Saturday, September 29, 2012

Sea Dog Saturday - Our Pug Crew

From Left to Right: Bailey, Jackson, & Ruby

This Pugly bunch is our furry family (not counting The Captain). They were our babies before babies and definitely helped prepare us for the human variety. When we found out we were expecting The First Mate, one of our concerns was ensuring the dogs would welcome a baby. We didn't want to change their world all at once, so we tried to gradually prepare them that a change was coming.

As we began to fill up the nursery we would let the dogs smell and check things out, but they were never allowed in the nursery alone. We made it clear that it was not their space and they had to be invited to come in. Letting them be a part of the process took away the mystery of his room. We also let them smell his toys, clothes, and other things. The dog toy v. baby toy issue was a big concern. We practiced this lesson by holding out a baby toy for them to smell. If they tried to bite it or play with it we would firmly say "No!" and take it away. We repeated this process until they message stuck. We also moved the dog toys to a spot separate from The First Mate's play things.

Once we purchased a car seat we would bring it inside when we arrived home. This got the dogs used to the car seat and another person coming in the house with us. We wanted to avoid having them jump on the car seat in excitement the first time we brought The First Mate home from the hospital.

Another concern was, of course, the amount of attention the pugs would be receiving. We knew this would be the hardest for both the dogs and us. We started slowly reducing the attention they received. Not drastically, but just little things. For example, if I walked by Ruby I would just talk to her rather than pet her. I knew I would often have my hands full with a newborn and wouldn't be able to give her a pat on the head every time. When Jackson would jump up to sit on my lap I would have him lye next to me, rather than on top of me. It was just subtle changes, so it didn't seem like things were completely different once the baby arrived.

Once The First Mate was here, we brought a baby blanket home for the dogs to smell a full day or so before we came home from the hospital. When we finally did come home as a new family of 3, well 6 including the dogs, I came in first, without the baby. The dogs could welcome me home and get their excitement out, as well as smell the baby on me. Then, once they calmed down a bit, The Captain and The First Mate came inside. We set the car seat on the floor and allowed the dogs to smell and check out the baby, but not get in his space too much.

All in all, the transition was pretty smooth. Now he is part of the pack too, especially when he crawls around on their level. 




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