Dealing with Older Dogs and New Babies.
When new children enter the household, an older or geriatric dog may have a particularly tough time. Dogs become less tolerant of roughhousing or even inadvertent harm by children as they mature and have more aches and pains.
Consider your older dog’s feelings. It’s unrealistic to expect her to connect with kids in the same manner that a puppy could. It will be even more important for the elderly girl to have a secure place to go to get away from the chaos of a family with youngsters. Always seek veterinarian assistance if your old dog is in discomfort or has an illness.
Bringing the Baby Home When you have a dog.
When the time comes to bring your new baby home, meticulous preparation will guarantee that your dog’s first encounter with the infant is a happy one. It’s probably ideal if the new mother greets the dog empty-handed while the other parent carries the infant, particularly if the welcomes are strenuous. It’s time to introduce the dog to the infant when the first greetings are finished and the dog has calmed down.
Make sure the infant is either resting or awake, but not crying, at the time of the introduction. Keep the dog on a leash, which should be controlled by a competent adult. Allow the dog to approach and smell the infant while the other parent sits with the child.
If the dog is easily excited or frightened, start slowly, with the person holding the leash constantly calling the dog back to them and praising the dog for being calm with goodies. If the dog gets too enthusiastic, gently remove her and participate in some toy play, or offer the dog food in return for her obeying basic commands like “sit.” Alternatively, take her to her pre-arranged safe haven.
In this circumstance, never reprimand the dog for being too enthusiastic or afraid. This will only make her connect the baby with negative events.
If she gets too rebellious, just remove her from the setting and attempt a gradual introduction the following day.
Never have the dog explore the infant on his own. Allow your dog to approach when she is ready, but constantly keep an eye on her and keep her under your control.
Never dangle a baby in front of a dog so that it may smell it. Allow the dog to approach the baby’s legs and smell them.
Even if the infant is many feet away and the dog sniffs the air and shows interest, the dog is growing acquainted with the baby’s fragrance in a very comfortable and nonthreatening atmosphere.
To assist establish a good connection with the newborn, give the dog treats while she is still comfortable in the company of the infant.
If the dog stops or stiffens and looks at the infant for more than a few seconds, gently and softly remove the dog and consult your veterinarian before continuing.
A few months after bringing their first child, Shawn, home, Ted and Paula sought a behavioral consultation. They were worried that their dog, Truffles, was moping about the house while Paula was caring for the baby and that when the baby was put in his crib for sleep, Truffles grew too eager and pestered Paula for attention.
Paula recognized she didn’t have as much time for Truffles as she used to, and she was concerned that the new baby might make Truffles envious.
They hoped that when they grew older together, Truffles and Shawn would become excellent friends.
Fortunately, Ted and Paula had made a point of not leaving Truffles alone with the baby, and Truffles had displayed no aggressiveness against the infant or any fear linked with the baby or any of the baby’s belongings. To assist Truffles to see the infant from a more favorable perspective, there were a few things that might be done:
When the infant is there, pay more attention to Truffles than when the baby is napping or in another room. This may be accomplished by speaking to the dog in a cheerful tone and vocally praising her for calm, proper behavior, or by throwing food to her just for approaching and acting peacefully.
Truffles learn to link nice things with the baby’s presence in this manner.
Ignore Truffles’ attention-getting habits like pawing and bouncing.
When bringing the infant out in the stroller, always walk Truffles. Avoid walking Truffles at other times if at all possible, so she identifies the pleasure of the walks with the presence of the baby.
Give Truffles a very special long-lasting reward, like a food puzzle toy, whenever she has to be separated from the baby by the baby gate, so she considers these separations as pleasurable diversions.
When sitting and rocking or nursing the infant, keep a dish of Truffles’ food at the owners’ side. Every time Truffles approaches and establishes eye contact with you, toss her a piece of kibble. Once she is comfortable doing so, ask her to execute a familiar behavior, like “sit,” and reward her with a kibble for approaching, sitting, and establishing eye contact.
Another enjoyable game to play while carrying the baby is hide-and-seek, particularly if the baby is in a sling. Request that Truffles sit and remain while you take the infant to another room. Then dial Truffles and ask, “Where is Shawn?” in a cheerful, eager tone of voice. Toss Truffles a reward when she finds you and the baby.
