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My wife and I are expecting our first child in early January. We have two dogs in our house, a four year old lab (male), and a five year old golden retriever (female). Both are real affectionate and calm. Neither have EVER showed any aggression towards any humans. As for other dogs, our lab has never even been in a dog fight, however, our golden retriever really doesn't care too much for little "yip" dogs. Meaning, occasionally she goes after them after being annoyed (2-3 times per year).

With that being said, what is the best way to introduce dogs to a new born baby? Are there certain steps I should take ensure that the new addition to our house goes smoothly with our dogs? In all honesty I am not that worried about the introduction but want to make sure I am taking the necessary steps.

Thanks in advance for the tips.
 

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I've raised 5 kids in a house with anywhere from 6 -12 dogs . I love dogs and have been training them for myself and other since the late 60's.

I never ever allowed my kids as babies or toddlers around my dogs unattended. Dogs are pack driven prey animals that react to body language and pack rank pecking order.

Little kids have no idea what body language image they are presenting to a dog and the results can be real bad. Its not worth the risk. As much as we all love our dogs for the dogs and the kids sake remember they are dogs not people.

Most of my dogs have never ever shown any aggression but a couple have toward kids just a growl but because I was always present they never got any farther than a growl before I corrected the situation.

And all my dogs are well adjusted friendly dogs, but as I said above they are dogs.

ANd if you allow your dogs on beds stop that now and keep them on the floor dogs are very possessive and will/may/could react badly to encroachment on beds.

Also when your kids are toddlers a dog is the size a quarter horse is to us and will knock a kid aside unintentionally, running past.

Thats my take on the topic, good luck with the new baby :beer:
 

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Gooseguy,

Bobm makes good points. I highly doubt you'll have issues with those two breeds, but better to be safe than sorry. Here are some things I did/thought of with my two labs in preparing for our first baby.

*Disclaimer, although I never intentionally put my kids in position to do any of this, it still may happen so I want my dogs tolerant:

1. Get a life-sized baby doll...carry it around, hold it, etc. This gives the dog a "visual" of the upcoming change/addition.

2. Begin to think like a kid...what could they do, that you obviously wouldn't? For example, from the get go, I put my hand in their food, pulled their ears, and other annoying things. This WILL happen at some point. My kids are now older and they have no issues being around them. In fact, they are quite rough in playing and they pups love it...more attention!

3. When the baby is born, bring home a garment or blanket before you Mom and baby return. This new smell will too introduce the upcoming addition.

4. If you're dogs are used to being the center of attention, immediately begin weaning them off. If you don't, there can be some attention issues once baby is there to consume your time.

5. Once baby comes, ensure you still provide the dogs the attention they need and deserve. I know their "only" dogs, but incorporate them into the overall family so they still receive the love and attention.

Good luck!

Mike
 

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Mike I bet you look macho with that dolly :lol: . Just kidding. :beer:

One thing I feel I need to point out, you putting your hand in the dogs food pulling ears ect is no guarantee the dog will tolerate it from a child.

Dogs percieve everything based on pack rank, they percieve you as boss. Their perception of a childs pack rank will likely be different. I don't think that will be a reliable help.
 

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Bobm said:
Mike I bet you look macho with that dolly :lol: . Just kidding. :beer:

One thing I feel I need to point out, you putting your hand in the dogs food pulling ears ect is no guarantee the dog will tolerate it from a child.

Dogs percieve everything based on pack rank, they percieve you as boss. Their perception of a childs pack rank will likely be different. I don't think that will be a reliable help.
Bobm, you are correct...definitely no guarantees, but in my case it did work...or at least my dogs are very tolerant of my kids. My oldest, Hailey (3) feeds them and they don't begin eating until she tells them to. Very cute...
 

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Haven't read through the posts yet, but anytime Bob's giving suggestions, take them to heart.

That said, we brought a newborn in to a house with 2 very large lab/chessies last year. The dog that I pegged would be the most tolerable has been okay and the other dog that bounces off the walls has been the angel - total role reversal.

I hate to admit it, but I watched an episode of the dog whisperer that addressed this exact situation. It made total sense and we've followed nearly everything that he suggested and all has worked out GREAT!.

Keep the dogs out of the baby's room - not only does this provide a barrier for the child and dog, but also, the hair the hair the hair!! All things that smelled of baby are off limits.

But, the bottom line is that you have to be the parent at ALL times. NEVER take a chance in any situation no matter how harmless it may seem, you are still dealing with animal instinct and infant actions.

On another note - we have definitely had our run-ins with "illnesses" over the past year and a half. Please be very mindful of what your child is allowed to touch (or put in their mouth as they go hand in hand) that may come in contact with the dogs. I don't care how much people say that dog's mouths are cleaner than humans - not really the case. Just the child petting the fur of an animal that has just gotten done rolling in their own feces and then putting that hand in their mouth can lead to some really bad bouts of nasty diapers. I kid you not!

Granted, the child and pooches are going to share pacifiers and cookies from time to time, but try to keep it at a minimum cause the dog's lifestyle can really play heck on your child's immune system.
 

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Oh oh oh....one more thing that I found to be one of the best pieces of advice that I ever received.....

Be careful the vibes you are giving off to your dogs in regard to the child. If you are overly protective, worrisome, almost in attack mode when your dogs and child are close this can lead to unintended consequences. This may leave your dogs feeling that this new thing is something to be scared of or not trusted, leaving your dog to the assumption that he must always watch his back. Be as calm and encouraging as possible, while remaining, as someone else put it, the ALPHA male. Calm and strong is much better than quick and concerned.

It can be likened to coddling your dog when it is fearful of a loud noise - you may think you are comforting when really you are telling your dog it's okay to be afraid of whatever he is afraid of.
 
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