New babies and dogs, the juggling act.

Elsa on her never ending baby watch.  If I leave the room for a second, so does Elsa.  

Most of you know that I am a new Grandma; a new Grandma twice in just over a week to the most gorgeous little boys.  One of my daughters, her husband and little boy have been staying with us.  Before this Elsa had never met a baby up close and personal.  Oh, she's seen them around,  heard them a bit but never had one in her home.  Socializing with tiny babies can be tough to do if you aren't around any.  There is also the fact that most Moms are highly protective so asking if your puppy can get use to babies with theirs doesn't always go over so great.  Babies are a completely different thing for dogs; who knows what they think they are.  They smell, move, sound and look very different from adults.

Each and every dog is very different but a blanket statement of safety needs to be instilled with the addition of a baby to a dog home.  Even if you don't have a dog; you will run into dogs and the utmost of safety is required with interactions.  I am a Safety CEO; not in actuality but in my own behavior.  I have and always will be on high alert when it comes to dogs and children.  The next statement from me may come as a huge surprise to many.  Dogs are dogs.  There I said it.  :)  As much as I ADORE dogs, heck my life revolves around them; they are dogs and our babies must be protected from them.

This does not mean that I think that dogs are bad, far from it.  What I mean is that we cannot have a "they'll be fine" casual attitude around babies and dogs.  You must always be on high alert, watching every single behavior between a human baby and dog.  Too many babies are bitten by dogs every year and it is due to a lack of safety precautions instilled by parents and caregivers.  This makes me crazy.

Each dog will react very different to the presence of a tiny baby.  It is our job as adult humans to watch and know.  If we do not know a dog as in a strange dog then just keep your baby away.

So what does Elsa think?  She is at this point, obsessed.  Elsa adores humans, I mean crazy type adores.  She comes unglued when someone talks to her; and visitors?  Yes please.  So when this little man came on the scene squeaking, groaning and crying; her interest was peaked to say the least.  At first she was over excited by the smell and sound.  Her pupils dilated in her desire to acquire the baby.  She wanted us to put him down for her; basically she wanted him much like she wants a brand new toy.  So, much care was taken to allow her to be with us the entire time but at a distance.  Once her excitement lessened she was allowed to smell feet.

Yesterday my second daughter arrived at our home with her baby as well; so Elsa is in full baby immersion.  She has now smelled them both over, all but their face and head; and sits watching them for hours.  She is still very excited by their presence but their squeaks are becoming acclimated.  She's pretty exhausted with her new baby watch.  As she becomes more use to their presence she is now allowed to sit beside the person holding the baby but not on the head side.  These precautions should be instilled with all babies and dogs.

It is extremely important to implement boundaries without instilling anger.  Dogs should not be banished and need to learn how to respect boundaries.  The more a positive time a dog spends with a baby the better.  If you simply yell at your dog and offer up negative association then what are you saying about the new baby?  Adults can teach a dog to hate the presence of a new baby; so offering safe, positive interactions which give the new baby a positive association is needed.

As the babies grow and become mobile, I have no doubt that Elsa will have two very adorable playmates.  She loves humans.  She loves children. These little beings are very funny sounding, smelling and looking humans.   She is learning very quickly to life with live squeaky toys.