I have had nothing but baby on my mind. I am due in two weeks, so my mind is consumed with getting everything ready. The nursery is complete, the car seat is installed, my hospital bag is packed, so I am feeling pretty good about everything.
I, along with our Director of Training Nicole Stewart, teach a monthly seminar at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (starting in October, we will also be offering the class at Northshore Hospital in Evanston), called Bowser and the Baby. In this two hour seminar, we educate parents-to-be on how to get their dog ready for baby. I have loved teaching this seminar and have particularly enjoyed it since I am going through this process at the same time as the couples attending.
There is a lot discussed during the two hour seminar, but I am going to mention just a few things that have been particularly helpful to me as I get Bailey ready for baby.
Bring out baby items early and give your dog plenty of time to get used to them. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we got the nursery ready very early so Bailey would have time to get used to everything.
Play baby noises in the background (at a low volume), so your dog can get acclimated to the new noise. Make sure to give them lots of treats and praise.
Get your dog used to a place that they can call their own and get away from everything. I recommend using a crate or baby gate to separate dog from everything. Make sure to make this a good place and give them lots of praise and rewards for going to their special place.
Carry a baby doll around to get your dog used to you having your hands full. I practiced by holding a baby doll and teaching Bailey to go to her place when I was holding the doll.
Practice walking your dog while pushing the baby stroller. Some dogs are very nervous around strollers and other rolling items, so go slow. Make sure to give your dog lots of praise and treats don’t hurt, either.
But I at least feel confident that things will go well. I know the first few weeks, especially, will be stressful for us all, but I can feel good knowing that I put the work in with Bailey and feel confident that she will be a great “big sister”.
If you are expecting a baby, I highly recommend attending one of our seminars.