I've had a few people reach out to me asking how we prepared Ernie for Ford's arrival and to be honest, we didn't really do anything. Ernie totally knew I was pregnant from the beginning and was very protective of me which is annoying but also kinda cute. He thoroughly enjoyed cuddling on top of my giant belly and slept right by my side every night. He was curious when we set up baby gear and wanted to lay on every single piece of baby clothing but other than that... we didn't really do much. I know some people go to extreme measures to prepare their dogs for baby but I wasn't about to carry around a baby doll for him to get used to it. Tough luck Ernie, this baby is here to stay!
Coming home from the hospital was a bit of a blur so we forgot to get the boys initial meeting on camera but Ernie was very interested in Ford for about 2 seconds, gave him a few licks, and was ready to play ball.
We've made it a point to make sure Ernie still feels loved in our family and it seems as if Ernie is as happy as can be if someone is throwing a ball for him. I quickly learned to maneuver hands free nursing so I could get in some QT with Ernie. We also continue to let him sleep in bed with us which I think makes him feel special. Now that Ford is in his own room, we get to play and cuddle with Ernie after he goes to sleep.
About once or twice a day Ernie will come over to Ford while he's on the ground and give him a face full of licks which I let him do but cut him off after a few seconds. I don't want him to be afraid of Ford or think interacting with Ford is "bad" (similarly when you tell kids "no", they just want to do it more). We say, "that's very nice Ernie but no more kisses". A couple of times I've caught Ernie camped out by Ford almost as if he is protecting him. Even though he doesn't seem to care too much about Ford, he definitely knows he's a part of the pack.
Ernie I think it'll be a few more months til Ford can throw that for you!
In the past week Ford has started to notice Ernie! He will follow him around the room and even turn his head or body to watch him. I am trying to use Ernie's name when Ford watches him so Ford can start understanding who he is. I don't think it will be long before Ford really starts getting a kick out of Ernie and they become best buds! I see how much my 14 month old niece loves her dog and I know Ford will be the same way. I can't wait to watch both of my boys bond and grow up together, nothing like the relationship between a boy and his dog. Oh and added bonus, tons of research shows that babies who grow up with dogs are less likely to develop colds and ear infections as infants (article here).
So I guess this post really doesn't answer the question on how to prepare your dogs for baby but really just give you a glimpse into our home and the dynamic between Ernie and Ford. Ernie has never shown aggression towards Ford and is still his crazy, stubborn, wild party of 1 self. One way we have seen Ernie act out (besides going absolutely nuts when people knock on the door) is stealing random baby items. He won't chew things up and is really good when we say "This is Ford's toy", but we've gotten home from being gone and found pacifiers, onesies, and even my breast pads in random parts of the house. The culprit... Ernie!
Did you prepare your dogs for bringing a baby home?