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Monday, November 29, 2010

admitting fear

I have one fear about having a baby in the house: Danica.

Danica is scared of kids. Actually, let me rephrase that. She's scared of kids when they make sudden movements and emit loud noises. Other than that, she's fine. She loved Joey's cousin's baby so much, that she - in her eager curiosity to give him kisses - accidentally got too close and licked him in the mouth. But when they run around and scream? Forget it. She barks. Her tail goes between her legs. And she tries to "herd" them when they run by nipping at their ankles (which is ridiculous since she's a hound dog).

My fear of how Danica will react with a baby in the home is part of the reason we decided to enroll her in a second round of obedience classes. She's gotten better in just about every area. She even approaches kids in the neighborhood now, and she wants them to pet her. But the kids in our neighborhood are relatively older - elementary school age. She has no constant interaction with younger children.

I've done a lot of reading about what to do and what not to do, but I thought I would take this fear to my blog. What better way to get advice than to ask those of you who've had to acclimate a dog or dogs to babies before. I want to stress that we in no way think she'll be aggressive toward a baby, nor would we ever let her be alone with the baby. I know that we need to set boundaries. What I'm curious about is how you set boundaries with your pet and baby. Any input is welcome!

(For the record, my husband does not share this fear. He thinks I'm a paranoid freak, which is partially true. So, if you'd like to tell me that I'm a paranoid freak, please feel free.)

26 comments:

Dawn said...

I was nervous since one of our dogs is about 40 pounds, but often thinks he is about 5 pounds and jumps all over the place. Our dogs usually seem more interested in what DH and I are doing rather than what the babies are up to, but we're not really at much of an interactive age yet.

Leslie said...

Our dog is 100 pounds but pretty much ignores our little guy. My dh just makes sure he plays with our dog and we have tried to keep his routine as much as possible.

Could you get clothing from toddlers for your dog to smell/get used to if he is not around them often? Also, could you set up one on one training with a professional instead of a class?

Hope your fear is minimized with time.

Rebecca said...

No recommendations, but hopefully others have good ones. I could see being stressed about it but hopefully she'll be fine once she gets used to a baby.

Kandid Kelli said...

I DO NOT THINK YOU ARE A FREAK!

Danica did well the few minutes with Emmy.

I think you need to take her to Lake Eola. There are tons of kids and she will be outside and she will be getting exercise but there will be kids. She will be able to see they aren't bad or scary?

Sometimes they will want to pet her too?

Just a thought.

xo
-K

jennifer @ What Would Jen Do said...

I think that since she'll be around to see the baby grow up she'll adapt to the the things it does.

Jen said...

I totally agree with Jen above; my dogs haven't been great around kids'sudden movements/noises either, so we were quite worried. We were also worried b/c they are big babies and used to being the center of attention! But since they have been around Liam from Day 1 when he wasn't really doing anything except crying, they have gotten very used to him. Now they get really excited when Liam comes home, and we sit his car seat on the floor. They both come up and give him a big wet kiss. (and yes, they lick his mouth A LOT, but what can you do?!!) They seem to be adapting well to his increasing activity levels, as now Liam will "pet" them (grab their fur), and they just let him.
It will be interesting when he becomes more mobile, but for now I think they are doing a great job adapting.
We still try to walk them every day so they know they haven't been replaced! :)

Kim said...

Katie, I have heard meantion of others taking clasess that tell you how to incorporate the dogs/babies together. It might be something offered by your local hospital, not sure?! Just thought I would mention it, because I know they are available and I am sure there is much that can be learned from them. xoxoxoxx

The Steffens said...

You're not a paranoid freak at all. But I don't have dogs so I have no advice. Well, I do, don't ever leave them alone together. I've seen perfectly nice dogs bite at babies in the house because they were tugging on them or whatever. It was really scary. No doggy plus baby alone time!

Kakunaa said...

To be honest, I am nervous as well. Our dog LOVES children of all ages. But he is 50 lbs and he gets a little, ummm, enthusiastic in his love at times. I won't have more input until the baby arrives, but I am sure I will be posting about it then!

manymanymoons said...

I'll bet that your dog will be able to recognize the difference between "her baby" and someone else’s baby. I find that most pets are super protective of their own family and typically can tolerate much more than when they are around other people. It's definitely good to think about these things early though. Sounds like you're doing what you can to prepare her. Keep up the good work!

Ana said...

I am nervous about my dogs too. I have one that weighs 150lbs and is still growing, so is an english mastiff. I also have a beagle that loves to get in your face. My DH thinks it will all be fine.

Secret Sloper said...

You're a paranoid freak!

No, it's totally understandable, and I've worried about it, too. But it's better than thinking, "Eh, if the dog doesn't like the baby, we'll just get rid of it (the dog, obviously)," which is how some people approach it. Disgusting.

From friends with dogs and babies, it seems that most dogs will be used to and protective of the baby by the time it reaches the scooting all around/making loud noises stage. I'm sure it will be fine.

AplusB said...

I don't have any advice on dogs...but I share your concern. My cats are very attached to us and one in particular is quite...um...determined to put it nicely.

I've always heard from others, though, that the pet may freak at first but will definitely get used to the new baby.

Kelly said...

I'm glad that you're thinking ahead and that definitely can't hurt. Anyone that you bring into your home will take some adjustment for her, but it will be someone who is so small and Danica will have time to adjust to his/her presence (before Danica's getting chased around by a toddler). :)

Trisha said...

I haven't been there yet but I think they'll get used to them being around and get used to those "different" noises. Again, I just want you to know how excited I am for you!

someday-soon said...

