Sunday, June 2, 2013

How to acclimate a [neurotic] dog to the baby

Let me be clear...I'm not one of those people who "forgets" about the dog as soon as the baby comes.  Several mommy friends of mine assured me that I would.  Our two dogs have been part of the family for many years - the older one for over 15 and the younger for almost 6.  So integrating the baby into the household with as little disruption to doggie/family existence was key.  I wasn't worried about integrating the baby with our older dog b/c he's very chill...and extremely old.  But the younger one is very highly neurotic, attached to his mama, and unpredictable around new things.  So I waited for Fiona's arrival with a lot of anticipation but also ALOT of worry about how my baby boy dog would react.

We worked with our trainer to get ready before she got here.  He wrote this great article for the Huffington Post about just this very topic....which gives you most of the tips and tricks that you'd expect.  Together we also had to admit that he needed a little Prozac help just to get him closer to being ready.  For him Prozac is not a magic pill, but it does help take the edge off so that he can more easily deal with new ideas and new people.

But honestly the thing that I think has helped us THE MOST is that starting when Fiona was only about a month old, we started putting treats in her hand and had her "give the dog a treat."  We made our Boston lay down and then take the treat very gently.  And once he got his treat, she'd get to "pet the dog" very gently.  We repeated this each day.


Now he pretty much ONLY gets treats from Fiona each day and never from us, and it's become something that she loves to do now that she's old enough to notice the dog.  And the best part is that the dog has gotten SOOOOO much more comfortable being around her.  Obviously we're always paying attention and supervising their interaction, but I'm no longer filled with the same worry as before.


Now I'm thrilled that our beloved dog looks forward to the treat-giver each day.  :-)

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