They say dogs just know when their human Momma is pregnant. Well, I don’t think my dog Milo fully understood at all. I wish I could say I had a pup that was aware and sensitive to my pregnant belly but that just wasn’t the case. I think Milo knew there were changes being made, Roman’s nursery, all these packages showing up at the door. But I don’t think I prepared him well enough for bringing a baby home. It sounds weird I know, but the transition was a little rough.
When I went to the hospital to be induced my mom stayed with Milo. Brent and I were in the hospital much longer than we expected (5 days), so I’m sure Milo was already thinking “where are my humans!”. I would send receiving blankets home with my mom to let Milo smell, but thats all I did! For some reason I thought the transition would be easy and that was the only thing I needed to do. W R O N G.
We got back from the hospital with Roman, and Milo was anxiously waiting for us. I didn’t even think about giving him one on one time with us before introducing Roman, but I would definitely recommend it. When I first took Roman out of his carseat and let Milo sniff his foot. Milo looked around and slowly opened his mouth as if that foot was a tasty snack for him! (Insert overly tired panicked mom). After that incident, I was so nervous that I barricaded the couch with Milo’s dog gate, leaving Roman and I safely inside. Every chance he got he would try to hurdle the back of the couch to be closer to us.
Milo went from getting all the attention, to barely any. When we weren’t with Roman, we were catching up on sleep. Maybe we should have been adding in a little time with Milo, but hey I’m not super Mom! Eventually I put the dog gate around the Mamaroo when Roman was in it. This let Milo get closer but not so close that he was in Roman’s face. I truly think that helped because overtime I noticed Milo wouldn’t want to lay next to me, instead he would lay next to Roman.
What I was not prepared for and still haven’t grasped is Milo’s jealousy. Milo is definitely naughty simply because he wants attention. If we take Roman on a “car ride” and not Milo, he will act out and chew Roman’s pacifiers, toys, shoes, bibs,etc. If Brent or I left it out, he chewed it up. And now he just looks like a sad and depressed pup missing the good old days when he didn’t have to share mommy and daddy. I try to spoil him so he can feel included, but his excitement from that doesn’t last long.
A few things I would suggest doing to help you have a smooth transition with your new babe and pup.
Switch up your pup’s routine B E F O R E your little one arrives.
If you know your daily walks, outdoor play time, or meal times for your pup are going to shift because of your baby’s schedule, make the changes now! Milo use to always go on car rides with me to get my morning Diet Coke. Now it’s way too hard to have him and Roman in the car with me so he doesn’t get to go. This is when he tends to act out.
Allow your pup to sniff your baby’s new things but make it clear they have their own toys.
If your puppy tries to take one of the toys give them a command like “drop” or “leave” and replace the baby’s toy with a puppy toy. I made the mistake of giving Milo stuffed toys when he was a puppy, now he thinks Roman’s are fair game for him as well. I had to teach him early on that the stuffed animals were not his.
Set boundaries early.
Milo knows he’s not really allowed down the hall where our guest bedrooms are. He also knows to stay out of the nursery unless he’s invited. I’ll always catch him looking down the hallway but never stepping foot in the bedrooms.
Visit with your pup first
If you’re not too tired when you get home from the hospital, take your puppy on a walk or play outside with them before introducing them to the baby. You’ve been away from them for a few days, they’ll be excited to see you and want attention. (This is what we didn’t do with Milo and I wish we would have!)
Try not to introduce new food right before the baby arrives.
We gave Milo a different flavor of kibble before we left. When we bought that flavor again he never ate it. We think he negatively associated it with the big change of bringing a baby home.