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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone

I'm 6 months pregnant at the moment and my husband and I are already parents to a 8,5 year old male German shepherd, Jackson.

As you can imagine, Jackson has been the center of our attention for all these past years since we don't have any other children.

He seems to have a special bond with me since he always follows me around the house, lays next to me, sleeps where I sleep (but not on our bed) etc.

He's doesn't like other dogs or cats, we tried to fix this with two different trainers but nothing seemed to be working in the long run. However, he's extremely friendly with people, even the ones he meets for the very first time, to the point where he can get too excited! He's not a jumper any more, but he can't contain himself when a visitor comes to our house.

Due to a recent incident in my country, where a 9 year old Rottweiler killed the 3 month girl of the family, I'm wondering how I can prepare my boy for my little girl who's on the way. He's never had the chance to be around so small babies plus I'm afraid that he'll feel jealous with me holding the baby all the time. He won't be left out of course, I'll try my best to give him as much attention as possible, he'll always be my big boy after all! But I can't stop the dark thoughts from coming into my mind all the time!

Any similar experiences or advice you'd like to share with me?

Thank you in advance!
 

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Chances are he’ll be fine. Even if things do well, don’t leave them together unsupervised. My two GSDs did great when we had children. I’d use this time to work on your dog’s basic obedience (a strong leave-it command is great). Insomuch as it’s possible, you might also try to accustom him to the schedule/routine he will have after the baby arrives (perhaps that means less of your attention ?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We just had that discussion here https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-behavior/757643-help-new-granchild-house.html

Do you have a way to separate him from the baby where he can be a part of the family but not have direct access?
No, not really any way I can think of without the dog being left out, which I believe is more dangerous.

Isn't it going to be worse for him if he doesn't have access to the baby? With my constant presence of course, they will never ever be left alone.

As far as the discussion you suggested, I read it but there are many differences along with the similarities. For example my German shepherd is not territorial and he's extremely nice with everyone who comes to our house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Chances are he’ll be fine. Even if things do well, don’t leave them together unsupervised. My two GSDs did great when we had children. I’d use this time to work on your dog’s basic obedience (a strong leave-it command is great). Insomuch as it’s possible, you might also try to accustom him to the schedule/routine he will have after the baby arrives (perhaps that means less of your attention ?)
I would never leave them unsupervised anyway. I wouldn't leave the baby unsupervised even if I didn't have a dog. I thought about giving him less attention too so that's he gets used to it. I also play babies crying sounds on YouTube to see his reactions, he doesn't seem to care at all and I always praise him for that. Do you think that getting a doll and treating it like a baby would also help? I know it seems stupid, but it's been crossing my mind as an idea lately.
 

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No, not really any way I can think of without the dog being left out, which I believe is more dangerous.

Isn't it going to be worse for him if he doesn't have access to the baby? With my constant presence of course, they will never ever be left alone.

As far as the discussion you suggested, I read it but there are many differences along with the similarities. For example my German shepherd is not territorial and he's extremely nice with everyone who comes to our house.
If he is extremely gentle and you are positive there is no danger, you can carefully introduce them but please don’t ever leave them alone. How is he around other children or small animals? Never mind, I see he’s not good with dogs and cats. What if the baby crying brings out the same reaction that a small animal does?
 

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I think the idea of using a doll for training is an excellent idea! This training should emphasize the need (and expectation) for your dog to give you space when you're handling the baby. I would include the baby's room as an area the dog doesn't enter. If he learns now to stay out of the nursery it will be easier to reinforce once the baby arrives and the dog won't associate the sudden arrival of the baby with the new rules of the household. Establish the rules now, not after the baby arrives when you'll be distracted and sleep deprived and when the dog's curiosity and interest will be the most intense.



Once the baby is born but not home from the hospital, allow the dog to smell the baby's scent on a receiving blanket. Wrap the doll in it, call the dog over and allow him to get a good sniff or two. Then instruct the dog to "leave it" and reward the dog when it does. By calling the dog over, and then sending it away you are telling the dog that YOU control when he is allowed to be near the baby and when he needs to leave the baby and by extension, you alone.


Good Luck and congratulations!


PR
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No, not really any way I can think of without the dog being left out, which I believe is more dangerous.

