When Derrick and I first found out that we would be bringing home a couple of new family members, one of our immediate concerns was how the babies and pets would get along. Our cats have a tendency to tiptoe around anything new, so we weren’t too worried about them. Our dog, Oly, on the other hand, is young, exciteable, and curious. She is also a little bit “fumbly” and leans toward the clueless side. Lucky for us though, she is a fast learner. So, we wanted to make a point out to do our best to prepare her for our babies and ensure that they would all be pals.
The twins are now almost 9 months old, and get along wonderfully with Oly. When she comes near them, they giggle and reach their little chunky arms out to try and pet her. As a huge fan of people, she loves the attention. She doesn’t get aggressive and we have no worries about letting her roam about the house. Because of the positive relationship between Oly and the twins, I thought I would share a few tips on what we believe has helped grow their positive relationship so far.
Before I get too far into this post, I would like to point out that I am not a baby expert, nor a dog expert. I merely have a dog and have babies, and these are tips that have helped our family. With that said, here we go!
1. Introduce your dog to your little one during pregnancy. Some people believe dogs can sense when mom is pregnant. I don’t know if this is true, but Oly definitely knew something was up with my belly. She would stare, sniff, and lay her head on it. Early on, we also made sure she knew she couldn’t be rough with me, even playfully, around the bump.
2. Allow your dog into the baby’s space. As we prepared the babies’ room in the months before they arrived, Oly got to hang out in there too. She was able to get used to the changes in her surroundings, so that she wouldn’t feel it was a forbidden space, or get overly excited about the new furniture and feel the need to check it all while babies were in any of it.
3. If possible, let your dog get aqcuainted with baby, before bringing he or she home. Because our babies were in the NICU for awhile, we were able to introduce her to their scent prior to meeting them. We brought their little hats and blankets home for her to sniff and familiarize herself with on multiple occasions.
4. Once your baby is home, don’t be afraid to allow your dog to be close by! I know many people are scared of this, but we let Oly hang out with the twins from day one. Whether they were napping in our arms or just laying around, Oly would be next to us. She was able to sniff them and get up close and personal, with supervision, until we knew she understood that they were a bit fragile. She learned to lay near them, not directly on top of them (although, at first she tried).
5. Be consistent, but let your boundaries grow with the babies. For example, if there are places your dog is allowed or not allowed, make sure there is continuity to avoid confusion. Oly was allowed wherever we were with the babies, but her old rules still applied, like staying in a designated area when her feet were wet or dirty. Now that the babies are bigger and can eat solid snacks, she is not allowed next to them (due to being a snack thief). After sticking to this rule, she has learned it and begun to grow accustomed to it.
I hope those tips can help some folks out. Let’s not forget, we also need to teach our kids to be kind to our furry family members as well! The twins are still small, but grabby, so they’re being told every day to be “gentle” when petting Oly. Hopefully the relationship between them will continue in a positive direction!
If you have any dog and baby stories, helpful tips, or anything you’d like to say at all, feel free to comment! Be sure to follow us on Instagram @twoboysonepup for more on Hudson, Hunter, and Oly girl!