducing your dogs to your new baby are:
- Set up baby furniture early and make it clear that they are not for the dog to go near
- If you intend on keeping your dog out of the nursery start this early too by making it clear that room is now out of bounds, this will make it less likely they will feel left out when the baby arrives.
- Introduce your baby to them slowly so they get used baby’s smell and understand they are delicate.