With only a month left until Little Man makes his big debut our house has been a baby centric hub of chaos. With all this going on it’s sometimes easy to forget that we do, in fact, already have one child. Sure he’s a little hairier than the rest of the family, walks on all fours, and isn’t particularly eloquent but he is without a doubt our first child.
Rooney loves children and babies of all sizes. He’s such a loving and friendly dog and he easily adapts to almost any situation you throw at him (though he could use some lessons on calming down around new people, but we’re working on that!). Because of this laissez faire attitude we’ve been a little lax about getting him prepared for the arrival of his little brother. Though to his credit, he’s aced everything we have done with him.
We took a “Getting Your Dog Ready for Baby” class. And I’ve worked with dogs for long enough to know what needs to be done…but with everything else going on it’s been a challenge to get around to it.
We’ve made sure he’s familiar with baby scents and sounds; the first time he heard a baby crying his biggest reaction was to look at us quizzically for about ten seconds then go back to sleep. The same reaction he has when one of our phones ring. We’re working on making sure he knows that the nursery is a place to be calm and quiet. A concept he readily grasps…i.e. a new place for him to nap…except when Hubby decides they should have a wrestling match in there and Roo brings out his best Grizzly Bear impression. And of course we’ve done lots of research on how to properly introduce him to Little Man when we bring him home from the hospital.
Those things are all good and well, and important when it comes to doggie/baby prep; but at 35 weeks pregnant I had been neglecting to train Roo on one of the biggest things about to change for him. The fact that we will soon be joined on our daily walks by that huge rolling object known as a stroller. We started off indoors (mostly because I needed to pluck up the courage to walk a dog with an empty stroller) and he was definitely a little wary. Not that I can blame him. I’d be confused and freaked out too. “Why is Mom pushing around this huge thing, does she expect me to walk next to it???” But then he realized he was getting treats when he was walking next to it, and we were ready to graduate to an actual walk outside.
If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times…dog is motivated by food! Once positive association kicked in and Roo realized that walking next to the stroller equals Mommy doling out yummy treats we were in business! He really is a lot smarter than we give him credit for. All in all it took about 15 minutes before he was ready to go on a full walk, and he passed with flying colors! Of course once we got back and the stroller was stored in it’s designated corner Rooney didn’t want to move away from it in hopes he could get to more treats…
A few more sessions and he’ll be a stroller walking champion!
Is there anything special you did to prepare your dog for a new baby??