Swings and Car Seats, Oh My!

We just installed the car seat base the fake baby is in! Oreo was a little nervous/excited around the carrier-another new gadget for her to get used to. We will have to practice walking around with the fake baby in there. 

We have also been practicing putting the baby in the swing and having the music and motion going. The first time we tried it Oreo could care less, and the second time she checked it out then relaxed. We need to continue practicing. Next up-putting the dog gates up in the house! 

Baby hat I made! 

Home Stretch  

So the nursery is almost done and I’m in my third trimester. Oreo has gotten bored of the baby doll and isn’t bothered by the baby crying I play on my phone. We’ve been busy putting lots of things together for baby ! 

Last night we finished the swing and now we only have to put together the stroller and car seat. Time certainly has flown and there’s still more to do and always more ways to prepare. 

I bought a 5 pack of plastic small containers at the dollar store for dog treats. In each room I’ve placed a container of treats in case they are needed to praise or distract the dog. 

Is Oreo going to be okay with visitors? No, that’s why I made a sign for the door that states that we have a barking dog and a sleeping baby-please don’t knock. If we are expecting you-text or call. If not please call! 

We plan on utilizing the fenced in back yard and my parents house (up the steeet). However, we aren’t too worried as Oreo gets along with my close family. I do want to make sure and watch out for signs of being overly protective of the baby.

We still need to put up the dog gates in the house and get her used to baby smells. I need to open all those diaper cream and other fun smells for her to get used to! Should be interesting but we are doing our best to prepare her! 

Tons of Toys and Treats

I went a little crazy on Amazon and ordered plenty of toys and treats for Oreo. Although she could smell them through the box, she has to wait until baby arrives for them. 

It’s great to have kongs or other toys you can fill and freeze to prepare for baby. When baby arrives and Oreo is over excited, these toys will keep her busy but also give her a reward if she is calm. They can also be used as a way to reward dogs who are in their safe areas. These are areas behind baby gates or on their beds where they are calm and far enough away to relax. We ordered 3 additional kongs, bones, and special treats. Oreo will learn when we are feeding the baby it’s a good thing- because she gets good things at the same time. Additionally calm behavior can be rewarded. 

Other plans to prepare her are to get all the smells and baby equipment out after the baby shower. We painted the nursery, got the rug, and have to pick up the crib. Best to get your pup ready asap! 

In other news it’s almost Christmas! Yay! 

First Steps

The first steps in getting ready for a baby are to always brush up on basic commands, in all areas around and inside the house. The only thing I really want to work on with Oreo is the “go to bed” command. I was never dedicated enough to see that through. 

We are currently working with a baby doll. Do dogs know it’s not a real baby? Of course! However, many dogs aren’t sure what to think of their parents carrying something around in their arms all day. Some dogs will think it’s a toy, while others will be curious and some will be scared. 

Oreo was very excited to see what was in my arms when I carried around the baby. She jumped and followed me everywhere, trying to sniff and nibble on the baby. 

The goal is to have your dog be bored around the “baby.” We want the dogs to be calm and act like it’s no big deal to have the baby in the room. This is very difficult with reactive dogs because many times they are afraid of anything new. 

To keep Oreo calm I used treats to first get her to stay on her bottom. Every time she sat down while I was holding the baby I gave her a treat. Eventually, she expected treats every time she saw the baby. Baby = good things. 

The treats became a bit of a problem, or rather the begging did. I had to wait longer periods to reward calm behavior otherwise she started begging. Eventually, she became calm and bored. Bringing the doll out didn’t cause her to run up to me for a treat or to explore. I took the baby outside on walks, on the patio, in the kitchen, and when sitting down. My husband practiced the same. The more Oreo saw the baby, the more calm she became. 

Are we done training ? Oh no, this is just the beginning. We need to work on baby sounds, smells, gadgets and more. One small step at a time. 

Baby Training 

We are expecting! This is a very exciting time and it’s also a time to get Oreo prepared. 

I’ve been doing my research, getting some more Kongs to fill in the freezer, baby gates, a baby doll, and even a fence in the yard! 

Right now she’s hesitant to go and stay outside without us, but with some time she will love it! 

Lots of training to do, so you will see many more posts soon! 

Hey, Can You Blame Her?

Oreo, my parents and I went up to the lake house. We haven’t been there since winter, so some things were new to Oreo. 

Imagine your family bringing you somewhere, but when they try to tell you, you don’t understand. It’s like they are talking another language. Imagine you go to this new, unknown place and you see giant gadgets and things you could’ve never dreamed up. You aren’t sure what they do and you can’t understand what your family is telling you about them. 

That’s how dogs feel, especially reactive dogs. They see something new and strange. They have two options: fight or flight. If they are on a leash they only have one option: fight. 

Some of the lake was familiar to Oreo, but some was new or she hasn’t seen it in a long time. She enjoyed laying on the deck, sniffing the grass and barking at deer. 

There were some things she didn’t enjoy: moving boats, fishing rods, and the space (crack) where two docks connect. 

I knew she was scared because she gets the whale eye-you can see lots of the white of her eyes. She also pants loudly and barks. Sometimes dogs will show signs that let you know they are scared right away and sometimes you have to pay close attention and know what to look for. 

Signs your dog is stressed: 

  • Whale eye 
  • Panting/loud breathing
  • Barking
  • Ears down
  • Tail between legs 
  • Behaves frantically-looking all over, jerky movement
  • Hiding
  • Licking lips
  • Yawning
  • Grimacing 
  • Drooling, growling, shaking

Of course you have to take these behaviors in context. Oreo will grab treats more aggressively from my hand when she is nervous. This means I need to move further away from her stressor or remove her from the situation. 

So when your dog encounters something new and scary say, “Hey, can you blame her?” Either remove her from the situation, train her, or move her further from her stressor.

Chickens and Fences Oh My!

As you can see the chicken has survived longer than any other squeaky toy in history. Oreo even has to rest between chewing it! 

In other news, the neighbors across the way are getting a fence. Yay! Our front yard looks right into their backyard and they have 3 dogs! 

When getting a fence for a reactive dog you should do your homework. 

1. DON’T get an electric fence. If you have a reactive dog they are likely to be petrified, more stressed, or even shut down. 

2. Get a fence that is tall enough. Make sure your dog cannot jump it. Also, if you have nosey neighbos you don’t want them looking over at you in your bikini getting a tan. 

3. Make sure your dog can’t get under the fence. If your dog is a digger ask them to install the fence lower. 

4. Make sure the fence is closed off. What I mean is, don’t have open slats or spaces where kids or people can stick their hands in to try to pet your dog. We don’t want anyone missing any hands. 

There can be other issues with fences such as fence running, refusing to come in, and digging. Most of these can be solved with a designated digging spot, treats and training. Have a happy Friday!