Getting ready for baby!

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Barked: Thu Nov 1, '12 7:24am PST 
Hello Dogster community!

My pup and I are approaching what will be a VERY busy time period in our household, and I'm pretty nervous about it. In fact, everyone involved is nervous about Dutch's role; he's a pretty big factor.

At the beginning of next year, my brother's girlfriend will be moving in for a few months with her newborn baby.

Now for a little background info: Dutch is not desensitized to the point where he can adequately control his enthusiasm for visitors. He jumps, he barks, he's overwhelming to some. If I do choose to bring him out of his crate when we have these people over, I have to keep him on leash.

I have two nieces, toddlers, who usually want to play with him when they come over. Cue the leash and pinch collar. He acts nervous around them for the most part: head lowered, ears back, tail wagging.

When it's just me and my mom in the house, or with a few of my friends who come over regularly and love dogs, Dutch has free reign (under supervision, of course--he's a 3-year-old Bull Terrier, for heaven's sake).

Ashlee and the baby will be rooming in a basement guest room. The basement is, for the most part, Dutch's room. My mom and I don't spend a lot of time there. His crate is down there, and when we give him big treats like Dingo Bones, he takes them and hurries down the stairs to enjoy them down there. We jokingly call it his "man-cave."

Now to my--and my family's--main concern: How can I get Dutch ready to share space with Ashlee and behave himself around the baby? He absolutely MUST get accustomed. There is no way I am keeping my dog in his crate just because we're all nervous about how he'll react.

Has anyone else had this experience? Not like mine specifically, but has anyone else had to prepare their dog for a baby's presence? My parents already had a very young Bull Terrier when I was a baby, but that dog had been hand-raised/hand-trained by his breeder, so he was a perfect angel. None of us are sure how to approach this.

Is there something my mom and I can work on? Should we call in a trainer?

I would TRULY appreciate any input on this issue. I have faith in Dutch, that he will come to respect Ashlee as a member of the household and to understand that the baby is something fragile and special. My gut tells me we can get there, but I don't know how.

Does anyone have any advice?

Member Since
Barked: Fri Nov 2, '12 2:48am PST 
What a worrying time!! When I was pregnant with my first child, Sara I used a book called Tell Your Dog You're Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby. I too thought I might need a trainer but the book covered a lot of training we could do ourselves. It was really helpful and came with a CD of sounds. Max (my fur child!) took some time to get used to the sounds but the book helped on how to do it. Maybe that will help you! dog