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 Post subject: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dogs!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:16 pm 
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I just wanted to recommend this really great program my husband and I participated in last night. The one we went to was called “Dogs & Storks” and that one is specifically about having dogs already in your house and bringing home a newborn and the stressors in such a feat!
It was really well done and super informative and caters to people of all levels of dog understanding/training. My husband and I have 2 dogs, both rescues, both have “issues.” One of them is the most reactive dog on the planet (mainly with other dogs) so I have done a buttload of reading and training on dogs and dog behavior. So I KNOW dogs very well. I don’t know jack shiitake about babies. Because we already knew a lot about dog behavior and dog body language and stress signals she skipped through some things for us and sort of tailor made the program to us (boring story even more boring we were the only ones there, she didn’t want to have me wait until the group program at the end of April because my due date is 5/2).
People doing this have to go through a certification process and they are very serious about the program. Of course a lot of it is emphasis on safety safety safety but the reason it was created was because a lot of people get a dog as a practice baby then have a real baby and don’t do anything for the dog when the baby comes home and the dog ends up being a huge stressor in their life because they didn’t take the proper steps in acclimating the two and the dog ends up shipped off to a shelter.
A lot of it was about preparing the dog for its world to be turned upside down and how to recognize stress signals and helping the dog cope and creating a positive association with the baby rather than a resentful one. they talk about how to set up your house for success for both baby and dog and also they go a lot into treating yourself well and being calm cause hey you just had a baby! If the dog is treated like a dog for awhile and not the supreme ruler of the house it’s OKAY!
It was a great program. People on the PPK are probably 800% more compassionate about their pets when bringing home a baby and about the changes that are going to happen and making it work but it’s really a great program for anyone who is worried about the transition and the big change. I did it because my dogs both have issues and are very regimented and thrive on their schedule and that’s all about to go out the window!
There is also another program they do for when baby becomes MOBILE and starts to enjoy things like wacking the dog in the face and pulling on ears and invading their space. I believe they start talking about babies 3 months and up in that one. I hope to make it that one because im worried about my reactive dog.

Here is the website: http://familypaws.com/

i actually learned a ton despite the fact that ive done a lot of dog training and reading. it also made me realize we have done almost no obediance training with our hound mix (we does other training stuff). dog will sit......if you have a treat......maybe.....and he feels like it.

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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:21 pm 
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Brain Made of Raw Seitan
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I think our trainer did this or something very similar! She was just starting when we were pregnant so we were her test family. It was great and I'm so, so thankful for all the behavioral work we did before Sven was born.


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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:32 pm 
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yeah starting tonight we are going to dedicate time each night for obediance training for the hound mix and i guess refresher for the other one and then start with "place training" (ie go on your bed) and im gonna start carrying around a stuffed animal as a "baby"

the hound mix is going to be so displeased with us!!!! hahahaha

they also talked a lot about baby "stuff" and to let your dogs investigate moving things BEFORE you bring the baby home.

great advice! some of the stuff sounded like common sense AFTER I heard it but i literally needed someone to say it to me so i could be like "omg duh that makes SO much sense!"

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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:52 pm 
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We have a reactive dog with major anxiety issues who had never been around children. A few tips that worked for us (I'm sure many are redundant to what you have read)!

- Help your dog get used to your stroller, swing, bouncy chair, and all that jazz. Turn the electronic things on and toss treats closer and closer to them. Our dog was really freaked out by all these things at first! If you dogs aren't as crazy as mine, try getting them used to walking with the stroller.
- Pick a scent, like an aromatherapy spray (we got a California Baby one), and scent mark the baby stuff. Teach "leave it" using the scent. Much easier for your dog to determine what is baby stuff and therefore off limits (considering a lot of baby toys look and sound just like dog toys).
- Get your dog used to new sleeping/household arrangements now. If they aren't going to be allowed on your bed, in your bedroom, or in the nursery, get them used to it now so it's old news by the time baby arrives. Let your dog investigate baby stuff and the baby's room while supervised, but get them used to not being allowed in there at all times or overnight. We use those extra-tall pet gates in our house and they are great. There are ones with little inset doors for cats too.
- Get a baby doll and carry it around. Dogs want to investigate whatever is in your arms and will often jump up. Reinforce not jumping before the baby gets here. We didn't work too hard on this and it was dumb of us. If you have a baby carrier, wear the "baby" in the carrier so your dog gets used to that too.
- Chances are that as your pregnancy progresses you're doing doing as much fun stuff with your dogs anyways. Good. You're not going to have as much time for your dogs for a while after the birth. It's more helpful if it's not such a harsh transition from getting tons of attention and exercise to none. Start focusing on brain games and mental exhaustion instead. Lots of toys that require effort to get the food out, like Kongs, buster cubes, the Premier toys, or puzzles (like Nina Ottosson or the cheaper versions).
- If you have an anxious dog and have time or energy for only one piece of training after your baby arrives, Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol is probably the most bang for your buck. It's easy, effective, and promotes calmness. You can even load these MP3 files onto your phone or iPod and you don't have to read/hold anything while you're doing it.
- When you bring the baby home (or before), have your partner bring back clothing or a blanket that smells like the baby AND like you. Let your dogs get that scent memory so it's not totally new before your baby comes home.


