Pet Care: We anticipated having our hands totally full in the first days home from the hospital so Olive spent 2 weeks with our trainer, brushing up on her skills and getting all of her needs taken care of while we adjusted to life with a newborn. (In retrospect, 2 weeks was a bit long. I wish she had come home after 1 week because I started missing her so much it hurt.) The Bears are extremely sensitive to the tiniest changes in their environment so this arrangement let them get used to Hadley on their own and gave us time for good snuggles. Our incredible neighbor visited The Bears for the five days we were in the hospital so we knew they were in the best hands.
Trainer: We wanted to be sure that Olive was solid before we had a baby so she went to @northernboundk9llc for a board and train when she was a puppy. All of this said, Olive was still a *spaz* when she first met Hadley and we had to implement a lot of structure to keep them both safe. My recommendation is to practice useful commands around distractions before bringing baby home to prep your pup as much as possible. You can see the commands that have been most useful to us postpartum here.
Activities: When Olive came home, we had chews (@farmhoundstreats subscription box for life!), kongs, and puzzle feeders for Olive to use when we couldn’t pay attention to her and she needed stimulation. Darrell took Olive on extra long walks in the morning to spend time with her before Hadley and I woke up, and I would try to take a conscious 5-10 minutes each day to play with her without asking for any behaviors – it was her special one-on-one time with me. There were days we skipped this routine and we noticed that she always did better and seemed less jealous when she got in that special time.
Breaks: Darrell and I took turns managing the creatures so that the other person would get a break from the constant demands. Even short 10 minute breaks to scroll on our phones were so helpful!
Was this helpful? How do you think your dog would respond to a new baby or a new creature in the house? And is there anything you would add to this list? I’d love to hear thoughts, comments, questions!