We have 2 dogs and a cat. My older dog has a VERY strong aversion to children (due to some poorly handled situations when he was a puppy as well as a fear of how to interact), and my cat is not declawed (I feel like declawing animals is inhumane). So when we brought Kensington home from the hospital I was a little worried about how the animals would interact with her. Not to mention, our dogs bark a lot – the very last thing I wanted to happen was for them to wake her up. And I’ll be honest, there was an adjustment, but I’ll share some of the things we did to make the transition a little easier.
- I sent my husband home a day early from the hospital with a blanket that the baby had been wrapped in to give the dogs – this way they could familiarize themselves with her smell before we arrived. I do think it helped a bit because they did a lot of sniffing but didn’t seem surprised to see her when we got home.
- We were VERY careful not to leave the baby on the floor or in dog height unsupervised. We wanted to make sure all of their interactions were monitored for safety (the last thing we wanted was a horror story from our pets being OVERLY affectionate).
- We made the choice to LET our dogs bark. Right from the get go. They barked when amazon packages arrived (which was often) and when David got home from work. It ended up being a great thing. Some of the best advice I got before we had Kensington was not to shelter her from noises. Let her nap mid-day but in the middle of the living room, with the vacuum going, the TV on, and the dogs barking. That way 1. she adjusts to sleeping basically anywhere and 2. she gets on a day/night schedule faster. This ended up being our motto and now, she doesn’t even notice or stir when the dogs bark. Its glorious.
- We let BOTH the pets and Kensington explore each other. Now my dogs and cat basically let her run all over them. My cat will play “chase” with my daughter where he lies in wait until she reaches him and then moves a few feet away again. And repeat. It actually helped teach her to crawl (better than any toy).
Ultimately I think its good for the pets AND my daughter to have each other. It helps them all socialize. That being said, had any of my pets had difficulty adjusting BABY COMES FIRST! She would’ve been prioritized over them no matter what, but we got very lucky.