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How to Raise a Baby Loving Dog

Hi Moms! … and Dads!

Something I wanted to do with my Blog was feature other Bloggers, Moms, Inspiring Writers, Anyone! Why? Because we are all in the same “line of work” if you will; we are all trying to share our thoughts and help others with something simple or something we are passionate about.

I would like you to meet Rachel from Just a DIY SAHM, she has a fabulous Blog at: https://justadiymom.wordpress.com

She has put together a piece on Raising a Baby Loving Dog  which couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for me personally. We recently moved into a new house, bought a Puppy, and found out we are expecting our 4th baby. So training a Puppy was the last thing that I wanted to do … her tips have helped me adjust my thinking and make our dog Lucy a bigger part of our family.

6 Tips and Tricks for a Raising a Baby-Loving Dog

Hey there!  My name is Rachel; I’m a mom to my beautiful 13-month-old daughter, Kenna, and a 2-year-old Shetland Sheepdog, Cooper.  My husband, Jonathan, and I always knew we wanted kids.  Naturally, when we started to think about adopting a pet, we knew we had to be extremely cautious in our planning.  We did tons of research: from breeds to training methods.  We landed on buying a Shetland Sheepdog puppy for several reasons:

  1. I grew up with a “Sheltie” named Cody. He was the sweetest, most lovable dog.  He would give legitimate hugs, and always had to lay down under our feet.
  2. Shelties act like high energy dogs – this sounds scary, but it’s perfect for a family with kids.Unlike other breeds that are high-energy, Shelties are totally content running up and down stairs or in circles to release energy.  We had Cooper in an apartment for a year and a half, and we never felt like he needed immense amounts of activity to stay happy and healthy.
  3. These dogs are extremely We trained Cooper early on to recall perfectly to his name.  I 100% without a doubt trust him off-leash.  Shelties are extremely pack-oriented and tend to view their families as their herd; Cooper always keeps an eye on each one of us, and never wanders out of sight.
  4. I cannot stress enough how smart Shetland Sheepdogs are. They respond extremelywell to clicker training and can be rewarded with pretty much anything (including affection).

When trained and raised right, a dog (of any breed) can be the best companion for your child.  Kenna and Cooper certainly have a special bond that grows and changes each day.  Keep in mind: as your child grows older, you must be more diligent in supervising his play with your dog.  Regardless of how much you trust them, dogs are very influencible and can be traumatized very easily.  I am a firm believer in the fact that there are no “bad dogs;” there are only dogs who feel they need to protect themselves from humans and other animals by means of aggression.  If we don’t give a dog a reason to believe they need to protect themselves from us, we will have a good dog.

