So you’ve had a baby, and suddenly your dog is driving you nuts! You want nothing more than to look Fido in the face and feel something, anything, but aggravation. No matter how many deep breaths you take, the situation seems impossible.
Lately you may have been wondering if all those people who said, “Wait to get a dog, until your kids are older.” may have been right. You may even be wondering if it’s time to re-home. My friends, if this is you, we are soul sisters (or siblings) on a deep personal plane.
After having a baby, those long leisurely trips to the dog park, scenic dog-friendly hikes, and endless couch cuddling sessions were replaced with endless poopy diapers that my dogs liked to gobble and smear throughout the house. Ugh!
And of course, the best times for barking always seemed to be just after my nap-resistant infant had finally dozed off. New mommin’ is tough y’all, and in my sleep deprived state, it definitely seemed like my dogs were making it much harder.
If you are are living here right now, in the thick of it all, wondering which path to choose, I want you to know there is hope! You will love your dog again, and it won’t take as long as you think!
When I has at my worst emotionally, these tips really help me to survive. Hopefully, they’ll help you get over the hump as well.
4 Crucial Tips for Loving Your Dog After having a Baby
Put Things into Perspective
Realistically, this is the same dog. The dog has not changed. You have changed, and that is okay. You just gave birth to a human baby! The good news is, as you and your baby settle in to a routine, which will take time, you will be in a much better place emotionally, and your dog will be much easier to handle. Have a little faith and patience.
A Little Bit Goes a Long Way
When your dogs are lonely, they can’t call up a friend and head out to paint night for a little socialization. You and your family members are it, the only people they have to talk to, touch, look at, and they need that attention to thrive.
- Get into a routine of spending at least 1 full undivided minute petting your dog, each time you lay the baby down for a nap. This short block of time can make all the difference to a dog who’s just looking for a little calm in the storm. I’m sure you know the feeling!
- If you haven’t been able to exercise your dogs as much as they need, consider hiring a dog walker on a short term basis. Getting plenty of exercise will help your dog stay calm throughout the day, which will greatly decrease your stress level! It’s a win-win for sure!
- If you can’t afford to hire a dog walker, consider asking a sibling or a close friend if they can walk your dog a couple times a week to help you out. You might be surprised at how willing people are to help. Remember, it’s only temporary.
This one was hard for me, and it will probably be hard for you too. The truth is, if the dog is eating your binkies or diapers, it’s because they were within reach. Now that you have a baby, you need to dog proof your house more than ever, and make a doubly conscious effort to put all baby items out of your dog’s reach .
- Designate an empty basket as a catch all for your stray baby items. Throw all your lovies, binkies, rattles, and all the wonderful things your dog likes to chew in there for protection, when you don’t have time to put them in their rightful place. Have one basket in each room you use regularly.
- Make sure your diapers are secured in a container with a lid. If your dog is crafty enough to open a lid, like mine, trying throwing all your diapers away in the bathroom and religiously closing the door each time. A regular hinged-lid trash can will do. There’s no need to splurge on an expensive diaper storage container.
Train your dog
Most of us have already trained our dogs, but now is the time to hone those skills. Take a few extra seconds each time you interact with your dog to build in simple obedience practice. For example, making them sit and wait before eating their dinner or crossing the threshold of a doorway is a great and simple way to build self control.
Focus on the positive
This is probably the most important of all the tips. It really helped me tremendously. I would repeat these basic things to myself multiple times each and every day. Doing so really remind me of the wonderful gifts my dogs are to my family.
- For starters, science has proven that people with pets tend to live longer, happier lives. My dog is literally giving me the gift of life. Amazing!
- Science has also proven that children who live with pets in the home have stronger, healthier immune systems. Each and every day, the mere presence of my dogs is helping my sweet little baby kick the butts of tons of nasty germs!
- When it comes to home protection, dogs make a great first line of defense. Whether large or small, dogs let no jogger go unnoticed.
- And of course, when you do have the time, they really do make excellent cuddle buddies.
With time, patience, and a little effort you will get to a better place. A place where dog and baby gleefully co-exist. A place where you effortlessly emerge as the loving dog-mom of your glory days. A place where you thrive, not just survive.
Here’s to adjusting! Here’s to thriving! Here’s to loving our dogs! Forever.