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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:18 pm 
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thanks for the tips!

alot of them are things we went over last night.

im torn on the sleeping arrangement thing.

typically the bigger dog sleeps down by my husband's feet. that's no big deal.
sometimes the other dog decides he wants to be on the bed and he can end up anywhere between on my feet (good) to like on top of my stomach (bad) to curled up directly next to my husband's face (not great)

usually in the summer on the day we put the frontline tick stuff on them and maybe the next day or two we dont allow them on the bed but they jump up in the middle of the night.

we started our obediance training/refresher tonight and i think starting soon ill start wearing my baby sling around with a teddy bear in it.

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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Mandycoot, those tips are great. Is there a web resource you use that has all these in one place? I'd love to be able to give them on to people.

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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:14 pm 
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I saw Colleen Pelar speak about introducing dogs to babies, she is awesome. There are so many common sense ways to deal with this that people just do not think about.

She has a great book that I recommend to anyone with a dog that is also having a baby
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1933562668

One thing I wanted to add in particular is that some dogs have a real thing about diapers and baby wipes (clean or dirty). Introducing them to these things well in advance can help with some of the novel reactions they might have to them later on.

And finally, bone up on your basic dog body language and remind yourself of all the subtle ways that dogs use to show they are uncomfortable. Yawning, "whale eye", averting their gaze and removing themselves from the situation are all subtle but serious signals that they aren't comfortable and may react in less that desirable ways. Lots of people have extremely lenient dogs that will put up with a lot, but that doesn't mean the dogs should have to put up with some of what they go through.

Oh, and just as baby should always have a 100% dog free space, the dogs should have their own space that can be 100% kid free, somewhere they can escape from babies/children if they are feeling overwhelmed.

Note: I bring that stuff up here not because I think any of you guys need these tips, but if you are passing information on to other parents to be. People leave a lot of this stuff until it is way, way too late. :(

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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:33 pm 
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Moon, too funny about Colleen Pelar. the instructor last night did not mention her but when we took Willy to his appt at the behavioral vet this past weekend she talked a little bit about dogs and babies (our reason for being there really didnt have anything to do with the baby but we did tell her it was coming up) and she recommended that book and wrote it in our treatment suggestions that she emailed us. i was looking at it on amazon today. i think im going to dl it onto my husband's touchpad after i finish the book im reading now.

i wish more dog owners and people in general understood stress signals. poor Willy had an ear infection and HATED us putting stuff in his ear and he would stand there with his head down just lick lipping like crazy. poor buddy! :-(

so many people blame the dog for bad situations when they are trying so hard to communicate their discomfort and then end up in a shelter because the owners/parents dont understand what the dog is trying to say or dont control their kids and let their kids beat on the dog and the dog has no safe zone to go to.

i think a safe zone is going to be super important for our 2 dogs because they are older, our house is split level with a finished basement and they already like hanging out down there so i envision that will be their refuge ;-)

i just hope we can make this work!!

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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:40 pm 
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also one really great tip the behavioral vet gave us is the day you actually bring home the baby from the hospital to have mom come in first alone (ie sans bebe) and let them say hi and get a sniff since you havent been around for a few days. then bring in baby and have some REALLY YUMMY TREAT ready for them like a stuffed kong or a chewie bone so they not only get an immediate positive association with this new THING you have brought home but also in theory (and i guess this depends on the dog) they might leave you alone for a bit while you settle in with the baby.

we're definitely gonna try that one.
we're also gonna do the blanket thing. while im in the hospital my husband will have to come home to walk/feed/potty them so he can bring a blanket home.

the teacher last night said the blanket was a good idea but not the end all be all of getting dog ready and she was like "DO NOT play tug with the blanket" and i almost died laughing. i was like who would think that is a good idea?????

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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Unfortunately, I don't have a web resource for this (Moon's book recommendation looks great though!). This is all stuff from the training plan we drew up with my trainer. Maybe I will create one... I actually started a blog about our experiences prepping our dog for the new baby and intended to keep it going detailing dog/kid/family life and training, but I quickly abandoned it because I'm lazy and easily overwhelmed, haha.


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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:40 pm 
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mandycoot wrote:
Unfortunately, I don't have a web resource for this (Moon's book recommendation looks great though!). This is all stuff from the training plan we drew up with my trainer. Maybe I will create one... I actually started a blog about our experiences prepping our dog for the new baby and intended to keep it going detailing dog/kid/family life and training, but I quickly abandoned it because I'm lazy and easily overwhelmed, haha.


I wish you would! I love the way you put things, and I was reading your list going "Oh wow that makes so much sense!"

We volunteer with Pets for Life, and it would be great to have a resource to give people who are considering surrendering their dogs because they are now pregnant. You make it sound so logical and doable. I find blogs really helpful sometimes because people connect with them more personally than they might a book, if that makes sense. So if you have other blogs that you like, I'd love to hear about them.

I'd never heard of a training plan, but its a brilliant idea. Do you have suggestions re food and toddlers?

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 Post subject: Re: great program for new (baby human) parents and their dog
PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:52 pm 
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You're too kind! I'll try to put something together. 99% of the credit goes to our awesome trainer, truly.

Re: food and toddlers, now that our dog is pretty much bomb-proof with Sven, we have devolved into totally lax dog parents. The one thing I'm really glad we did is put a big gate/fence across the opening to the kitchen. It was meant for babyproofing, but has worked out great for Signe. She now regards the kitchen as a "safe place" and an extension of her crate, and she goes in there when we have meals and snacks. We let her out at the end of the meal for clean-up, but we practice impulse control but opening the gate but making her wait or perform a series of exercises before she is released. Naturally Sven also loves feeding her through the bars, but it has cut down on a huge amount of food-stealing and obnoxious behavior.


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