Lets Talk Baby Training.
Going back over these photos brought up all the best feelings! My heart has never felt so warm. These babies of mine have grown to be so close and I find their bond absolutely magical.
I will never forget Gibsons eyes when we first brought Finn home. They were MASSIVE. Brad thought he was going to eat him.
I have often been asked how I “baby trained” the dogs, but I think it’s more than that, you also have to dog train your baby.
When it comes to the pups, Brad and I always knew Finn was in our future so we really emphasized socialization. We spent a lot of time at dog parks and also had family members with children they were introduced to. My pups were 2 and 4 when Finn first came around so I had loved them long enough to suspect how they would react.
We’ve got Nanny Gibs who was immediately drawn to Finn- laying his head right next to wherever he was, kissing him, and desperately trying to play with him during tummy time. He was so affectionate and calm. Overnight our playful puppy turned into a loving big brother who would rub his cold nose on Finn’s warm little baby cheek and lick away his salty tears.
Then there is Molli, she was a bit more distant but so incredibly protective of him. It took almost nine months for Molli to let Finn snuggle her, and I can count on one hand the amount of times it has happened. He was a part of her world, she had accepted that fact but it took a tad longer for her to be comfortable. Their current status is just like any other siblings: she loves him, they play, but she still enjoys her space.
Going into it my mind set wasn’t them being immediate besties. Our pups have their own personalities and they had to build their own unique bond with Finn based on trust, understanding, respect, and love. That wasn’t going to come from me forcing him onto them.
I think something we did that played a huge part in the success of their relationships was our focus on communication.
We would never strip our dogs of their right to speak. It may sound silly but as Finn has grown he has learned to speak their language, what a playful bark is vs a “not now” bark, and for the most part; he listens. The pups have learned patience which sometimes turns to avoidance.
As time has gone on trust and respect have grown from both sides.
Since my dogs are older, I know and trust them, my situation is a bit different from a puppy and baby. Puppies naturally have high energy and have to be taught how to be gentle, so do babies, and this could make for a messy (but always fun) situation. My sole advice for this is stay consistent and patient with both sides.
The one thing that I will forever stand by is love, love, love. It isn’t always easy. You pup may get frustrated and bark a bit too close to your baby. Your baby will most likely throw a wood block at your dog. Hitting/pawing will most likely happen. All of this has happened at our household, and it can be hard. But I truly believe babies learn best by watching you. Take a deep breath. Love your pups, love on your babe, treat them all as family and your babies will too.