Friday, July 29, 2011

my Buddy and me

I'm sure every couple who has a pet before they have children secretly hopes and prays that, one day, the two will have a perfect relationship... I am still hoping and praying.

{she loves to play with the tags on his collar}

As most of you know, Oz was my baby for 6 years before B came into the world.
He was (and still is) my most faithful and loving cuddlebug.

I have met so many people who have had the JRT/baby "combo," and it breaks my heart when they have to give away their beloved dog because of safety issues with their kiddos. I can't even imagine.

Luckily, I have had great advice (thanks to Barkalounge goddess, and Ozzie's favorite "aunt" Brigitte) and great determination to make things work with my "combo." 

I just want to share a few measures that I have taken to ensure a smooth(er) relationship for Oz and B.
I am NO expert by any means... And it's still a work in progress (meaning Oz has never been even slightly aggressive toward her, but I wouldn't let them interact unsupervised). But I know that a lot of people that have issues with their pets don't realize that there are great (free) resources out there to help you out. You just have to do a little research.

First thing is first.
I will say that with any dog, it is SO important to take the time each day to devote exercise.

 I can tell that Oz is much less tolerant of B's curious "pestering" when he needs a little "release"... So we go take a run, or a walk, or a golf cart ride as soon as we can get a chance. Until that happens, Mommy does a little intervention and sends Oz to his "bed" or outside on his lead for a little space between baby and dog.

Also, it is just as important to have your dog very well trained-- not just to obey commands, but to understand what is expected of them-- especially when they are around small children!
This is where the PACK mentality comes in handy. You have to think like a dog.
Dogs are not people. They are hardwired to believe that as a pack unit, each member has a specific position-- similar to hierarchy. They typically view their "masters" as the pack leader, and they know they are subordinate to them. Their job is to "protect and obey" their masters. And some dogs have a stronger sense of "protecting" than others do... Like our buddy, Oz.

Now, I know this sounds strange... But it's so true! Simply watching an episode of Cesar Millan's "Dog Whisperer" will tell you everything you need to know about this type of mentality.
If you fully understand it, you can use some of these same techniques-- without the $500+ price tag for Cesar's services!
The last important point I want to make is that YOU must be comfortable in the interaction between your dog and your baby. The dog can sense any anxiety or nervousness you may have, and they could potentially become confused and associate those feelings with the baby... So, it's important to stay calm and cool.

Lastly, teach your baby the appropriate way to "pet" and treat your dog. Make sure they realize that smacking them around and pulling on them isn't "funny," or the way that they deserve to be treated. No matter how young, it's important to teach this to your child. This will obviously help lower their risk of being bitten or hurt by a dog.

I have spent countless hours researching this very topic, especially after Oz's reaction to my pregnancy.
I have to say again that I know I am not an expert, but I just want to share what has worked for me so far.
HERE is a great resource for JRT owners, since this breed is seems to be a little more competitive to maintain their "station", and "smart" enough to realize the depth of what is taking place when a baby is added to the family.

There are so many resources to help you if you truly do not want to give up your precious pet! But, I understand that sometimes it may be the only option... My greatest fear is that someone will not seek help when they need it, which may lead to a tragic accident, causing your precious baby to be harmed and your precious pet to be given away... Or, in the absolute worst-case scenario, being euthanized. :(
Good luck to you!


Natalie said...

What a great post! As you know we have Molly who is a JRT who will be 9 years old in February. She has actually been nothing but great with Nolan, but we work with her a lot especially when he is grabbing at her and we are showing him the right way to pet her. She's kind of nonchalant about him so it helps LOL. Now Teddy my cairn terrier loves him! He is always getting in Nolan's face and giving him kisses! I'm happy to say both dogs have reacted very well to a new baby in the house.

Emily said...

Thanks Natalie! :) I'm SO glad that Molly and Teddy are great with Nolan! I know that we work with Oz and B a lot because she has hit the "grab and pull" stage too, and sometimes she doesn't realize how rough she's being with him. Luckily, he's been a good sport! You just gotta love those terrier personalities... :)

Kristin said...

Your Baby is precious!

Thanks for the comment on my WILW Post. I wanted to let you know i updated my blog and I have a new address:

Follow me! :-)