Many of our COAST+RANGE pet parents know and love Emilee, our Head of Customer Service here at COAST+RANGE! Aside from keeping tails wagging and pet-parents well taken care of, Emilee is a dog-mom of three and a new mom of a beautiful baby girl!
We did a Q+A with Emilee on on her experience, advice and tips on bringing home a new baby with dogs at home!
Q. How many and what kind of dogs do you have at home?
A. I have three big dogs! A labrador retriever named Maverick, a lab-pitbull mix named Jake, and a sweet pitbull terrier named Shelby!
Q. What were your biggest concerns about bringing home your newborn with three large breed dogs?
A. I had so much on my mind with bringing my new baby into the world while I already have three big fur-babies at home! Here were my few main concerns that I think many new parents with dogs can relate to:
- Were my dogs going to accept my baby into our family? I was worried that my dogs would feel neglected since most of my attention would be focused on the new baby. I didn’t know if they would act-out by chewing on furniture or misbehaving to get my undivided attention back.
- How will my protective pup, Shelby, react to having a new addition to the family in the house? My only female dog, Shelby, is very reactive to fast movements and unexpected noises, so I was concerned that crying, flailing baby arms, and quick movements would cause her to react negatively.
- Will my dogs know I still love them and they are still my babies too? Ultimately, I wanted my dogs to know that they are my babies and I love them! Although having a new baby in the home changes how I can show them affection, I wanted them to know there will always be room for them to get pets and cuddles from my husband and I.
Q. What kind of preparation did you do to make sure your dogs and your baby had a great first impression of each other?
A. A few things I did to prepare that turned out to be really helpful were:
- I set up my baby’s stuff early! I set up a swing and bassinet early so my dogs could get used to having them around. I would turn on the swing so they could get their curiosities out ahead of time and acclimate to the noise and motion it makes.
- We began enforcing baby-dog rules before the baby came. When one (or all) of the dogs wandered into the baby’s room, I would use verbal commands like ‘No’ and ‘Out’ so they adapted to the bedroom being off-limits. I also set up a baby gate ahead of time to keep them out of the former office!
- I made sure that the baby swing I purchased was very sturdy! Since my dogs are heavy and curious, I did my research online, in-store, and by word of mouth to make sure I purchased a baby swing with a sturdy base. I knew that I needed a baby swing that wouldn’t bump over easily if one of my dogs bumped or leaned on it.
- We played audio of a crying baby to get our dogs (and us!) used to the noise. I brought up audio clips of babies crying on my phone and left the phone in the baby swing. This helped my dogs get used to loud noises and crying come directly from the baby swing where my baby would be spending some time in.
- I put my new baby’s worn clothes around the house after she was born (but before I brought her home) so they could sniff. I had my mom bring some baby clothes, her beanie, and a baby blanket that my new baby girl wore in the hospital home so that my dogs could get used to her scent and sniff around without having to sniff her when she arrived home.
Q. What is the biggest challenge you experienced when your two-legged baby to your four-legged kiddos?
A. Curiosity and over-protectiveness for sure!
- Curiosity! My little pitbull, Shelby, was very interested and protective of my baby! When we first brought the baby home, we kept her sleeping in her bassinet in the living room during the day. Shelby would love to sit on the couch and look over the edge of the bassinet at my daughter. If she was allowed to, she would have jumped right in! I used verbal commands to communicate to Shelby that the bassinet is off-limits (just like the baby’s room) and continued to reinforce it.
- Over-protectiveness! When my baby was just a week old, we had our first surprise guest over to visit. My dogs went crazy when my guest held the baby and didn’t like that a stranger was holding their new baby sister! I would definitely recommend introducing anyone who will be helping you after having your newborn to your dogs ahead of time, so they know it’s okay for them to be in contact with their new future-playmate.
Q. How old is your baby now? What can she do?
A. My daughter is 6 months old now! She is very active and is learning to crawl!
Q. Now that she is older and moving around on her own more, what changes are you making to make your home ‘home’ for everyone?
A. Play-pens, baby gates, and lots of attention for the whole family!
- Play-pens and barriers. As my daughter grows, she will need some space to play safely without being knocked over or stepped on by one of my big dogs. I will be using a play pen and baby gates to create a safe space where my husband and I, my daughter, and my dogs can all be together during the day.
- Distribute attention to everyone! I’ve found that the key to not having my dogs feel left-out is to do our best with distributing attention to each of them as often as possible! When I am caring for the baby, my husband makes sure to snuggle with the dogs and give them lots of love and vice-versa! This really has helped them understand our new household structure.
I hope this information and these tips help if you're preparing your four-legged kiddos for your new baby! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 877-696-1397 by phone, firstname.lastname@example.org by email, or live chat with us on our website! We are here to help 7 days a week - Monday through Friday 5AM - 5PM PST and Saturday through Sunday 8AM - 12pm PST!