Bringing home our son was wonderful and nerve-wracking. Not only were we totally new to this whole parenting thing, but we were already exhausted, and had two fur babies at home aching to know where we had been for three days. These babies were about to meet our newest baby and we weren’t entirely sure how they would take it. Willoughby had been my only baby for 7 years. That is, until we adopted Rocket a year and a half ago. And Rocket had been a rescue whom had flourished in a loving home, but clearly had some baggage from his past and remained skittish at times. Even though they’re both our sweet pups, there was a level of concern—of not knowing what to expect when introducing our newborn to the dogs.
Preparing the dogs to meet baby
Our attempts to prepare them included the following:
- introducing them to children
- playing the sounds of babies crying
- sending home clothing the baby had worn to familiarize themselves with his scent
- we had a plan that we would greet the dogs without the baby before bringing him inside
Honestly, the most useful of these attempts was the last one. My mother stayed at our house with the dogs so that she could visit us daily at the hospital without driving for multiple hours a day, so she brought home baby items each time she went home from visiting the hospital – hats, shirts, blankets. Our dogs are so delightfully dense that, despite being the recommendation all over the internet, playing baby sounds did absolutely nothing to prepare them. They didn’t even pay attention to the sound coming from the speakers while I was pregnant – they totally tuned it out.
When we finally arrived home from the hospital, we walked in in shifts. Mark, my husband, walked inside and greeted the dogs first. Then, my mother came out to the car to get the baby while I walked in to greet the dogs. Once their excitement was out and they had been petted and scratched and praised, we put on their leashes and brought them out front. I then took Little Man from my mom and held him low enough to be level with the dogs, but only within sniffing distance while Mark held the leashes. The dogs were interested in him, but got over their curiosity rather quickly. Once we had the dogs meet baby brother and they were settled, having happily sniffed him, we all went in the house as a family.