Preparing Dogs for the Arrival of Twins

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We have always had dogs; big dogs.  We are animal lovers through and through.  They had the run of the house; their bed was a papason chair from Pier One or they would just sleep in our bed.  Now how spoiled is that?  What not spoiled enough?  OK, we hired people to stay at the house instead of taking them to a kennel when we went out of town or we wouldn’t go.  We’ve missed weddings and the like.  We also prepared their meals; heated up their wet food and mixed with the dry.

dog

We are still a little over the top but things have calmed down since having a family. We were never the people that put their dogs in strollers but we did cater to them.

Once I got pregnant the world was telling us this is all going to change and the poor dogs would be put to the back burner.  They were correct… partly anyway.  Of course things change when you have babies!  Nothing was the same.  We didn’t however get rid of our dogs like many people I know, we prepared them and us for the vast changes coming our way.

You can do a lot with a pet in a few months. They are eager to please and will follow your lead and guidance if you show them the changes through loving but firm and consistent actions.

I made two lists.  One with ideas for your pet while you are pregnant and the other after the babies are born.

Pregnancy

  • Start early by setting boundaries with the dogs.  For us it was no more bed!  If one of the dogs jumps on the bed and a baby is lying there he could crush and possibly kill her.

  • Get the dogs accustomed to kids if they aren’t already.

  • Make sure they aren’t food or toy possessive.

  • Have the basic commands down like sit, stay, no jumping.

  • Rearrange what needs to be rearranged now.  Our dogs had beds next to our bed but we wanted the bassinet there so I could reach the girls easily in the middle of the night. We moved the dog bed to the bottom of our bed and set up the bassinet.  This way they had plenty of time to get used to the changes.

  • Snuggle with the dogs.  They can sense the growing babies in your belly.  Sugar was resting on my tummy and one of the girls kicked so hard she jumped up and started sniffing my belly.

  • If you have a strict routine with the dogs break it up a little.  Don’t feed them at the same time every day or take them for a walk at the same time.  The babies are going to be your priority and we all know how unpredictable they can be.  Help the dogs learn to be flexible.

  • We didn’t want the dogs in the nursery so we started keeping them out.

  • You may consider leaving the TV on the discovery channel on so baby programs play while you are away to get the used to some baby sounds.

  • Make sure the dogs are comfortable being touched in places other than their back like on their face, paws, tail.

  • We don’t have cats so I can’t talk much about them but I have heard of people using mesh tops over cribs/bassinets or spraying the cat to change unacceptable behavior.

preparing dogs

Post-pregnancy

  • The day the girls were born Steve brought the blankets they were wrapped up in back home and tucked them in the dog beds.  That way they slept with them and got used to that new baby smell.

  • We didn’t fuss over the dogs at all while pregnant but when the babies and I returned from the hospital we made a big fuss and hugged them and let them smell the babies under close watch of course.

  • Teach the kids early that they never touch a dog without permission.

  • Never go near a dog that’s eating, wrestling, playing with their toys or sleeping.

  • Never grab or pinch a dog.  We practiced on stuffed animals so it was clear to them what was/is expected when interacting with the pets.

  • As the kids grow teach them boundaries as well- don’t touch the water bowls.  If you teach them they will get used to them being there and you won’t have to lift them every day creating resentment with the dogs.

Dogs and pets are part of the family.  There is no reason to get rid of them just spend some extra time prepping them just as expecting parents have to prepare so do our four-legged guys.

Editor’s note: In most cases you may give your pet a chance, do preparation training, and if the need arises look into obedience school. Most find they have a positive outcome with their pets. But IF there are warning signs and habits your dog just can’t break after you have exhausted all your options, be reasonable and find a suitable, loving home for your pet for the safety of your child and the happiness of your pet.

About the writer: Kerry Bergeman is a full-time stay at home mother of 4 years old twin girls with another set, identical girls this time, due in December.  She teaches part-time at the local community college and blogs at New2Two about life with twins, dealing with infertility and a daughter with a severe intolerance to dairy. 

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