So excited to announce that I am pregnant with a baby girl and that a new pack leader will be entering our family in September! This has brought on a new phase of dog training: prepping the pups for a baby! This is a common topic and there are a plethora of good articles on this issue, but I still thought I’d sum up what I have been doing!

~I want my dogs to learn that all kids deserve a space bubble. When we bring our baby home, they will have to give that baby space at all times (this is what a mother dog would do in the wild and how pack members treat pack leaders). I do not intend on letting the dogs get near the baby for the first few weeks. They can smell her just fine from a distance.

~When we do allow the dogs near the baby, they will only be able to approach with total calmness and submission. No excitement will be tolerated.

~Jumping is totally out. Our pointer used to rear up when we came home until I discovered I was pregnant. My posture, body language, and energy and now different and I’m proud to say that he has jumped up maybe once in the last 4 months as a result.

~We are taking the time to prep them now via my American Girl Doll! If I’m holding the doll in a sling or in my arms, they must give me space. If I have the doll on my lap, they must give me space. If the doll crawls towards them while they are eating they have to back away and give space (see a pattern?).

~We haven’t had great success with this, but that’s why we’re doing it now. It’s my mission to teach the dogs the difference between baby toys and their toys (have you noticed how similar they often look?!). The schnauzer could care less, but it’s hard for Princeton to understand this. He’s great with the doll–hasn’t touched her once–however, stuffed animals are extremely tempting for him. But I am determined to persevere and I think it will get easier once we have more toys to work with and when they are covered with Baby Girl’s scent!

~We don’t have our stroller yet, but once we get it, we are going to go for some substantial hikes with it before baby arrives. First to get the dogs used to the newest pack member, but also to train them to stay away from the wheels, for me to practice holding the stroller and the dogs, to practice breaking and stopping while they do their business, and to find routes that are totally ramped (we still have no ramps by some of our alleys).

If you have tips that have worked for you please feel free to share!