With her second baby on the way, StyleTails’ training and behaviour expert Louise Glazebrook shares her experience of creating a happy environment for your dog and your baby.
One of the things I have realised from having a dog and a child is that owning a dog is great prep work for having a baby; people hate to hear you say that but honestly, it’s true.
You quickly get used to having to think of another living being and not being able to go out for 12 hours without organising care. You discover that the responsibility and rewards of being a dog owner are great – if not, sometimes a tad trying. In truth, this is similar to being a parent, although it is way more tiring and the level of responsibility will continue until you die!
For me, having a dog and a child grow up together is amazing; it was always a dream and something that I have planned for. From breed selection to socialisation, it’s so important to lay down the ground work early. There is a huge amount to consider when living with a dog and a baby or child, and it cannot just be left to trial and error.
Even if you have an inkling in your mind that at some point in the future you may want to consider having children, don’t just ignore that – run with the ball, be active and start your puppy or dog off on the right foot from the word go.
I see the terrible outcome of dogs who were got rid of because a baby was arriving. I also see the fall out of what happens when a dog and child don’t live well together. The most important words I can emphasise is preparation. Its all about the foundations, the work that you do beforehand and making sure that your dog actually wants to be around children, rather than being forced to be.
There are some breeds that generally speaking find living with children easier than others, so I don’t believe you can just assume that all dogs will be fine if prepped properly. It goes deeper than that – it goes back to the breeder, the handling, the dog’s exposure and their breed purpose. If you have a rescue dog then it comes from what they have experienced previously. All in all, you are trying to set yourself and your baby and dog up for success, not failure.
I offer sessions to parents and soon-to-be-parents, who already own dogs to get them doing some of the work that needs to take place to create a happy and healthy environment for both their dog and their children. In my opinion, you can never ever start too early – you can start too late though!
Louise Glazebrook is the Founder of the Darling Dog Company.
*Image via mommasgonecity.com