I've got a baby on the way
MYTH: Dogs are unhygienic around babies:
This is a reason we hear a lot and it's a subject that is very difficult to give advice on as every woman and every new mother will have different priorities. However, dealt with in the right way there really is no reason why a dog should be rehomed because there is a baby on the way. The first myth we need to dispel is that dogs are unhygienic around babies, in fact the opposite is true, children raised around dogs have a much stronger immune system because they are exposed to germs they would not normally be exposed to and as long as your dog is wormed on a regular basis there is no health risk to your child whatsoever.
MYTH: It's too dangerous to have a dog around the baby:
If your dog has never shown any form of aggression towards people throughout his lifetime there is no reason to assume that your dog will be dangerous to have around your baby. There are of course some simple rules of common sense and no dog should ever be left alone with a child, but it is also very very important that you do not give your dog reason to be jealous of the baby. In many cases the baby is several months old before this reason is given for a rehoming and when you look a little deeper into situation you realise that the new mum has been so afraid that her bulldog will hurt her child she's taken to shutting him out every time the baby is around. Subsequently, this has given the dog reason to be jealous of the new arrival and a behaviour has developed that wouldn't have done if the dog had been included. Preparing your dog for a new arrival should be done before you bring the baby home. Bulldogs in particular do not like changes in the home so objects that are going to suddenly appear should appear in advance and one at a time. Items such as prams, Moses baskets, baby seats, nappy boxes etc should be introduced to the dog well ahead of time so once the baby arrives everything else has become part of the surroundings.
All new mums worry and no one is expecting you to not worry but the words "I'm pregnant so obviously I need to get rid of the dog" is echoed down my phone line almost on a daily basis. You do not have to "obviously" rehome your dog, you just need to be organised. Walking your dog out with the pram whilst still pregnant might look daft but is much easier than trying to walk the dog alongside a pram that is spooking him with a baby screaming inside it. A few simple tips that will make life easier include:
Introducing baby items ahead of time
Introducing the dog to the baby's blanket upon arriving home from hospital giving your dog the opportunity to get used to the new smell
Not shutting the dog out when the baby is in the room
Allowing your dog to sit with you whilst you feed the baby
Walking the dog out with you when you take the baby out in the pram
As the child grows there are other issues that need to be addressed. Make sure you teach your dog to give up his toys, you don't want to suddenly find yourself in an argument with the dog over a building brick, if he is used to giving things to you on command there'll never be an issue over guarding a child’s toy he shouldn't have. Using a play pen for your toddler and a crate for your dog should become second nature and remember once in a high chair your child will become an excellent source of marmite on toast so if you don't want him sat waiting under a high chair stop him from being around at meal times before you reach that point so it doesn't suddenly change, for what will appear to your dog, to be for no apparent reason. They learn very quickly that children are an almost endless supply of food!!
Remember your bulldog has the attitude of a Sherman tank and toddlers will be knocked over on a regular basis, it is rarely meant in malice and whilst it might upset you, in most cases the child will be flat on his back laughing his head off.
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