I’m a FurMommy to two pooches, Chanel and Rigby. Chanel is a 3 lb teacup Chihuahua and Rigby is a 90 lb American Bulldog. Since introducing a baby to a small dog is vastly different than to a big dog, I’m going to hold off on writing about Chanel for today and discuss my experience with babies and big dogs!
Right off the bat one of my biggest concerns with introducing Lincoln to Rigby was that Rigby was going to eat my newborn, maul him, or knock Lincoln over when he became mobile. I’m sure we’ve all heard the horror stories about dogs that never showed aggression in their past and were considered a friendly family pet all of a sudden become territorial and attack a child they’ve been around for years. Rigby is our gentle giant, but he’s still an unpredictable 90 lb animal with enormous sharp teeth and a mouth like Jaws that I don’t trust or put anything past.
I immediately knew that when Lincoln was left unattended in his swing or bouncer while I showered, Rigby was to ALWAYS be put outside no ifs, ands, or buts. I had heard recommendations from people about bringing home hospital blankets that Lincoln had used and allowing our dogs to sleep with them, but to me it just sounded like an excuse to let my dogs tear up yet another blanket. I had also heard about getting a baby doll so that the dogs would get used to a baby, but that just seemed weird to me. So I went about this whole introduction thing a different way. Within the first few days of having Lincoln home I made sure to let Rigby check out our new addition by sniffing all over Lincoln. I know some parents are strange about germs, but I felt face to face sniffing contact was the best way for Rigby to get to know Lincoln from the beginning and they say dogs mouths are cleaner than humans so I figured Rigby’s kisses were more sanitary than mine anyway.
To this day I don’t 100% trust Rigby, but over time Rigby has grown more and more used to Lincoln and I have grown more and more used to Rigby being around Lincoln… Before Lincoln was mobile I even became more comfortable with leaving Rigby in the house with Lincoln unattended while I showered. Now that Lincoln is mobile Rigby stays outside quite often coming in only at night. We make sure to tire Rigby out by taking him for walks, playing fetch, and still allowing him to sniff Lincoln’s face; although now Lincoln pushes Rigby away because he understands more and doesn’t want hot slobbery breath breathing on his face. Another thing that we do ALWAYS is reward Rigby with love and affection and “good boy” when he’s sweet on Lincoln. We want to make sure that Rigby knows how good he’s being with Lincoln so that he continues to be gentle.
I think there’s a fine line with having big dogs around babies and everyone has to find their own balance. Rigby is a part of our family and we want him in our lives until he’s an old man so we make sure to never give him the opportunity to make a mistake. I think that’s key, because a mistake from a 90 lb American Bulldog could be fatal to Lincoln so there is no room for error.
So if you are a FurMommy or wanting to become a FurMommy just make sure you do lots of research about your breed and their temperament, make sure to incorporate your pooch as much as possible into your daily routine with the baby, introduce your furry family member as soon as possible always allowing them to sniff the baby, and always give positive reinforcement to your pup.