WHEN BABY MEETS PET
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla announced that they were expecting a baby girl recently, the world cooed together.
I have long been a fan of the couple, who bravely revealed their previous miscarriage heartache, shining a light on the difficult subject.
I have always admired their taste – like the time they got married in super casual clothes, or the $25 million donation to help Ebola, or their decision to continue to lead a ‘normal’ life despite amassing millions. Or, more recently finding out that they own the world’s cutest dog – a Puli!
And while I don’t share their millions, or low-key taste in clothes, I definitely share their love of cute animals.
Now they are parents-to-be, the Zuckerberg’s will have to think about how their life will change. And by that, I specifically mean, how ‘Beast’ (their dog) will react to Baby Z!
Rewind to last year, and I was in the same predicament. While I’ve never owned a dog, I have always loved them. So when my best friend Aidan got a puppy – the world’s cutest French Bulldog, ‘Dudley’, I was quite possibly the most excited person. Ever.
That memorable day
When I found out I was pregnant, I wondered how Dudley might react to the baby. I had no experience and didn’t know what to expect. I’m also a little OCD, so wasn’t sure how I’d cope with a dog licking Boo!
I turned to Google, but found very little in the way of advice for non-dog owners, who would still spend time with their friends dogs around baby.
So, I asked Dudley’s owner, who runs ‘Woofers and Walker’ dog training and walking, to put his top tips together for me.
I found them so useful, that I’ve decided to share them with you all.
So, Zuckerberg’s and new parents-to-be, if you’ve got a baby and a dog, then here’s a few tips you might find handy:
Top Five Tips for Introducing Baby to Dog, by Woofers & Walker:
- No matter how much you trust your dog, never leave him with a baby unattended.
- Pets and their owners have a strong bond. Take time to observe your dog and learn to read his behaviour around babies and children. You will soon be able to predict his temperament and act accordingly.
- If you want your dog to be comfortable around children, it’s important to ‘socialise’ him from an early age. A good puppy trainer and lots of exposure to new people (and animals) can also help.
- When you introduce your dog to a new baby, remember that he needs attention too. Failing to read these signs may result in jealous behavior around children. Do reward and recognise good behaviour.
- If you’re visiting a friend with a new baby, be sure to ask them if you can bring your dog before visiting. If they don’t mind, it’s wise to keep your dog on the reigns and at arms length. Slowly introduce him to baby from a safe distance. Keep introductions brief – you can build these up with each subsequent visit. If you need to keep your dog outside (or a separate room), keep an eye on him with a remote monitor. I have the Motorola Scout WiFi (Amazon.co.uk to £64.97), which allows me to observe his behavior and ensure I nip any ‘antisocial’ behaviour in the bud.
- If you’re bringing your baby home to a new pet, you may want to consider a ‘dog-zone’ and ‘baby-zone’ to keep both separate, establish boundaries and provide a safe haven for them both.
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