Tips & Training
3 Handy Hints For Living with a Dog and a Baby
Photography: Melinda Duker | 1st World Dog
Pet lifestyle expert Serena Faber-Nelson is the founder of Pretty Fluffy. A contributor to Everyday with Rachael Ray, Modern Dog Magazine, Cesars Way and more; her modern, stylized take on DIY dog treats has seen her recipes viewed millions of times over.
Serena is the author of the go-to dog mom bible, Dog Mama, and the popular dog treat recipe book, Healthy Homemade Dog Treats.
As a first time mum, I’m so pleased to have Mel of 1st World Dog on Pretty Fluffy today, sharing her top tips for living with a dog and a baby!
Take it away Mel…
3 Handy Hints For Reality Of Life With A Dog And A Bub
So you have read the books about how to prepare your fur-baby for the arrival of your human baby. You have even had your partner sneak one of the blankets from the hospital home for the dog to sniff before you get home from hospital and yes your arrival home has been organized with military precision, your partner holding bub and you have a handful of yummy treats ready for your beloved dog as you walk through the door.
There is lots of fabulous advice about those initial interactions but where we really needed to be creative was in the months that followed.
Bodhi (aka 1st World Dog) was 15 months old when “The Noisy One” was born.
As a Labrador x Cocker Spaniel, Bodhi was a high energy pup who was used to walks twice a day and at 36 weeks pregnant, when I started maternity leave, we had our first agility lesson (which has continued to be our “thing” together).
So life changed pretty dramatically for this active pup when I was sleep deprived and not able to just head out for walks or to the dog park as regularly as we did before my daughter was born. I needed to get creative to keep my little guy from ripping the house apart and sending me crazy so here are a couple of handy hints that kept the sanity in our house with a dog and a bub:
1. Prepare the distraction toy the night before
It is hard enough waking up to a crying baby after an interrupted night sleep and getting sorted to fed bub (again) but this used to be walkies time.
Bodhi would be wanting attention (because it would have once been morning walk time before work) and that can strain even the most patient fur-mum’s sanity. The 2 minute job of stuffing the Kong or other distraction toy with treats before bed the night prior and having it ready and waiting in the sink makes the mornings just that little bit easier.
Thinking ahead is hard work but worth it for at least 15-20 minutes of sanity in the morning.
2. Ball throwers are awesome
If you don’t already have one of those ball throwing stick things… GET ONE.
You know the ones everyone seems to have down the dog park to pick up the tennis ball and throw it. If you are carrying bub in any sort of carrier it is near impossible to continually bend down to pick up a tennis ball. The ball thrower makes it so much easier to pick up the ball and keep an active dog entertained while bub is nestled in the sling having a snooze.
3. Walks are awesome on SO many levels
The neighbourhood could almost set their clocks by our 3pm afternoon walk.
‘The Noisy One’ used to be shocking of an afternoon. Popping her in the pram, and then the Baby Bjorn as she got bigger, for a walk seemed to work magic at settling her down. It also meant Bodhi got at least one walk per day and importantly I got out of the house too.
Walking the streets with a baby and dog you pretty much have everyone covered to stop and chat with you. I quickly discovered who in the neighbourhood was a baby person and who was a dog person (some would go straight for the pram and ignore Bodhi while others went straight for patting Bodhi and were clearly not interested in a baby). We struck up some lovely conversations with locals during that time and I got interaction with people I could actually speak to (nothing like being in the house with a baby and a dog all day when none of you really speak the same language).
While the bringing home baby and the introduction to your fur-kid is a significant moment (yes there were tears at our house) it is when the reality of day to day life sets in that we found these simple hints made all the difference for having a happy baby, dog and importantly mum.
About The Author – Mel of 1st World Dog
Mel hands over her keyboard to the paws of Bodhi for 1st World Dog. 1st World Dog is a place for Bodhi to share the day to day dilemmas of a dog living in the 1st world. Bodhi shares a house with a Toddler (once “The Noisy One”) who likes to paint him so he looks like a tiger, a dad who rudely makes him hop off the bed and back to the 3 seater sofa at bedtime and a mum that likes to do crazy things with him like agility but redeems herself by making yummy dog treats.
Photography: Melinda Duker | 1st World Dog