Not dog people

I tend to classify people as "dog people" and "not dog people." Although well-intentioned, those who are not dog people can sometimes say things that make me cock my head to the side and think, "Are you crazy?"

For instance, when I was pregnant, one of my not dog people friends said, "Oh, now that you are expecting, what are you going to do about your dogs?"

"Huh? What do you mean?"

"Well, are you going to get rid of them?"

"Uh, no, why would I get rid of my dogs?"

"Well, two dogs is awfully hard to manage, especially with a baby. You might have to get rid of at least one of them. You know, so-and-so had two dogs. And she had to get rid of one of them when she had her baby."

Here would be where I cock my head to the side, scrunch my face in puzzlement, and think to myself, "Are you crazy?"

This past weekend, this same friend came over to visit the baby. She very quickly shooed Loki away from the baby when he was simply being curious and sniffing. She reminded me of Aunt Sarah from Lady and the Tramp. Even if the dog wasn't doing anything wrong, it's mere presence demanded that it be shooed away.

I think you shouldn't shoo away a dog especially when it's exhibiting curious behavior. If you always shoo the dog away when it's near the baby, then it'll just develop negative associations with the baby. Both Loki and Jujube have adjusted wonderfully to the baby. For the most part, they ignore the baby. Sometimes they are curious and will approach to sniff. One time Loki came to sniff when the baby was making lots of jerky movements. And the baby ended up punching Loki in the nose, but Loki didn't seem to care at all. He was a bit startled, but continued on sniffing. The baby is simply non-threatening to him.

We'll have to see how things progress as the baby becomes more mobile over time, but so far, introducing the baby into our pack has been possibly our easiest integration. Introducing Jujube was much harder. As I mentioned in my last post, full integration took 9 months. When Loki first met my father, Loki barked at him through his entire week's visit. Also, Loki never fully accepted my in-laws when they came for almost two months to help out with the baby. He understood that they spoiled him with more food, but he was never fully comfortable with them. In contrast, he only barked for a couple days when the baby first arrived, and seemed to very quickly adjust to our little bundle of joy. We offer ample opportunity for the dogs to be curious, to sniff, and to explore on their own terms. From time to time, we use treats and affection to positively reinforce them while they are near the baby, but we don't do it too much. Frankly, I don't have the time and energy to think about dog training when I'm caring for the baby. And well, so far, so good.


Gina said...

Yay to progressing and adjusting well to babies! I sometimes think dogs believe little children to be small animals and not human adults... at least, Betsy thinks so.

Judy Whitton said...

I think probably the reason why it's so much easier to integrate a new baby into the family is because I'm sure the baby has you and your husbands smell on it too. The dogs are like, it kind of smells like Mom and Dad, but it's not Mom and Dad. LOL

I think there is also a 3rd type of person, the dog person, the not a dog person and the shouldn't have a dog person. This lady at work falls into that last category, she has a 12 year old lab that is gimping around and I asked her if she has taken it to the vet. She says, I can't afford to take Blondie to the vet. She tells me this after she tells me about the shopping spree she had just gone on. In fact, she later confessed that she hadn't taken Blondie to the vet in years for her yearly shots. So, she was afraid to take Blondie to the vet because she thought she would get in trouble for not taking her in each year. I just wanted to smack her!

I'm sure you will be careful when your baby gets more mobile, but I want to tell you a little story. I was a single parent with a two year old when I met my second husband. He had just gotten a 2 year old yellow lab from some friends. He told me that Bailey had supposedly bitten their baby on the face. They had placed the baby on a blanket in a room and left it there by itself with some toys. The baby was probably only 6 or 7 months old. Bailey wandered into the room and a few minutes later, they heard the baby crying and when they went into the room, the baby had 3 small gashes on it's face. They assumed that Bailey had bitten the baby on the face and decided to get rid of him. Scott said he saw the wounds and it looked to him like Bailey had scratched the baby on the face with his paw. He thinks that as the baby was reaching for the toys, Bailey took that as a play sign and accidentally got the baby in the face with it's paw.

Bailey was a very smart dog and he knew he lost his home because of the baby and he avoided my daughter for the first couple months. We kept a close eye on those 2 and after a couple months, they became the best of friends. He was a very good dog with my daughter and then with my son when he was born a couple years later.

I think dogs adjust to changes in the family more then if they were to simply go to someone elses house and have to deal with situations that they are not used to. I hope this is true for you!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your beautiful baby! I've been enjoying the adventures of Loki and Jujube for almost a year now. Thanks so much for a great blog and also for keeping links to other shiba blogs available. M., "dog person" and shiba lover

The Shiba said...

I encourage my friends to bring their young ones over to meet the dogs and teach them about how to watch dogs with their infants.

As their children have grown, we are known as Cortez and Belle, not our names because the parents will say, we are going to Cortez and Belle's house and the kids get all excited because from day one, we taught both parents and kids how to behave, and ask the dogs to behave at the same time.

We have never had a bad incident.

Jenny said...

It's great how the dogs are doing so well with the baby.

My parents, instead of shooing my doggie away from the baby (my nephew), they shoo the baby away from the dog! hehe

popular dogs in Dubai said...

I think if we pay enough attention, and the dog is trained well, there should be no problem with having both a baby and a dog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Vi!
I recently came across your blog. Thank you so much! It's been great to read, because it's been really worrisome lately. I am expecting our first baby this November. I have an 11 year old Shiba, Jaz, who expects things to be her way. Sigh. Jazzy and I met when she was 9. Things have been great, but kids seem scary. In preparation for a family for over the past year, we have slowly partitioned the apt, so she couldn't have full access and tried to train her to stay in kitchen. We've tried to introduce her to babies and kids. The first time it wasn't so bad (although she did guardingly nip :( , because friends stayed for one night. However, we had family and an 18 month, very active nephew here for the past 5 days. It was a nightmare after day 2. She just would do the dreaded Shiba scream forever, when the baby was out in the living room, in sight, or in sound. She didn't seem to understand why the noisy munchkin could be there and she couldn't. We tried treats, the spray bottle, put a backpack on her to give her something to do, alpha rolls, and just tried ignoring her, and it didn't work. Her anxiety just escalated. The neighbors even came upstairs to check on things. At the end, Jaz got her way. We took her for a walk and we asked family to put the baby in the bedroom, so she could be in the living room. Yesterday night, I had a breakdown and my DH was on the verge of giving her up, even though he had her since she was a year old. I don't want to give her up. I think maybe the session was just too much at once. Maybe it will be different if she smells a baby that has our scents? We read your earlier posts about positive reinforcements and negative reinforcements. Please share your experience. I would really appreciate any additional help.

At Wit's end

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