Properly restraining your dog can be the difference between life or death for the passengers and the dog in the case of a sudden stop or car crash.
Alyssa whom I met through my Instagram account, messaged me recently:
“My husband has a truck and I have an SUV. The dogs can go in my SUV trunk, although they aren’t secured to anything. And I’m realizing in my husband's truck there wouldn’t be anywhere for them to go besides right next to the car seat. My dogs have been amazing with the little one, but my anxiety just can’t help but think WHAT IF? I already feel like my trunk isn’t “secure” enough, but right next to the car sear is even worse!”
That WHAT IF question is the one that prompted me to look into it as having a 60 pound loose dog next to 6-pound babies didn’t feel safe at all.
Every dog and owner have unique and sometimes subtle ways of communicating with each other. When you have a baby, it is unavoidable that the unique language you and your dog have developed together will be interrupted. Your dynamic will change.
Your dog brings you a toy and barks excitedly! Playtime! Yay!
Followed by snuggles on the couch, your dog’s face and paws in your lap.
You sit on the couch holding your newborn baby.
Your dog brings the toy over and barks! You tell your dog, “QUIET!” and take the toy away.
Your dog jumps on the couch to get attention, but your lap and hands are unavailable. You tell your dog, “OFF!”
Your dog will try the same behaviors that have worked in the past. When those behaviors don’t work, they may try other ways to get your attention, e.g., by demand barking or being jumpy and pushy. Or extra clingy.
Many parents interpret these...
It is such an exciting milestone when your baby starts solids. But remember: 1) your baby will drop a LOT of their food, and 2) Your dog might try to snag it before it even hits the floor. Let’s talk about it!
Your dog waits under the highchair for all the dropped food.
Your dog stays on their dog bed or outside the kitchen during the meal but is released to clean up the floor at the end.
A gate or closed door separates your dog, and you let your dog clean up the floor after the baby is done eating.
Your dog is separated, and you clean up yourself.
My preferred option is the training option (#2). Lola is in a down - stays put until the kids are done eating. But life gets busy, and I don’t always have time to feed my kids, unload the dishwasher, cook, and train my dog.
I love using a retractable gate when my kids eat at their kids' table in the kitchen. After we clean up the table and if the leftovers are safe for her to eat,...
Anytime a child enters your home–with or without their parent – you are liable if a dog-related incident occurs. Playdates can be tricky to navigate, even if you have a great system at home with your child and dog.
I love to organize playdates, inside and outside our house. Pre-pandemic, we used to host drop-off playdates when my kids turned 3.5 years old. Me, Lola, often another dog (for training), and 4 to 5 young children.
I assumed supervision and going over the rules would be enough. Boy, was I wrong!
What I didn't expect:
What is important to remember:
The dog training industry is unregulated in many countries. Literally, anyone can call themselves a dog behaviorist or a dog trainer. When looking for a trainer, ask for certifications*, especially if you don’t know much about that trainer.
*At the end of this blog post, you’ll find a list of the recommended certifications (the US and some international).
If you have a local trainer you like a lot, great! But if you don’t–or prefer remote meetings–many trainers work online. During the pandemic, it was often the only way to “see a trainer.” Many behaviors can be successfully addressed with cameras during online training sessions or group classes. Some trainers work exclusively online and offer training packages and programs.
In some cases, online sessions are more beneficial than in-person sessions. For example:
Easily distracted pups
SF Puppy Prep is a reputable dayschool for young puppies in San Francisco, CA. At...
Meet Michelle: Michelle is a sought-after dog trainer and mom to a 4-year-old girl, two dogs, and one cat.
Meet her fur babies: Her dog Izzy is friendly with all people BUT nervous with younger kids and barks if young kids come too close. Frankie is neutral with kids but nervous of adult strangers if they rush her. She will bark if strangers are looming, staring, and trying to pet or touch her.
I asked Michelle to share her story and what she did to overcome the obstacles that come with introducing a baby to your pet-friendly home, as I know it could help many parents who are nervous about that transition.
will give you many ideas
will help you to have realistic expectations about your baby and your dogs
will give you HOPE!
Disclaimer: If your dog has displayed aggressive behaviors toward children, reach out to a certified dog trainer or veterinary behaviorist.
I started prep work in the second trimester and focused on ...
“My son can’t stop trying to pull the dog’s hair and tail, even if I repeat a thousand times that he’s hurting the dog. I feel like I’m constantly correcting one or both of them.”
“I have a 2.5-year-old who will not leave my English lab alone - grabs her face, tries to touch her eyes, grabs her fur really tight. All of these are uncomfortable for the dog.”
“My toddler is extremely rough with our dog. We don't let them alone together. We never let him rough handle her. But even when we are right there, he is super quick to grab her paw or jump on her when she is sitting. I am concerned that she'll snap at some point, or it's negatively affecting her.”
I asked Caley Kukla, M.Ed., for her advice, as a behavior specialist and parent coach who integrates brain science and empathy into discipline practices. Caley is also a mom to two young children and a dog. Here’s what she has to say:
Did you decide to get a dog as a couple before having a child, or did you and your pup come as a “package deal”?
Or, are you a single parent or a couple with young children looking to add a dog to your family but not sure when and how?
I’ll walk you through different scenarios to help you prepare your dog for future kids or help you choose the best moment for your family to get your dream dog.
Many couples get a dog before they decide to have children. It's a good way to learn responsibility and selflessness. Dogs teach us better planning skills and to be more flexible. And, if you get your dog as a puppy, you’ll also get a taste of the inevitable sleep deprivation that comes with a baby.
If you plan on kids entering the picture at some point -no matter how far down the line- getting your dog comfortable around children is important.
When socializing a dog with unfamiliar or familiar children, it is extremely important...
Does your dog steal your baby’s toys, diapers, pacifiers, or clothes? Sometimes you get lucky and your dog magically KNOWS not to touch the baby's toys. But, if you’re like most, you need a strategy for keeping your baby's stuff out of your dog's mouth, and your dog out of harm's way.
Babies bring A LOT of new and organic smells that are exciting to your dog. Dogs are natural scavengers. Scavenging is a survival mechanism and an instinct that’s strong in most dogs. Introducing a baby to your house can potentially trigger your dog’s scavenger tendencies in new ways.
Many baby items can be stimulating for your dog, or even mistaken for food. Here’s a list of common baby items that can be uncontrollably enticing for your dog:
If your dog gets, consumes, or destroys one of these things, don’t...
If I had to name the number one behavior people ask me questions about, it would be LICKING. Some of you don’t mind it at all, and some of you can’t stand it.
The chances are, your dog doesn’t just lick the baby. Oftentimes, dogs have been licking their family members for years, it is not new behavior.
With consistency, training, and management, your dog can learn it is okay to lick you and not the baby. However, it is important to understand that if this behavior has been allowed and rewarded (even unintentionally), a negative reaction from you when they try to lick the baby, may be confusing to your dog at first.
It could be rewarding to your dog.
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