I totally understand your fears. My Chihuahua's really dislike children. Their fast movements and high voices send my dogs running. So I wasn't sure what they would do when we brought Kylie home...it turns out they love her and are even protective of her. I think once dogs understand that it's a new member of the pack things are different than some random kid they might come across.

ifcrossroads.com said...

Well, you can probably assume that I shared the same fears with our Dachshund. Skippy is so damn hyperactive (compared to our deceased doxie, Hershey) and I was terrified that he would bowl over little Kaitlin.
So we had him stay away for the first week at my moms. We sent down her worn blankets and clothes to be put in his kennel so he could get used to her scent.And when he returned, Kaitlin was already here and he was used to her smell. He doesn't listen to us for shit (seriously he's the dumbest dog ever) but for some reason he stays away from Kaitlin. But when my niece Liza was here he was all over her!!! I don't know what it is about the itty bity baby, but he is very careful around her. I wish he'd be that way with big people too!!! I will admit that over the weekend, when I wasn't watching, he got in some serious mouth kisses and I didn't hear it until K started coughing from the kisses.
But what can you do? Doxies like to kiss!

Randi said...

No idea about dogs, but I have the same fear about my cats. It was firmly drilled into me all my life that cats hate babies and once a cat scratched my face when I was a baby. But now I have two excellent, loving, adorable cats! I think obedience school is good. Also people say to set stuff up and make sure you "introduce" the dog and the baby. Your pup will probably be more adjusted by the time the baby is loud and moving around on its own. Try not to stress, take it as it comes.

AL said...

You are not crazy, I have so many of the same fears with Bentley and a baby. It's been great having my niece and nephew around him quite a bit - he just senses that he can't play with them like he does us, he's really pretty good. But, of course with his size I'm going to have to be very careful that he doesn't knock them over. And yes, he loooves giving kisses to babies, it's cute.

I think the dogs will just get used to the baby and with a toddler that's grown up with them, I bet Danica will be great.

suchagoodegg said...

Not. A. Freak! I would be thinking about the same thing. We want a dog someday, but our apartment bldg (a coop) doesn't allow pets so it's not a concern for now. I'm taking notes on what the other commenters have to say tho. And I must add, how crazy-awesome is it that you get to actively consider and manage and solve these fears...you guys are going to be the awesome-est parents, Katie. xoxo

The Bakers said...

We have 4 dogs- 3 little ones and one 100 pound hound dog. I was SO nervous when we brought home our baby, but it turns out I really didn't need to be. They are WAY more interested in me and getting attention than they are of my son. He's only 2 months now, so when he starts moving, we shall see, but for now, things are great. One thing I will caution- things your dog does now that you are annoyed with but put up with anyway will be maginified 1000 times when you bring home a baby. Just try to remember that's the way she always was and you can't really be angry with her.

Melissa said...

Like others said, never leave them alone together. My husband was worried about our dog but I thought he was crazy. We have a yellow lab and she is the best dog...loves everyone. We never had a problem until our dog found food in the highchair and our daughter who was
1 1/2 at the time walked by and put her hands on her, our dog turned at went at her..snarls, teeth - it was not just a nip. I screamed because she knocked her to the ground and I thought she had bit her face. It was quite scary, I was right there but it happened so fast. Now I now our dog can be possessive around other dogs and the only thing I can think of is she viewed herself as alpha over our daughter. I couldnt' take a risk of that happening again and not being so lucky. Our dog is now staying with my Mom and Dad so we still get to see her all the time but it was tough! Hopefully all goes smoothly for you!

liberalgranolagirl said...

We have 4 big dogs and I have worried about this too. After lots of research, I don't subscribe to the whole Alpha thing with dogs. I have used reward training with all of our dogs and I take them around kids and loud places. I totally agree with Kelli-start taking her to places with loud screaming children. On top of that, I would reward her with petting/treats when she doesn't react to those loud noises.

I grew up with dogs and cats and NEVER had an issue with them being aggressive with me. Also, my parents taught me from birth (seriously) to NOT mess with our dog while she was eating, drinking or playing with toys. Dogs have boundaries that need to be respected-I mean, how would you like some grimey little tot grabbing at your tail/ears/skin/toys? IMO, many times that the kid/dog thing goes bad is due to parents not properly training the children.

Dead Cow Girl said...

A well trained dog will always let a new member in the pack. Just make sure your pup gets enough attention and exercise. I was really worried about our dog when Monkey arrived, but he adapted. I did hire a dog walked for the first couple months though so I could make sure he got enough exercise and affection while I was distracted.

S.I.F. said...

I have no idea what kind of advice to offer you here friend, because I've never really been a pet person.

But can I just say how much it totally warms my heart to have you even contemplating these things?!? Not too long ago, you were so defeated. To hear you trying to figure out how to best make your dog and your baby to be coexist now? It makes me smile in the biggest way possible!

Elizabeth said...

When I have a little more time I'm going to go through all your comments and see what is said because I have this same fear. I fear it most if we decide to go the foster/adoption route wherein a larger child is now in our home. It makes me sad because our dogs don't do well with children (in the same way as Danica), and we avoid putting them in situations where they might get overstimulated (like trips to Petsmart which we would otherwise love to do). They haven't bitten anyone before, but we have also sheltered them from being in a state to do so. I'm sure they would be fine with an infant, but sudden movements and sounds (typical of small children) really affect both Bayla & Dakota. Hope there are lots of great suggestions and if I find out anything for us I'll certainly pass it along to you too!