Three Dogs and a Baby: Babies on the Move
Mark is now a year old and walking ! We call him 'babyzilla' because he is
literally a one man wrecking crew. Without the proper baby and dog
equipment not only would he not be safe but the dogs would probably want to
move out and I'd lose my mind. Below are some tips and equipment on
keeping a baby on the move safe, the dogs happy and your own self sane.
Baby gates for baby and dogs are essential in establishing
boundaries of what areas are off limits to either party. A baby gate in
Mark's bedroom doorway for instance allows us to leave out all of his toys
without the dogs making them into snacks, as well as keeping him from
escaping every two seconds. A playpen or (baby x-pen as dog folks
affectionately call it) gives the baby some freedom while keeping his toys
and stuffed animals safe from nosy dogs. Since our dogs have tons of their
own stuffies they don't bother Mark's very often but I know they're
tempted. Of course he eventually empties all of his toys over the side of
the playpen but the dogs usually stay clear since he throws them with
surprising velocity and accuracy.
For the most part, using gates and pens are a great way of keeping
babies and dogs safe without restricting their freedom too much. The dogs
often visit with Mark when he's in his playpen, but can leave if he gets
too enthusiastic with his squeezing and kissing. Using a crate even with a
grown up already trained dog has been a godsend for us. There have been
times when Mark has been practicing his walking around the house and having
three canine chaperones is just too much. Our 3 yr. old German shepherd is
usually the crate candidate since he likes to kiss the baby very thoroughly
with all of his 90lbs (not conducive to balancing for the newly walking).
Fostering a friendship between a budding toddler and a family pet
requires lots of supervised contact and establishing some house rules. Our
rules are as follows and may help you to develop your own list to suit your
child and your own dog's needs-
- We never leave baby and dogs alone, even for a minute.
- When the dogs are in a crate or their beds Mark is not
allowed to bother them.
- Dogs aren't allowed in the kitchen when Mark's eating,
but are invited in later to clean up.
- Baby toys are left in the playpen when we are not home
and at night to avoid temptation.
- Dog toys are likewise off limits to baby.
- If the baby is walking the dogs lie outside the room or
in their beds.
- Dogs are not allowed in the baby's room unless invited.
A baby gate helps keep this
boundary and lets us be more casual about toys on the floor.
These simple limits work for us and allow us to enjoy both our baby
and our dogs without stress to anyone. Different rules may be needed at
your house to fit both your child and your dogs temperament. If you are
struggling to control your dog and set limits you may want to think about
getting him back in a group class. We have lots of new course offerings
for 2001 that will give you and your best pal a night out together and
improve his response to commands at the same time.
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