WTNH– If you are expecting a little one to come your way, you have a lot to prepare for. But if you happen to be a dog owner, you may not want to forget that they too will be affected by your little bundle of joy.
As many of you know, News 8 Ali Reed and her husband are getting ready to welcome their first baby into the world. But they already feel like they have a child and that would be their dog Nell.
They of course appreciate and understand it’s going to be a big transition for her. So Ali reached out to Richard and Vicki Horowitz from Bark Busters to help them out, come over to their house and tell them what we need to do to make the transition a bit smoother for all.
“A lot of times people don’t even get in touch with us or concerned about the dog until a week or two before the baby is born and then it’s panic, ‘what do I do?’ Because they don’t consider the dog and the changes in the household that are going to take place and they’re dramatic changes,” said Richard Horowitz, Bark Busters Home Dog Training.
They say you want to make all of the adjustments before baby shows up so the dog doesn’t blame the changes on the baby.
“Start carrying around a doll so the dog gets used to you first of all carrying something but then gets used to the sounds the baby makes because a lot of dogs get stressed by the tone of the baby’s cry or it’s something they’re just not used to,” said Vicki Horowitz, Bark Busters Home Dog Training.
She also says to put the lotion used on the baby on either the doll or a blanket so that Nell can also get used to the baby’s scents. Which brings us to the nursery…
They definitely want Nell to be allowed in the baby’s room and there are rules or guidelines they should think about implementing before the baby arrives.
“Absolutely. One of the rules is Nell should only be allowed in the baby’s room when you are here because while you’re here you can monitor her behavior,” said Vicki Horowitz.
They say to put up a baby gate to control when Nell can come in the room. They also say it’s time to re-think what furniture Nell is allowed up on.
“She has to start to learn that it’s ok if she sits here but if she goes to climb on you you’re going to stand up to communicate to her that ‘no’ you don’t want her on your lap when you’re holding the baby,” said Vicki Horowitz.
Up until now Nell has had full access to furniture but they say once the baby gets here, it’s safer for the baby to have Nell stay off the nursing chair, a new habit that is definitely going to take a while to form…
“And the rule might be it’s only in this room. Well you need to think about how the dog is going to interpret the baby. And the most important thing is that the dog and baby are both safe. You can see that we’re going to have a situation here. Right, so she’s going to have to learn that this chair is off limits,” said Vicki Horowitz.
It’s a good thing they have 5 weeks until baby arrives because it’s going to take a while for all of them to be re-trained! Speaking of when the baby arrives, they say her husband should bring home a hat or blanket with the baby’s scent for Nell to sniff out before they bring him home from the hospital. And then there’s the moment Nell will meet her baby brother for the first time…
“The introduction needs to be done slowly and methodically,” said Richard Horowitz.
They did a test run with a friend’s baby…
“Now that’s when you want to say ‘bad’…and then ‘good girl.’ So that’s what you want to start to communicate to her that yes you can sit by him but I don’t want you going to lick his face or jumping up on the infant seat,” said Vicki Horowitz.
While they had a friend’s baby on loan, they practiced walking with Nell and the baby stroller.
“You want to make sure Nell knows where to stand and that she doesn’t pull in front of you and that if she does you use your ‘bad’ word to correct her. Use a cotton leash because a cotton leash is safer, retractable leashes can stretch and tear and they can wrap themselves around you and the baby carriage and someone could get hurt so you want to make sure you use a cotton leash they’re a lot more reliable. You also want to praise Nell for walking well on leash as she’s doing an awesome job not pulling in front of you. Good girl Nell,” said Vicki Horowitz.
It’s not just walks Nell will have to learn to share – toys too. They say it’s a good idea to introduce dog-only toys to her now so she doesn’t confuse her toys with the baby’s. Even though Nell is about to turn 9…they say it’s never too late to form new habits.
“Our Bijon was 8 when we trained him. It’s never too late, great. Good job Nell, you passed the first test,” said Richard Horowitz.
Time now for treats and a little rest after a long day of this old dog learning new tricks.