It has taken a lot of work for my doggie babies to grow alongside my human baby. As mentioned in my part 1, my dogs were not around kids very often before I had my daughter. This was a whole new experience not just for me, but for my baby AND for my doggies too.
My dogs are big. They are both females weighing in at over 80 pounds each. That could be very devastating if they were to hurt me, much less my daughter. As she began to grow, she began to take a huge interest in the dogs (and the cats for that matter!). She constantly wanted to be near them, touch them, watch them, etc. I tried my hardest not to be nervous about it. I know that babies and dogs both can sense when you are scared.
I began our growth journey with mommy-approved play time. I would sit with her, or put her on my lap to touch and “play” with the dogs. I would take her with me to feed them, and let her “help”. When mommy is there, they are not as nervous. I think they really understood she was just a baby. Feeding time was one of my biggest worries. I would carefully take her to them while they ate their dinner, and let her touch them. I did this a LOT. Once she could crawl…I had to be so careful that she didn’t just go over on her own. To my surprise…she did! Within seconds she was at their bowls, trying to take their food right out of the bowl! You can imagine, my heart stopped. Luckily, my dogs just ate around her little hands without a crooked look. I picked her up and told her she wasn’t allowed to do that without mommy…then realized she still had a handful of dog food….AND a mouthful! Ok, now I just had to laugh and pick it from her mouth.
Now that she was crawling, there was no taking my eyes off of her. She would crawl right up to them, and being as ungraceful as an infant can be, I didn’t want her to fall or startle them unexpectedly. As sweet as any dog is, I believe that if you scare or hurt them accidentally, they could react before thinking and hurt someone. It is what it is, they are dogs. I actually invested in one of those play yard gates so that I could make her a secure area to play in, dog free. It definitely helped me get things done without having to worry about losing sight of her.
My dogs took to her ungracefulness and food-stealing habits well. Because I know my dogs well, I could tell when they were nervous, and I would remove the baby from the situation before it got to a bad point. They love to give her kisses, lay close by and eat the food she so nicely threw on the floor for them. They quickly learned that under the highchair was the place to be…and she learned that it was super funny to throw her food down and watch them scramble to find it before the other one did
Part 2 was a success. The learning process has started. Stay tuned for how I have taught my toddler even more now that she actually understands what I am telling her she can and cannot do.
Until Next Time,
The Not-So-Single Mom
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