You’ve successfully navigated a home with your baby or maybe a couple of kids and your dog(s) but as you continue to grow your human family, are you concerned how the dog(s) will fit in?
Below are a few common complaints I hear from parents in the season of multiple young children co-existing with the family dog. Read my advice on how to deal with these family challenges. The following strategies have worked for me and they work for my clients. The good news is, most of these concerns require more of a mental shift than a physical one.
1. “I don’t get any help with the dog”
Just because it is normal for pet parents to disagree on WHO should be doing WHAT with the dog doesn’t mean it’s healthy. In fact, a home that fails to provide clear expectations and guidance is probably the hardest home for a dog to live in. When I encounter a partner who is unwilling to contribute to the welfare of the dog I do my best to understand why they feel so resistant to contributing. I use that understanding to develop strategies that overcome their obstacles. Remember, this is about being a team, it is not about who is right.
2. “I can’t supervise every interaction”
It’s really tough to be everywhere, all the time, especially when your babies are little. As a mom to an almost three year old and an 8 month old, it is a lot to manage. I utilize crates, gates, and baby playards on a daily basis in my home and I do this as a professional! I find myself giving my dog(s) breaks throughout the day especially during more chaotic times like dinner or getting ready for preschool.
3. “There’s not enough time in the day”
I feel like I fall short on time everyday and very rarely do things go according to plan. However, your dog is learning every moment of everyday about who you are as a person and what you expect from them. I don’t mean how you wish they would behave, I mean how you’re actually allowing them to behave. Training is not a one time event or something that happens in 15 minute sessions. Creating positive predictable patterns for a dog requires just as much effort as living with behaviors that drive you crazy. This isn’t an overnight process but I believe we can change your family routine with your dog!
I completely understand feeling overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities of caring for kids and dogs, I work through those tough choices everyday.
When you’re drowning in life’s responsibilities, it’s easy to let the needs of the dog fall to the bottom of the list. I promise that there are easy ways to include your dog in everyday life events in a way that drains their mental and physical energy. If you want to do this, there’s a community that wants to help! If you’re truly in a situation where your dog is being neglected or placed in a psychologically damaging situation, there are a lot of ways to rehome your dog that don’t include relinquishing them to your local shelter.
Aileen is the owner of Baby Pack Leader, focusing on creating safe environments for dogs + tots as they navigate a whole new world together. Aileen offers free online resources and courses to help owners navigate bringing home a baby, the tough toddler years, and the family dog.