One of the most common questions I’ve been getting is: how is Penny adjusting to the baby?! That is tied with, have you bought Jack a saddle for her yet!? (Enter side eye emoji here.)
I never had major concerns about Penny and the baby. If you follow me on Instagram, you’d know my concerns were more about Penny and the baby gear. She’s literally afraid of everything.
We read articles about how to ‘bring home baby’ and many of them mentioned bringing a baby blanket home from the hospital so Penny could smell the baby’s scent. So many people said Oh, we just brought the blanket home and then there was this instantaneous baby/dog bond. That’s either bull shit, or we pulled the short straw, because Penny wanted absolutely nothing to do with it.
Yes, she was scared of the blanket.
When we brought Jack home, she totally freaked out. Not in a bad, aggressive way – but she ran upstairs to her “happy place” on the couch to look out the window. She ignored us, and that was fine. We left her alone for a bit, and eventually made our way into the room and sat as far away from her as possible. One of us held the baby while the other went to pet Penny, then we’d switch. After a while, she slowly made her way over to sniff the new ‘puppy’ we’d brought home, and we gave her positive reinforcement.
After a few days, the interest grew, but she still kept her distance.
I know there are do’s and don’ts for introducing a dog to a new baby, but I also think every dog is different, so you kinda sorta have to go with your gut and work off your dog’s specific personality. For us, we wanted to spook Penny as little as possible, so we went about our regular routines, except there was a baby present.
Surprisingly, she’s come around, and rather quickly. She’s gentle around Jack, like she knows he’s fragile. I mean, she’s a dog, but she definitely senses it. More than anything, she’s become super interested. She literally sits and watches him, and wanted to sniff him all.the.time.
Making sure she gets enough exercise is crucial. On the days we don’t walk her, she’s the most annoying animal on the planet, and it’s hard not to lose my patience. Thankfully, Great Danes need minimal exercise and they sleep up to 18 hours a day, so in theory it’s not that hard to meet her daily activity needs. But some days, it really is that hard.
But with patience and a little dedication on our end, it’s been working out quite well. I also contribute it to the training we did with 2SpeakDog before I even got pregnant. Investing in dog training was worth every penny (see what I did there?)
And hey, she’s even coming around to the baby gear. What’s next? Realizing the vacuum isn’t a deathly predator out to murder everyone? (Let’s not get crazy…)