I started birthing classes last week, and while the first class was more of a ‘lets see where everyone is so we can all get on the same page’ kind of class, there was ONE thing that really upset me.
Yup, it was about my pets. I hate how everyone likes to jump to conclusions based on their experiences (which I can understand since that’s all most people have to go by, but assuming all experiences are the same is what bothers me) but I have to admit it really ruffled my feathers and kind of put me on the defensive.
First thing that was brought up, after I mentioned the hardest part of my pregnancy was keeping up with the activity level that my dogs are used to, was:
‘Are they outside dogs?’
No, my dogs are NOT outside dogs. I don’t trust others having ‘easy access’ to my dogs.
No, I do not believe dogs belong outside only. I believe our dogs are family members too, if they want out they can go out, if they want in they can come in, and if they want on the couch they cuddle on the couch, the same goes for our cats.
No, my dogs CANNOT be outside dogs, ever! They are all long furred double coated breeds and breed mixes, Middle TN Summers are to hot and humid for them to stay outside for prolonged periods of time, and no shaving doesn’t help them (I’ve covered that in this post).
‘It doesn’t matter that they are friendly, they will still snap!’
I agree, adult friendly and child friendly are totally different things.
That is why I’ve got them used to baby noises and smells, toddlers grabby hands and smells, children’s curiosity of dog toys, food, and treats. I’ve also worked with the pups on not stealing food from babies/toddlers.
In fact I’m more worried about kids feeding my dogs than my dogs stealing the child’s food.
This is Katerina feeding my dogs Cheezits…
Kat’s mom was the one who put her at the table with her bowl to keep the bowl up out of reach of the pups (they shouldn’t steal it but no sense tempting them), and was watching the whole time, she found the whole thing cute and hilarious so she called me to see (I was still in the kitchen).
I couldn’t help but chuckle as well, I did tell Kat not to feed the dogs, but of course since she’s nearly two, did she listen, nope!
It’s not the first time she’s fed the dogs either, she discovered the joy of feeding the pups a while ago while she was eating a salad. She decided she wanted to share the last of her tomatoes and cucumbers with the dogs so she would give them pieces via fork, yes the dogs patiently took turns then too!
The first time Kat ever fed the dogs via fingers I was right there watching my pups. I was supper proud to when they did just as they were taught and took the treats gently, without my having to remind them!
‘They’ll get jealous that you aren’t devoting your time to them!’
Seriously? I have FOUR dogs, they get jealous of each other!
Jealousy is not a new thing for them, and while they do get jealous of each other (usually only when pets and tummy rubs are being doled out), they also occupy each other.
They chase each other around the yard, they wrestle around in the yard and inside the house (that has gradually become less often, they are starting to learn that kind of play is outside only play), they have also learned that people have the right of way, so if you are walking into a room and they are blocking the path, they have to move to make way.
As I said last week, as long as Kevin and I keep the pups involved, and don’t exclude them from welcoming and interacting (safely and while supervised) with their new family member, I don’t think we’ll have any issues.
So, I really didn’t appreciate them (the teacher, as well as the other moms and dads to be), insinuating that I need to either make the dogs into outside only dogs, or get rid of them instead of pushing proper training techniques or offering help in finding a qualified trainer that specializes in new baby training.
Simply because their uncle’s super friendly dog snapped at them when they were younger, or so-and-so’s dog was horrendous with their kids due to lack of boundaries (I’m being nice, it was obvious from the story that the owners weren’t big on training) doesn’t mean our dogs will react that way.
Making our pups into outside dogs when they have always been allowed inside, would, in my opinion make any jealousy or adjustment issues worse, since they would then be displaced as ‘not pack/family’.
I have been working with our pups for THREE YEARS prior to getting pregnant, since I knew we would eventually expand our family.
If you are planning on having a baby, or have recently found out you are pregnant, please don’t feel that you HAVE to give up your pets (especially if others are pushing that decision on to you), your pets are family too!
If you are concerned about behavior issues, please seek out the help of a professional trainer or behavioral specialist, If you are having trouble finding one, send me an email at email@example.com Subject Line: Pets and Toddlers and I would be more than happy to help in any way I can.