A few years ago, I was on the fence on whether or not I wanted to become a mom. I had an amazing husband and step son, we were doing some travelling and enjoying newlywed life. But, something did always feel missing, so we did what felt natural six months after marriage… we got a puppy.
I found a chocolate lab litter online and made the decision to go the next day. Pearson was the “calmest” out of the bunch and in my opinion the cutest! So we took him home and the chaos began.
Within weeks it was clear he was a crazy boy. A new normal was chasing him around constantly and taking things out of his mouth, dealing with nighttime pee breaks and a high energy puppy.
Pearson just turned two and, well… he is still like a little puppy.
I got so excited when I found out I was pregnant. I thought, Pearson is going to be amazing with the baby! And while he is, he still has the same problem: he will not stop taking the baby’s things! So this adds to my daily stress : how do I deal with my high energy dog and a newborn? While I definitely do not have this figured out, here are some things that I think will help if you are going through a similar situation.
1. Put everything away immediately. I mean, everything!
Now I’m not going to lie, often our dining room table is littered with random items that really do not belong on a table. But our “normal” is put your shoes, hats, gloves, jackets in the closet immediately; clean the counter and put away food immediately; and throw out those diapers immediately (yup, his favourite!) In fact this definitely helps us keep things clean in the long run.
2. Exercise is key.
This should be a given, but you would be surprised at how drastic the walks dropped with having a baby in the fall. Also, we could not find his prong collar for a week or so, so … it was tough on him. Walking a dog who loves to pull is so challenging with a stroller so now, I wrap my babes in a boba and away we go.
3. Give your pup equal attention.
Easier said than done! Any time the baby cried for the first few weeks the dog would bark for his attention. Now, the situation has calmed down. When the baby is calm, I get down on the floor with him and give him belly scratches. It hasn’t diminished the problem but it helps Pearson calm down and go to sleep.
4. Play time!
My husband gets home around 4:45, and usually Ben is feeding with me. So he takes the dog outside to throw the ball and burn off alot of that steam and mental energy.
5. Involve your dog in your pregnancy and babies arrival.
While I was pregnant I would try to get the dog to understand that a baby was coming. I know this sounds silly, but I think it did help a little. And, during our four day stay in the nicu I came home once and brought the babies outfit he had worn and let him sniff me, and the outfit. When we got home with baby, I went inside while Darren stayed in the car with Ben, and we did an introduction not in the home, but outside. This helped the dog welcome the new family member!
6. Try to keep a calm household.
I think this one will make anyone who knows me personally laugh. I get so easily frustrated when the dog barks or takes things while I am trying to deal with baby that my first instinct is to yell. I’m working on this! I know that the more I get frustrated or anxious, the worse this situation gets.
7. Ignore bad behaviour, praise good behaviour.
I can make a mental list of things my dog loves to take so we chase him: the remotes (I think we are on our fifth remote) the blankets, the babies clothes, my clothes, bras, undies 😣 pillows, papers, etc., etc! Now, while he will demolish certain items if I dont grab them right away, and this usually includes a fun chase, other items he grabs simply to get my attention. Sometimes I wont give him any reaction, and sure enough the fun is gone. When we have our rare moments of quiet around here and he is resting on his bed, I give him a treat. Not so sure if I see much improvement, but it helps!
As the weeks roll on, we are definitely adjusting to chaos. I do need to remind myself that, he was my first baby and it’s like having a toddler around 🤪
I hope this list has helped you if you are going through a similar situation! Feel free to like, comment and share your experiences and tips!
Take care ❤