Isn't it going to be worse for him if he doesn't have access to the baby? With my constant presence of course, they will never ever be left alone.


As far as the discussion you suggested, I read it but there are many differences along with the similarities. For example my German shepherd is not territorial and he's extremely nice with everyone who comes to our house.
If he is extremely gentle and you are positive there is no danger, you can carefully introduce them but please don’t ever leave them alone. How is he around other children or small animals? Never mind, I see he’s not good with dogs and cats. What if the baby crying brings out the same reaction that a small animal does?

The only sound he doesn't like so far is the sound of the thunders during a thunderstorm. He needs to be reassured at those times.

As I said earlier I play babies' crying sounds every now and then to see his reactions but he doesn't seem to care at all. I even play them loudly when he's asleep so that he wakes up because of the crying, again he doesn't even get up from where he's laying.

I won't ever leave him alone with the baby, he always follows me around the house anyway so it won't be hard to even take him with me in the bathroom. The baby wouldn't be left unsupervised even if we didn't have a dog.
 

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Very early on we would walk the baby in his little carseat/stroller and the dogs could walk with us. On a leash at heel if necessary, mine were chill doing it off the leash but my road is unusual

Teach a place command now. You can send your dog to place and praise him for doing it then he is near you but sort of removed while you are say making a bottle or changing a diaper.

With service dogs I practice sitting down in a chair and having them get into their spot and settle immediately. I do it at home so when in a waiting room they have muscle memory for it, I just sat down now you either go under or beside. You could practice having your dog learn a "spot" by the chair where you might sit to rock or feed baby and get really good at it. Then you send your dog to his spot to settle befire you sit down with baby
These ideas are kimd of assuming the dog is basically okay with baby and you just are giving him some structure and something he can do that'a right to get praised so he isn't being ignored or corrected all the time when you have baby.
 

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Also you can throw some cheapie bath mats around in different locations to send the dog to so you can use thst skill in more than one place. There are a bazillian videos online about teaching place. I've almost exclusively done it woth clicker and treats and then spatial pressure to not release themselves before release word. Works good, mostly very positive and low /no stress for the dog. One so into his spot i've never put any pressure on him to stay
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think the idea of using a doll for training is an excellent idea! This training should emphasize the need (and expectation) for your dog to give you space when you're handling the baby. I would include the baby's room as an area the dog doesn't enter. If he learns now to stay out of the nursery it will be easier to reinforce once the baby arrives and the dog won't associate the sudden arrival of the baby with the new rules of the household. Establish the rules now, not after the baby arrives when you'll be distracted and sleep deprived and when the dog's curiosity and interest will be the most intense.



Once the baby is born but not home from the hospital, allow the dog to smell the baby's scent on a receiving blanket. Wrap the doll in it, call the dog over and allow him to get a good sniff or two. Then instruct the dog to "leave it" and reward the dog when it does. By calling the dog over, and then sending it away you are telling the dog that YOU control when he is allowed to be near the baby and when he needs to leave the baby and by extension, you alone.


Good Luck and congratulations!


PR
The nursery is still under construction right now so he's not allowed in there anyway and he doesn't seem to care very much.

However for the first months or maybe a year, the baby will be probably sleeping in her crib next to us in our bedroom where the dog has been allowed so far.

I'll definitely try the doll training, combined with the crying sounds. I'd like to give him the closest experience he can get to what he's going to face in a few months.


Thank you all for your time and advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Very early on we would walk the baby in his little carseat/stroller and the dogs could walk with us. On a leash at heel if necessary, mine were chill doing it off the leash but my road is unusual

Teach a place command now. You can send your dog to place and praise him for doing it then he is near you but sort of removed while you are say making a bottle or changing a diaper.

With service dogs I practice sitting down in a chair and having them get into their spot and settle immediately. I do it at home so when in a waiting room they have muscle memory for it, I just sat down now you either go under or beside. You could practice having your dog learn a "spot" by the chair where you might sit to rock or feed baby and get really good at it. Then you send your dog to his spot to settle befire you sit down with baby
These ideas are kimd of assuming the dog is basically okay with baby and you just are giving him some structure and something he can do that'a right to get praised so he isn't being ignored or corrected all the time when you have baby.
He already knows his spot and the spot command in our living room, but I like the idea of creating more spots for him around the house!

Thank you!
 
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