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Bringing home new baby with 2 BCs

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My husband and I just found out we are expecting our first baby! Very exciting! We can't wait! We are just a little bit nervous about bringing our new baby home (not until January) to 2 high energy border collies. They are siblings from the same litter and have ALWAYS been our 2 babies. We take them everywhere with us and they have always gotten all of our attention. Now, we know a lot will change when the new addition arrives.


My biggest concern is our male - he is always the center of attention and has never been great with kids. He has a very high herding instinct and sudden movements and loud noises make him uneasy. He's always good with us but we also know how he is. I know the baby won't be running around the day we bring him/her home but he has always been a little bit nippy with kids and I don't want that to happen with ours. He is not aggressive what so ever, just a little bit skiddish and nervous. I don't want him to unintentionally hurt the baby.


I feel he will either go one of two ways - he will be AWESOME with the baby and be a protector (which he has always shown that trait towards me), or he will not like the adjustment at all and he will start to act out.


A while back we did foster two BC puppies and he did well with that - but totally different situation and puppies are A LOT different.


Any suggestions on things we can do or things that worked for you would be very helpful! Everyone tells us that bringing our own baby home is different and they will see him/her as more of a pack member rather than some random kid coming to the house but I'm still a little nervous.


I also want to add that we do agility training and play frisbee with him to get his energy out - I know some people with suggest things like that!


Thanks so much in advance! :)


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Congratulations on the new arrival! You two must be so excited!

Per the dogs, a couple things I can think of, off-hand. First, don't establish any expectations for your male dog. He may fall anywhere between the two scenarios you imagine, so just plan to deal with what's in front of you. In both your dogs. :)

Second, always make sure both of your dogs have safe places away from the baby. Baby gates will be your friend. Use them. Even if they get okay with the child as a baby, things may change when s/he starts crawling and walking. Toddlers are very erratic, grabby and noisy, and they can cause reactions in dogs nobody intends - even the dogs. So, make it a priority that the dogs have safe places they can go where the child can't reach them, can't corner them or stare or talk to them. Dogs need time out, just like you will! :)

Third, your priorities are of course going to undergo a massive sea-change, but do your best to keep as much of your dogs' routine and activities normal as circumstances allow. Even if you must change things around, such as altering who feeds or walks them, try to keep the dogs as central to your life as you can. But again, make sure there is separation so both the dogs and the baby can be secure away from each other. Keeping routine, including them in but allowing the dogs the option and opportunity to get away from this strange little personage may be a big help towards a happy transition for all.

Basically just use your common sense and make sure you and hubby both are on board with how things are done and why, to keep the dogs and baby safe and happy.

Best of luck and congratulations again! :)

~ Gloria

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I've never had kids, but I have worked with several different dogs who were having big changes in their lives. EVERYTHING that Gloria says makes much sense to me, read it twice!


My advice is to start now. Get your dogs used to being behind a gate, or crated. Get them used to whatever furniture you will be adding - crib, changing table, stroller, etc. Borrow someone's or buy used if you're not sure what brand/model you'll be getting, just have something.


Get them used to being walked by some one else. If, (God forbid, but it happens) you need to be hospitalized, they'll have a familiar face to walk/feed/play with them. If they sleep in your room, transition them to sleeping in a crate, then move the crate. If you've never sent them to a kennel for a couple days, do that, too.


I believe you can get a recording of a baby crying? Good idea.


Please don't wait to get them started with all the myriad changes. It sounds a bit drastic, but a little rehearsal and preparation goes a long, long way.


Others with more direct experience will chime in, I'm sure. And Congratulations!


Ruth and Gibbs

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Having your dogs crate trained is really helpful with small children. I was able to teach my children from a very young age that the crate was doggie's house and they were not allowed to bother the dog. The dogs learned too and would run to the crate when they needed a break from the small people.


How do your dogs travel in the car? How will they travel in the car with a baby in a car seat? I would decide on that now and begin training your dogs so that when baby arrives there won't be any drastic changes. And get a stroller so you can start training your dogs early to walk along.


Any training issues that you have been ignoring tackle them now. Pulling on leash, not coming when called, ignoring basic commands. I think most dog owners have gaps in training but with a baby in the house you will need a dog that you can rely on to listen to you.


I think the above advice from Urge to Herd is really important. Have someone/place reliable to take care of your dogs if something unexpected happens. My son was born on Saturday morning and was scheduled to go home Sunday morning. It was thought that he had heart trouble and we had to stay at the hospital until we could get an appointment at the children's hospital on Monday which got us home Monday afternoon (No problem with his heart, he is a healthy 22 year old). And my sister ended up needing an emergency c-section with her second child (nothing tragic, my niece just decided to try to enter the world feet first).


