Posts Tagged ‘pets’

Helping Pets Adjust to a Mobile Baby

Monday, October 17th, 2016

When researching about pets and babies when I was pregnant with my first, I found lots of information about introducing a new baby to your pets.  Other than Peanut needing to try out all the new baby stuff, once we brought our babies home, our pets, Midnight (a lab mix) and Peanut (an orange kitty) adapted well.  Midnight loved the baby instantly both times.  Peanut was a little jealous of the attention the baby received but adjusted quickly.

Introducing the girls was the easy part.  Once they started to crawl, and then walk, we needed to teach them how to treat the animals so that both our pets and children were safe.  This is an ongoing process, but we want both our pets and kids to be safe and happy.  Most of the following rules we have for interacting with the animals are common sense, but they take monitoring and reminding the kids how to be kind to the pets.  Some days I’m amazed at how many times I request that my 3-year-old moves her face away from the cat’s!

  1. If the dog or cat is sleeping, let them sleep and leave them alone.

  2. Keep your face away from the dog or cat’s.  Do not face nudge the cat, even if she has done so to you in the past.

  3. Stay clear of the dog and cat when they’re eating.

  4. No grabbing the dog and cat’s tails, legs, or ears.

  5. Do not try to ride or climb on the dog.

  6. Pet nicely (from head to tail) and limit the duration of pets.  Be conscious your pets’ body language so you know when to stop petting.

  7. When out walking, always ask another dog’s owner if the dog is friendly before trying to pet him.

In addition to the above rules, we have spaces for each pet to go that is their personal area so when the kids get to be too much, they can retreat and have some peace.  Both our pets are very tolerant and understanding of kids.  This does not mean that we let our guard down.  We love our kids and our fur babies, so we constantly watch how they interact and remind the kids how to appropriately treat the pets so that everyone is safe and happy in our home.

Becky Nagel is a stay at home mom to two girls, a three year old and a one year old, in Denver, CO who enjoys cooking for her family, running, and hiking.

 

 

Introducing Your Baby to Your Pets

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Introducing Your Baby to Your PetsBringing home your new child is incredibly exciting for you–but what about your pets? If you’re like me, your pets were your “fur-babies” first and they enjoyed copious amounts of exercise and attention. Our dogs and cats had been around babies and children, but never had to cohabitate with one and share mom and dad’s affection.

First, your pets probably have an inkling that something is changing. They are seeing your body change (and your scent change) if you are pregnant, and whether you are adopting or giving birth to your child they will see you preparing the home. Some pets may get nervous at this point.

There are a few things you can do to prepare your pets for a new child’s arrival, even before she comes through the door for the first time. For cats, here is a great article on making the transition as smooth as possible. For us, the biggest thing we had to do with our kitties before we brought our son home was decide which baby items or areas were off-limits to the cats, and enforce this from the beginning. Personally, our cats had a much easier time adjusting to a baby than our dogs.

Preparing your dog is a little different. There are a lot of great training tips out there that will help you prep your pooch. A well-trained dog will be a real blessing when your hands are full of seven million things, which they will be, often. With the influx of baby gear your home may be experiencing, don’t forget to leave a spot where your dog(s) can retreat to for some quiet alone time if things get too stressful. If it’s possible, whether you have dogs or cats, sending somebody home with an article of clothing or a towel that the baby or child has slept with can help acquaint both dogs and cats with the child before you bring him home.

When you first get home with a baby, give your pets some time to be excited to see you and then calm down before introducing them. There are tons of good tips out there on how to handle the introduction; it’s really important to remain calm, have a second person there to facilitate the introduction and reward positive behavior, and to pay close attention to the pet’s reaction. If you have any reason to believe you have a pet that may not handle being around a child well, this is again something to tackle before the child is home; a good dog trainer is worth their weight in gold and can help you with this (and also advise you if they feel the dog is not going to do well with a child even with training).

Finally, if you are bringing home an older child, you will also need to consider your child’s reaction to pets, and you will handle the introduction a little differently. If you are preparing a welcome book, make sure to include pictures of your family’s pets. Hopefully you can get information before hand on if the child is frightened by pets. Toddlers can be more overwhelming for pets to adjust to than a newborn, so consider your pet’s disposition as well and again, contact a trainer if you need assistance.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two boys and a steady stream of foster dogs. She and her family currently live in Japan.

Taming Your Toddler Around Your Family Pet

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Taming Your Toddler Around the Family PetThe bond between a child and a pet is a remarkable one, but how do you tame your toddler around your family pet and help keep both safe and happy?

Benefits of Pets for Toddlers:

Ever notice how confident a child is when reading a book or talking in baby babble to the family pet? Having a pet in your home can help your toddler with learning. Kids seem to be more relaxed around the family pet, rather than a family member.

Animals also help comfort kids–their soft texture and no-judgment personalities can be comforting to any toddler. Pets can help with health issues, too. According to the Medical College of Georgia, having multiple pets in your home can decrease the amount of allergies your toddler develops.

Teach your toddler responsibility while helping them learn to feed the family dog or give the family cat her daily treats. My home is the home of Kate, a 9-year-old brown tabby who would rather sleep than play. If my daughter just won’t leave the kitty alone, we use the opportunity to learn. She helps mommy by getting kitty her treats. She gets them out and puts them away. She is the one responsible for feeding them to kitty. Pets develop nurturers in young people and teach them about their world, one lick or bark at a time.

Tips on Taming Your Toddler:

Here are a few tips on how to tame your toddler around the family pet:

  • Lead by example. Show your little one how to treat the animal gently and with care.
  • Don’t punish when your little one lashes out. Be patient with your toddler. Remember, they’re still learning. Use the opportunity to teach.
  • Reward good behaviors. If you see your little one treat the family cat nicely or put up their treat bag, make a point to reward this behavior.
  • Teach using visual aids. Get your toddler a few fun animal toys and teach them how to take care of their pet. They will love the toy, and you will love the chance to show them something new.

When all else fails, remember that your family pet is a part of your family, but ultimately, your kids come first. We recently had to get rid of one of our cats due to issues at home. While it made me very sad, I also knew it was the best choice for our family at this time. The kitty has a new, loving home, and Johanna still has her other kitty to love on.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana who has always been a cat person.