Tips and Tricks for Raising a “Good Dog” Suitable for Living with Children
  1. Get a dog before you have kids if you can. This allows you to train the dog to your standards before introducing them to a new environment (plus, training a dog well takes a lot of time and effort).
  2. If you can afford it, buy a puppy from a reputable breeder or a very young puppy from a shelter; go visit the home your dog will live in for 8-10 weeks. Puppies are far more malleable and less likely to be negatively influenced than older dogs adopted from a shelter. I’m not saying you shouldn’tadopt a dog from your local shelter… I 100% support that. Just be extremely cautious if you’re looking to adopt; be very picky about your new family member.
  3. Crate train and clicker train your puppy. While dogs are part of the family, they aren’t as important as your children will be/ are.  Raise a dog that respects you, and they will respect your children.  I love Cooper to the ends of the earth, but he knows his place is below Kenna in the hierarchy, and this eliminates innumerous   Try to strike a balance between dominance over your dog and being lenient with them. You don’t want your pet to be afraid of you, but you also don’t want them disobeying because they won’t get in trouble.  It’s a fine line, and you can only determine the line by interacting with your dog. Each dog is different and has such a unique personality.
    1. I highly recommend that your dog know the following commands to help with making parenting easier:
      1. Leave It/Drop It
        • Very useful for when your child starts moving around with food. This is also helpful if your child tries to give your dog his or her toys.
      2. Out
        • This is very helpful when you have your hands full and you need your dog to leave the room.
  • Go Lay Down, Bed, Crate (something that tells your dog to go somewhere else and stay there until you tell them to get up)
    • As perfect as we hope to be, we all get furious with our pets. If you can send your dog somewhere else while you avert a personal meltdown or kid-related crisis, that’s a major bonus, trust me.
  1. Stop, Look at Me (or some other attention averting command)
    • In the event of your dog doing something that could endanger your kids, it’s imperative that your dog stop what he is doing to focus on you and await a command instead.You could just use your dog’s name for this, too.
  2. Do the following things to your dog regularly, even after you have kids: (Regardless of how well you teach your children to interact with your dog, you should always prepare your dog for the worst)
    1. Take toys from him and insist that he doesn’t try to take it back. (Especially high value toys and treats like rawhide or antlers)
    2. Play with his feet and make sure he doesn’t even try to nibble your fingers.
    3. Bother him (moderately) when he is laying down or sleeping.
    4. Stick your hand in his bowl when he is drinking/eating.
    5. Play with your dog’s tail and rear legs. This is a spot most dogs are tense about.
    6. Stick your fingers in your dog’s mouth and make sure he spits them out rather than chews on them.
    7. If your dog has long hair, gently tug at it to make sure he doesn’t get upset.
    8. Play with his ears.
    9. Reward him elaboratelywhen he responds perfectly to baby-like annoyances. I cannot stress this enough.  Too many people focus on reprimanding bad behaviors but don’t tell the dog what they do  I try to follow a 20% reprimand, 80% reward rule.  This way, my dog is very aware of the actions I want him to do, but I can also effectively steer him away from things he shouldn’t be doing.
    10. Always offer an alternative to the behavior you don’t want from your dog. For example: Someone comes to the house and your dog jumps up and scratches them.
      1. Do: Tell your dog to lay down quietly somewhere.Reprimand him if he does not listen, praise him exuberantly if he obeys
      2. Don’t: Immediately reprimand or yell at him and expect him to choose a different behavior by himself.
    11. Walk your dog… every day. I’m not joking.  They have trouble focusing and obeying when they have built up energy.  Dogs that are not exercised will be more likely to be destructive and “aggressive” when playing, and these are not roads to success in a family with small children.  This is why I especially recommend a dog that will be loyal enough for off-leash recall.  If you don’t have time to go for a walk, a dog that you trust off-leash can go outside and play ball for a few minutes.
    12. Don’t be afraid to find another home for your dog if he isn’t suitable for your household.I think we take a weird stance on this as parents because we don’t want the dog to have to go through the trouble of finding a new home.  The bottom line is: A dog is a dog, not your child; if the dog is putting your family in harm’s way (whether from stress or physical harm), he needs a different home where he can thrive.  This is one of the main reasons we got Cooper before having kids.  We had just over a year to make sure he was the perfect fit for our family (and to mold him that way).

Above all, put your kids (or future kids) first.  Take the time necessary to train your dog well, and your kids will have a life-long companion that they can trust.  Set yourself some ground rules before you get attached to the dog because, believe me, it gets hard to make the important decisions when you start to love a pet. We had to offer our second dog up for adoption because things weren’t working out and I didn’t have the energy to train him.  He needed to be with a family that had more time for him than I could offer while raising a young infant.

I’ve linked a resource that my husband and I used while planning for and training Cooper:

YouTube Channel: Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution

Do you have pets?  How are your pets with children?  If you have kids, how are your kids with pets?  My daughter is only a year old, so we’ll start communicating pet etiquette with her soon.  Any tips for myself and others like me?  Let’s chat!

Until next time,
Rachel

 

Please visit Rachel’s Blog at https://justadiymom.wordpress.com and see more of her tips, tricks, recipes, and DIY projects!!!

3 Comments

  1. I love shetland sheepdogs, they are so pretty. I am planning on getting a dog for our family soon. My baby is almost two so I have been putting it off until now, because I didn’t want to risk anything happening with settling a new dog into a noisy house full of kids.

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