Honey’s been invited to her first baby shower.
Her job will be to look cute and to not jump up on anyone. My job will be to make a dish to pass and pick out a gift.
And because I’m a bit of a contrarian (those of you who read me regularly are now saying sarcastically, “Noooooooo. You?”), I’ve decided not to buy a gift from the shower girl’s registry but instead get a basket of goodies to help her dogs settle in with the new baby.
As someone who chose not to have children, I tend to overestimate its difficulties. In truth, if childbirth and rearing were as difficult as I assume them to be, the streets would be littered with the bodies of parents who have dropped dead from stress and exhaustion. But people manage to raise children and work and play so it must not be quite as hard as I think it is.
Even so, why add puppy problems to sleep deprivation and creating a new routine around the baby?
Prepare Your Dog for the New Baby
I found some good resources last year in a post by Dr. Marty Becker on Pet Connection. One that was particularly interesting is the program Dogs & Storks, developed by Jennifer Shyrock, a dog behaviorist consultant with 4 children, 4 dogs, and 5 cats.
In her work with local shelters, Ms. Shyrock dealt with families fearful about a dog’s reaction to a new baby looking to rehome him (the dog, not the baby). She developed a program that includes licensing dog professionals to offer presentations throughout the country on preparing your dog for a good transition. Her website also has some excellent articles to download and baby sound CDs to play for your dog before the baby is born.
Collecting Gift Ideas
I’ll be assembling my gift this weekend. Beside including a baby sound CD and some reading material, I thought I’d buy a few Kong toys that can be stuffed and frozen with goodies so the dogs associate the baby with good things and have something to occupy them when necessary.
I’ll have to buy something that is actually for the baby–maybe a stuffed dog toy to stay with the theme?
Are there any parents with dogs reading this? What did you find worked for introducing your baby and dog? Was the transition smooth? Did you rely on baby sound CDs or introducing new smells to your dogs?
I know this is a long shot. The reason many of us have time to blog about our dogs is because we’re not raising children. But any help is gratefully received.
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