Paula reported two months later that Truffles had been loving the adjustments in the schedule. When she was busy with Shawn, she stated that Truffles appeared more at ease simply sitting quietly in the room and that Truffles became happy whenever the stroller was pulled out of the closet for a walk because she knew she would get to go out as well.
Truffles seemed to be more calm and comfortable with the infant. This was quite beneficial, and Paula said that she appreciated Truffles’ company even more as a result!
So, your child has decided that he or she wants a dog.
Gloria had a few inquiries concerning Daisy, the family dog. She revealed in the behavior consultation that when her kids were six and eight years old, she and her husband gave in and got Daisy as a puppy from a local animal shelter because “the boys simply wanted a pet so badly.”
Daisy grew up and ended up weighing sixty pounds instead of the forty pounds they had anticipated, and the boys lost interest in her and spent less time with her. She is now quite rebellious and spends most of her time barking at squirrels in the backyard, which has irritated the neighbors.
Daisy was a loving but rambunctious Labrador Retriever mix who only got an occasional walk or played with the kids and was too rambunctious when other kids came into the yard. Daisy was a typical dog that was not receiving enough exercise or mental stimulation for her age and temperament, according to the behavior expert, who gathered a comprehensive history and saw Daisy with Gloria’s two boys.
Gloria didn’t have time to take her training courses or teach her proper housekeeping, so she was no longer allowed inside and Gloria needed to find herself a new home.
Regrettably, this is a typical occurrence. Almost every day, veterinarians are approached to assist in the placement of pets that individuals no longer wish to keep.
Daisy would have been a wonderful pet for another home. Gloria, like many other busy parents, didn’t have time for a dog, and her two young sons, ages six and eight, were much too young to be expected to be the primary carers of a dog.
Gloria and her husband might have had a better ending if they had just said no and waited till their sons were older before getting a pet.
Every household will have at least one youngster who will ask for a pet at some time. Even if the family already has a pet, the youngster has decided that they want one of their own.
Or maybe the family doesn’t have any pets, and the youngster notices that other kids do, but he or she doesn’t.
What should you do if your youngster begs you for a pet?
Before getting a pet of any sort, there are several factors of a family’s lifestyle to consider. (For additional information on selecting a dog, see Chapter 2.) Here are some self-evaluation questions to consider:
- Is it true that I desire a pet?
- Do I have the time right now to add another family member?
- Is it feasible for me to care for a pet?
- Am I willing to do all it takes to ensure that the pet is properly cared for, even if it means I have to do it myself?
Many youngsters will want a pet before they are mature enough and responsible enough to be the main carer for the animal. Because children age at various speeds, you must choose how much caring you can anticipate from your kid and how much you are willing to do yourself.
In general, if the youngster is twelve years old or older, he or she may be capable of caring for the pet on a daily basis.
However, a kid younger than that will very certainly need certain specific responsibilities, such as delivering food or water under supervision, and you will almost certainly be responsible for additional responsibilities, such as walking the dog, teaching her, and bringing her to the veterinarian.
You’ll probably need to watch interactions between the pet and youngsters under the age of eight or ten, particularly when other kids come around and your kids can’t be trusted to care for the pet.
You may wish to buy your kid a dog as a pet since dogs can teach responsibility. However, this is only achievable if you have reasonable expectations about each child’s skills and can keep an eye on the scenario to ensure the pet’s safety and the safety of everyone involved. You must also be willing to take up the slack if required.
No matter how old your kid is, you are ultimately responsible for your pet, your child, and their connection. So if you don’t \swant a pet, be prepared to simply say no.
The good news is that many older children find a dog to be the ideal companion—someone with whom they can play fetch, soccer, or just hang out while playing outside. Other kids like teaching their dog skills and training her.
When the day goes horribly, some people find the sheer presence of the dog to be relaxing and a partner to pour their heart out to. Dogs are excellent nonjudgmental best buddies and may significantly improve a child’s life. Having a dog may be a fantastic experience when your kid is ready to take on the duty of caring for a dog, or you can assume it for them.