My main pal Ruby pup is about to experience some BIG changes – I definitely treat her like my baby and she’s about to lose her “only child” status :)
We’ve enrolled Ruby in another round of obedience classes to work on some lingering behavior issues. Our main concerns have been jumping on visitors when they walk through the door and not coming when she’s called. She’s already made awesome progress in both of these areas, and we’re feeling pretty good about introducing Ruby to the baby.
I made a conscious effort to get baby gear set up early. I wanted to establish appropriate boundaries even before the baby arrived. From day 1, Ruby has been allowed to “sniff” the baby gear, but not allowed to touch anything in any way. She learned very quickly to leave the Pack ‘n Play, bouncer and swing alone. She hardly even notices they are around. The jungle play mat on the other hand…. ugh. It’s like a puppy dreamland! She is obsessed with a stuffed monkey that hangs from one of the arches. The mat is set up in my office and she starts off across the room from the mat and army crawls inch by inch. Before long, the monkey is nabbed, and she’s darting out of the room to claim her prize in peace. It’s hard to blame her though, puppy toys and baby toys are basically the same thing, haha!
It will be interesting to see how she reacts to a new little person in her life. J and I want to maintain a consistent schedule with Ruby with a morning walk with me and an afternoon walk with J. We’re still brainstorming a good way to tracking her meals – she gets 1/2 C food in the morning and another serving in the afternoon. Even without a baby, J and I sometimes lose track of what feedings have been done for the day. We want to create some sort of visual prompt for how many scoops she’s had.
During our childbirth classes, we were given a resource from the Nebraska Humane Society for bringing home a new baby to a house with pets. It had some interesting suggestions:
- Don’t exclude the pet – invite them to be around when feeding, changing, bathing the baby
- Schedule interactive play time with your pet
- Provide a special place for the pet to retreat (like a crate)
- Smile and talk happy to the pet so she doesn’t associate negative things with the baby’s presence
If you want to see the complete list, click here for the PDF version!
What are your experiences with introducing pets to a new baby? Do you have any suggestions for maintaining consistency with pet routines? What about our feeding dilemma?