Congratulations on your new addition! Enjoy every moment, just like puppies children grow up too fast.

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All good advice.


One thing I would add is that you don't want your dog to become your child's protector. The person being protected often gets bitten too. I appreciate that you may not necessarily mean physical protection from attack but protectiveness is something I would not encourage in a family pet.


Never leave either of your dogs unattended with your child however good they seem. We don't know what is going on in their heads.


I have five dogs and a just two year old granddaughter. Three are fine with her and just go about their own business when he visits. One, the protective one, cannot be trusted and is kept well away in his crate, but even so she is supervised so she doesn't go near. The other has known her all their lives and is good with her but starting to get freaked at her running around the garden. He's a nipper when overexcited so he's put away too if he gets too worried by what she is doing.


As for my granddaughter, she has been brought up to be respectful of dogs but out of the blue she pulled my old terrier's tail. Fortunately he's tolerance personified but unpredictable behaviour can come from dog or child.


I don't want to worry you. Use common sense, respect the fact that your dogs have a right to their own space and I'm sure you'll be fine. Supervision is the key.

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There's an organization I follow on Facebook called Family Paws Parent Education, and their goal is promoting safe and happy interactions between dogs and kids. They share a lot of useful resources that will probably help. They may also be able to point you in the direction of a trainer in your area.


Other than that, I think you've gotten really solid advice. I'd second the thought about not wanting the dog to become too protective. There are just too many ways that could go wrong.


Congratulations and please keep us updated on how it goes! We're getting close to that stage of lives ourselves, and I'm already stressing a little on how Gabe will handle it.

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Another piece of advice I have heard is to bring home a blanket/cloth used with the new baby, and let the dogs sniff it before they meet the baby. This may be a little hard to do since I understand that mom and baby come home very soon after birth, but do your best. At least let them get used to it before introducing them (letting them sniff) the new addition.



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I was worried about my dogs when I got pregnant as well. I had a 14.5yr old border collie who was possessive of me, an 8 year old aussie who is protective/possessive of hubby, and a 2 year old border collie who was terrified of kids. The old dog passed away when I was 5 months pregnant so never had to worry about her. The aussie wasn't scared of kids but I was worried he would be possessive of hubby around the baby like he is with me. With my young dog I was worried about her being freaky and stressed out as she is sound sensitive and generally fearful. Overall the dogs have been great. I think because the baby doesn't really move at first it didn't scare them that she was just there. They seemed curious but not too interested. My young dog is now ok with kids as she was with my daughter from the beginning so slowly got used to the movement, crawling etc. She didn't like if the baby tried to grab at her back or lean over her when she first started walking (only happened once or twice that I didn't catch the baby quick enough). Yet now my daughter can pat her etc and she doesn't shy away at all. I never let either dog get crawled all over or let my daughter get in their faces - it helps that she doesn't like the dogs licking her face or touching her with their noses). There were 2 instances where the aussie snapped at the baby (neither time when I was home - hubby was "watching" ie laying on the couch with the dog laying on the floor beside him and the baby tried to get to him - not sure if she stepped on him or if he was just being possessive but for sure the second time was when he was sore on a front shoulder).

Suprisingly my young dog has not gotten "nippy" herdy with my daughter when she runs around the yard unless she is holding a toy in which case the dog jumps at her a bit wanting the toy. In the past with other kids that ran she would get a little "herdy" and I worried she may nip at them however she never did. She does do the same herdy type behaviour if I run and she's wound up - circles in at me and jumps at me - I've had to do some work with her on a leash and correcting her for jumping at me - so maybe thats why she's better with my kid now?

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One piece of advice I have heard is to start using the baby lotion on yourself, so the dogs get use to the the smell. Obviously baby will smell a but differently, but it is one less "new" thing when baby comes home.

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I don't know if it's already been mentioned but bring the dogs something of the baby's to sniff before baby comes home. A hat, blanket, something. Then they'll be curious but familiar.


Also, go in without the baby first and say hello to them by yourself. Let them get all excited because they won't have seen you for a few days, let them take in the smells, the excitement, and your love. And then once they've gotten over you, introduce baby slowly!


Good luck. My son is 10 months old and my husband and I are chopped liver now. The baby is Cal's best friend in the world and she sleeps in his room.

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