Do you have a dog and a baby, or maybe you’re pregnant and you have a dog? This podcast episode is for you!
I had professional dog trainer, Michelle, come on The Mommy Labor Nurse Podcast to talk all about dogs and babies.
I know a lot of you out there are wondering how to prepare your dog for a baby, and looking for tips to make the transition smooth when you bring baby home to your dog.
Well, mama. Michelle has got the answers! Here’s a peek at the questions we cover:
- Every expectant mama who has a dog should do a little prep! (6:00)
- What are some of the first things I should do to prep my dog before my baby comes home? (6:55)
- I know certain breeds are better with children than others, if I have a breed that is particularly difficult do you have any advice for me? (20:30)
- Are there any warning signs to watch for from my dog around baby? (27:17)
- I’m afraid of neglecting my dog once my baby arrives. Do you have any tips on this? (32:30)
- About Michelle
Every expectant mama who has a dog should do a little prep! (6:00)
Right at the beginning of the episode Michelle explains a bit about her background and her mission as an educator and dog trainer that aims to specifically help families with dogs and children.
She educates expectant parents and helps families that are currently parenting dogs and young children at the same time.
This episode focuses mostly on preparing your dog before baby arrives. Here’s a little bit of what Michelle had to say at the start of the episode,
“I don’t think that getting help for how to parent kids and dogs at the same time is normal to most people yet. And I would like to change that. Because it should be because we want to keep your dog from making a mistake.
And we want to keep your newborn safe. So, and then, of course, we want to keep the parents feeling sane because it’s always scary to add a new baby to your family, regardless of your experience level with dogs. You just never really know what’s going to happen.”
What are some of the first things I should do to prep my dog before my baby comes home? (6:55)
Here Michelle addresses the fact that many parents take a wait-and-see approach to bringing home their new baby to their dog, when in reality there’s a lot you can do to set yourself up for success.
These were some of the points she touches on:
- Get your dog comfortable with a barrier well in advance (ie: a baby gate or crate) for situations when they do need to be kept away. Introducing this before baby arrives will help a lot instead of after they’re here!
- Prepare to get mom home and in the house smooth and safely. Michelle’s advice is to have someone leash your dog before you arrive home, and then come in and greet your dog without baby first! (14:24)
- Ideally, someone can exercise your dog before you arrive home so that they are more calm in general.
Tune in to hear all the details on these tips and a few more, with a focus on that initial transition back home!
I know certain breeds are better with children than others, if I have a breed that is particularly difficult do you have any advice for me? (20:30)
Michelle explains that this is a very important, but loaded question to answer! Many of you dog mamas out there will agree when Michelle says that your dog is like your first baby. And in her words,
“So we have to be really careful to acknowledge that their fur baby does not want to be bad, or naughty, or dangerous, or whatever. And we have to work with the dog that the person has, right. This is the dog you’ve got. And this is the dog that you’re bringing your baby home to. So we need to make this work regardless.”
She goes on to talk about how to work on specific situations like dogs with bite histories and the role that a dog trainer can play in making everyone feel more confident and safe when baby arrives.
Above all, she warns that people cannot simply put on their rose colored glasses and assume the transition will go well, especially if your dog has a history of certain behaviors. Working with a trainer can make a huge difference!
She also talks about how we can’t make generalizations based on breeds and instead want to hone in specific traits and how that might translate into their interactions with your baby and young children. (23:50)
Are there any warning signs to watch for from my dog around baby? (27:17)
Michelle has a lot of great information in this part of the episode about dog body language and the way that it gives clues to their behavior.
She explains that a dog will never just bite (or even growl!) out of nowhere, but you have to be knowledgeable in their body language to pick up on the early warning signs. This can be so important once baby arrives and as you’re parenting young kids with dogs.
Definitely tune in to hear Michelle give all the details on this!
I’m afraid of neglecting my dog once my baby arrives. Do you have any tips on this? (32:30)
We round out the episode addressing this all too common situation! I know that when I brought my first baby home, I definitely felt like I wasn’t giving enough time and attention to my dog. I wanted to ask about this for my own benefit, but also to help other mamas who might find themselves in a similar situation.
Michelle had some really great input! One of my favorite takeaways here was doing positive, fun activities with your dog while you’re holding your baby (she mentions blowing bubbles at your dog!) so that your dog will have a positive association with your baby.
“It’s not only interactive, but it’s also safe because you are having the dog be included in the family activities, which then also, frankly, builds a positive association for the dog that when mom is holding the baby, and we’re playing this really fun game that the baby must not be a terrible creature.
It’s not always taking mom’s attention away from me. So, I like that activity because it builds trust. And it builds a nice positive feeling”
We round out the episode with a last-minute tip where Michelle says that when in doubt – ask for help! Especially from a positive reinforcement dog trainer. But to be sure you find one that also has experience with children!
Michelle is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA), dog behavior consultant, mom, and former classroom teacher. With over 16 years of teaching experience, Michelle loves both the human and canine members of dog families, which shows in her warm and supportive demeanor with clients.
She specializes in working with families who are expecting babies and those who already have children and dogs.
Learn more about Michelle and her services: