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When we found out I was pregnant, my first and biggest fear was our dog, Jack. Jack is now almost five years old and he’s the most anxiety-ridden dog I have ever met. With the two of us, he’s the best dog you could ask for. He’s well-trained and super sweet and energetic and fun to be around. But the moment you add in another person, all hell breaks loose. He has fear-based aggression and it makes it unsafe to have anyone around him which is terrifying to someone who just found out she’d be bringing a new baby into the home.
Instantly, I jumped online to look into trainers in our area and seeking advice on how to introduce him to our new baby and while there were many stories on there of people with similar pet issues, I still worried constantly throughout my entire pregnancy thinking about when that day comes. Getting rid of our first baby just wasn’t an option. So we absolutely had to find a way to make the situation as safe as possible for both the baby and for Jack. After a ton of research along with suggestions from friends and family, we chose a few different methods to try out and they worked! So here’s what we did to introduce Jack to Allie:
We invested in training
First and foremost, we invested in a great trainer. I shared more about our training experience a few months ago when we started the program and we saw amazing results from it. It was 8 lessons (1 lesson a week) and we started seeing changes in him after just the first class. Seriously. They were that amazing. Now, we’re easily able to have people over the house with zero issues. I can take him for a walk without him pulling on the leash or barking at other people or dogs. I can even stop and talk to our neighbors and he’ll just sit next to me, patiently waiting for me to continue the walk. His training was worth every penny!
Related: Week 1 of Jack’s Training
We kept his favorite food and treats on hand
Having your pet’s favorite foods, treats and toys on hand at all times is super important and helpful. It’s a great way to keep them happy throughout the transition. Our dog loves Purina® Pro Plan® so before Allie was born, I made sure to order extra so we’d have it in our home. There’s nothing less appealing than having to make a trip to the store with a newborn which is why I ordered his food off Amazon from the comfort of my own home.
I don’t know about you, but we’re huge fans of Amazon in our household. When you order online through Amazon, you can save $5 off your purchase using Purina’s Subscribe and Save promotion. You’ll save 5% when you subscribe to one Purina product and up to 15% when you subscribe to five products. And ordering online or through your mobile device is super quick and easy to do!
First, you choose your product. We ordered the Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Shredded Blend Chicken & Rice which happens to be one of Jack’s favorite flavors. Cat owners are also able to get in on this awesome deal so if you don’t worry if you prefer cats over dogs!
Next, you scroll down and choose the Subscribe and Save option. Here, you have the option to choose your quantity along with the frequency of your delivery. This is perfect for new moms. You can set it up to send you a whole new bag of dog food once or twice a month so that you never have to leave the house to buy more. Instead, it’ll arrive at your doorstep! How convenient is that?! AND you get instant savings as I mentioned above.
Once you choose your plan, you can add it to your cart and proceed to checkout (this is where you’ll enter your credit card information and mailing address which is why I did not include screenshots of this step). Once completed, you submit your order and voila! Your pet’s food is on its way to you!
Ordering online allows you to spend less time paying and more time playing. Rather than having to take a trip to the store, I was able to quickly order his food from my mobile device and spend some much needed time with him. Not only did it allow us more time to dedicate to his training, it allowed us more time to take him for walks and even to the dog park. Having that one on one time with him before adding a baby to the household was super important.
We brought home clothing items from the hospital
This was another big one. We wanted him to become familiar with her scent long before we brought her home from the hospital. So since Zack slept at home the two nights I was in the hospital, he made sure to bring a couple items home with him from the hospital for Jack to smell. One night he brought home a hat and the second night he brought home one of her blankets. Anything that had her scent on it for a good majority of the day. That way he’d recognize her scent when we brought her home.
We kept her baby blanket around the house
About a month or two before Allie was born, I picked one of her blankets to keep around the house. I tossed it over the back of the couch so that he could become familiar with it and also so his scent would be on it as well. I then brought the blanket with us to the hospital and made sure to have it around Allie a lot. This was the blanket we brought her home in as well. So when we arrived at home, she was wrapped in a blanket that 1. Jack had seen a million times and 2. had both her scent and his scent on it.
We left her nursery door open
Once we had her nursery set up and looking good, I ended up keeping the door to the nursery open for the last month or two of my pregnancy. My logic here was that it would allow him to see her items and get used to it all being there. Within a day or two, he started bringing his toys in there and even took naps there as well. So by the time she came home, he was already very comfortable in there amongst all her belongings.
We kept him active
We make it a priority to keep up with his training every single day and that includes a long walk or a trip to the dog park. This not only keeps him on point with his training and listening skills, but it also keeps him a little bit on the tired side as well. When you own a big dog like a German Shepard, it’s important to find ways for them to get their energy out. Otherwise, their anxiety and behavior issues will be a million times worse. So we keep him exercised and comfortable at all times which makes him so much calmer around the house.
We kept a safe distance
When we did finally bring her home, we made sure to keep a safe distance from Jack at first. We actually used her crib as a way for him to safely observe her without him being able to get to her. He spent some time checking her out and sniffing around but didn’t seem to mind her being there. He whined a little at first when she made a noise or two, but overall this worked super well. I highly suggest doing this when you first bring a new baby home. It made those first interactions so much less stressful.
We took extra precautions
After letting Jack do some observing for a bit, we made sure he had his shock collar on along with his muzzle for a bit as we transitioned her to her rocker in the living room. That way we could feel more comfortable letting him wander the house with her present. We stayed with her at all times for those first few days so we could observe him and how he was reacting to her and thankfully, he took to her very quickly.
Using the above methods, we’ve had a very positive experience with bringing Allie into our home. Thanks to Amazon, were able to spend more time focusing on Jack and less time out running errands and picking up everything we’d need before Allie’s arrival. I couldn’t have asked for a smoother transition and I’m so proud of Jack and how well-behaved he’s been. We still closely monitor them, of course, but so far he loves her!
Do you have an anxious pet? How did they react when you brought home a new baby?