If you don’t like a relaxed life, first bring a dog in the house and if that’s not enough and you absolutely detest sleeping, start a family! Oh! The madness, that follows is incredible. If you want to ensure your toddler and dog co-exist peacefully then you have to have a system in place. If you want your life to be as funny and cute as it seems on those 30 second dogie-baby videos on YouTube, ROUTINE is the key.
It goes without saying that I love my kids, both puppy an baby, but who doesn’t miss partying till the sun rises, sleeping till noon, not cleaning, not cooking and just being in PJs, sit on your couch, binge-watch Netflix till your eyes give out, order pizza and then have some more wine! With a dog and a baby those days are long gone, as a parent you are always on your toes. Here’s a list of things that work for me to balance between my son and my pup, I hope it helps you too.
Separate safe spaces for your dog and toddler
First and foremost, make a safe space for your dog, especially grown-up dogs they need their “me time”. Toddler’s energy can be a bit too much for a grown up dog. If you watch dog’s pack closely and you will notice, alpha dog is quick to show pups their place in the pack. A dog will have the same instinct for your human pup, so to avoid any unpleasantness make safe space for your pup and your child. Establish co-playing time and stick to it.
No rough play between dogs and toddlers
I know by first hand experience you can not win argument with a toddler. He will not understand the logic behind why he should not pull dog’s tail and spin him around the house like a frisbee, but kids understand emotions too well. So, establishing the concept of boo-boo, ouchie or owie at an early age is crucial. You have to constantly remind your toddler that hitting him, throwing stuff at him or pulling his tail hurts him and ask your toddler to show him a gentle touch. If the kid is having a moment then you can hug your dog instead, especially when toddlers are being aggressive towards the dog.
Play constructive games that involve both dog and toddler
You can always think of games that can indulge safe co-playing for the dog and baby. Tug of war can escalate in no time, so I don’t recommend it but fetch is a very popular with my son and pup. They both like to run after the same ball. Seeing my baby and puppy running in a park is pure bliss. You can also engage your little one while you do some mental exercises with the dog, my son loves to watch Sparky in action.
Exercise, exercise & exercise
Exercising and play time are very important for both your kid and dog. Like Cesar Millan say exercising is crucial for a balanced dog. Both toddlers and dogs have surge of energy which if not burnt results in aggressive behavior in dogs and tantrums in toddlers. Bottom line, pent up energy leads to misbehavior. When bored both can be destructive. So, don’t neglect their physical and mental workout.
Have a routine for dog and toddler
When nothing works, Routine works. There was have been researches which supports the fact that having routine help you live a better life. The same applies on your dog as well. Having a routine helps them realize what they can expect during the day. Like any living being uncertainity can be uncomrfotable and result in unpleasantness. Having a routine can avoid both.
Meal time is not a play time
My dog is a saint, he is the most calm dog I have ever seen but no animal likes to be disturbed while eating. It is common sense to keep their meal times as no play time, but sometimes it is easy to get carried away. Watch them doing cute things can be distracting but expecting dog to behave like a human is your own fault. So, to avoid any unwanted situations meal times has to be no play time.
I am eternally grateful to god that like me my son is also growing up with the most wonderful dog there is but be one hundred percent sure that you are ready before you bring dog in your family. They love each other, play and cuddle but there is no short cut to it. It is all about reinforcing good behavior and teaching my son how to be kind and gentle with animals every single day. I get so many compliments about how well-behaved my son is with dogs especially when we are walking down the road or guest visits us or when my son sees the dog on the road but only me and my husband knows its not easy, but so worth it!
Mum Mum Ma..