Dog Meets Baby

Many couples bring a dog into their home as a way to sort of "practice" parenting before having an actual baby. We did that except we decided not to practice until I was five months pregnant. I wasn't nervous about being a mama as much as I was nervous about how our 90 pound adopted lab was going to handle it. After all we had showered her with all of our love and attention for four whole months.

Make that three! We were supposed to have four months, but our baby came several weeks early due to complications. Anyway, the lab we took in was over 100 pounds when we adopted her from a Lab Rescue. We walked her twice a day and by the time our baby was born we had proudly trimmed our dog down by about 15 pounds. We were dedicated to continue walking her and it worked while the weather was still warm. I'd walk both the baby in the stroller and the dog on the leash almost every afternoon. But when the weather got cold, the two-a-day walks came to a screeching halt. That's when the jealousy started creeping in.

Both my husband and I had read a lot about introducing a baby and a dog before we had our little girl. Bringing the baby into the house was the easy part. It was as my baby started to get a little older, had more awake time and required more attention that my normally laid back dog came close to rivaling Marley (if you don't know Marley, you must read Marley and Me). Okay, I'm exaggerating here. But it wasn't unusual for me to come home to have the contents of the kitchen trash can spread across the living room. We resorted to caging her while we were gone...something I hated doing. But as Cesar says in Cesar's Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding and Correcting Common Dog Problems you have to be the leader. I know my lab is seeking out attention because she's not used to this little thing that has us wrapped around her finger. But I also know that she's becoming very protective of my little girl. I also know I'm glad we got a lab a dog that's easily one of the most family friendly pets especially if you have children. My little girl grabs her ears and hair and my 85 pound lab just stands there and continues sniffing her diaper. Hey, whatever works, right?

So I ask all of you new parents, how do you deal with both: A dog seeking constant attention and a baby who requires it?

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