Many already know that a doula is a trained professional who provides mothers with physical, emotional, and informational support before, during and shortly after childbirth. However, in this article we’ll use the term “doggy doula” in order to describe a special service, designed to help prepare expecting families who own a dog for life with a baby.
“Wait, So I Need A Doggy Doula Too?!” Family Pupz’ Doggy Doula service stems from the need to provide information and management strategies for expecting and new families who plan on integrating a home with a dog and a baby. This need came about because it’s all too common for many expecting families (with the best of intentions) to believe that their dog, and their newborn, will magically become best friends, or that a new dog will seamlessly and effortlessly integrate into a home with a child.
It’s not hard to understand why. For many expecting parents, they do not know that prepping their home for a life with a dog and a baby is something that they need to do, due to a lack of widespread awareness and education.
A Dog’s Perspective
The fact is, the introduction of a newborn into the home could be a very stressful event in a dog’s life. Think about it: everything that a dog has known, particularly the attention she gets, the space that’s hers, and the routine that she’s become accustomed to, will, literally, be turned upside down.
This is why Family Pupz’ doggy doula service provides expecting parents comprehensive information about dog body language and behavior so that they will be able to timely spot when, and if, their dog is uncomfortable. Most dog owners think that they know their dog intimately, however, studies show that canine body language is often badly misunderstood by adults, as well as children.
Consequently, many parents are woefully unaware of the subtle body language cues that indicate a dog’s growing discomfort, such as looking away, yawning, lip licking, giving the “whale eye”, which can naturally lead to more defensive, and obvious, behaviors such as tensing, moving away, growling, nipping, and potentially biting.
In a study about facial dog bites of children at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, 68% of those bites occurred in children 5 years or younger, with the highest incidence in 3-year-olds. The dog is overwhelmingly a family dog, or another dog known to the family, and the bite commonly occurs in the home.
While these stats are sobering, the overall goal of understanding the family dog should ensure that she leads a stress-free, happy, and comfortable life at home, just like any other member of the family, and through the effort to understand her subtle body cues, you’re making a commitment to her long-term happiness.
Making An Assessment Of Your Dog
The first step in making an assessment of your dog is to start by asking yourself these questions:
- Has your dog been around infants and babies before?
- How does she act around children?
- Does your dog listen to you and do what you ask consistently?
- Does your dog sleep in your bed?
- Do you think that might need to change as your baby arrives?
- Is your dog used to relaxing in a private area, even when you are in the house?
- How does your dog get your attention?
- Is your dog sensitive to noises, sudden movements?
- Does your dog get overexcited?
- Do you have an idea how you can plan your dog’s care during your labor day?
- Do you know how the 1st day at home with your dog and baby is going to go?
- Have you thought of any type of management strategies once you live with your baby and dog?
If you haven’t considered the answers to some or all of these questions yet, or feel overwhelmed that this is yet another thing to think about, a doggy doula can help by tailoring, and helping you execute, an
action plan that works for you and your household.
So…What Is A Doggy Doula?
Denver’s first doggy doula service provides expecting families the tools and knowledge needed in order to prepare with their dog for the arrival of their baby.
The service includes creating a highly personalized training plan, based on the needs of each family and their dog(s). Their goal is to help expecting families feel confident and relaxed in a wide variety of
situations, such as prepping a dog to respond to cues, creating a safe dog & baby home environment, getting the dog accustomed to new and unfamiliar sounds that will come from the baby and toys/gadgets, creating a homecoming plan (introducing the baby to the dog over time) and managing everything else
Why Hire A Doggy Doula?
The first months and years of parenting can be challenging (but very rewarding) for the family and the dog, but knowing that you can receive professional support throughout every developmental stage of your
child’s life can make all the difference in your life, and the life of your dog.
Positive Reinforcement Dog Training
When choosing a professional dog trainer, it’s important that you understand their training philosophy and methods.
Choosing positive reinforcement training services provides you with the most effective and up-to-date training information that focuses on enhancing your relationship with your dog through communication, instead of relying on punishment and suppression.
Be The Change You Want To See In The World!
All too often, we see “cute” videos on social media of baby/toddler-dog interactions, which are shockingly inappropriate and potentially dangerous.
I find myself screaming and wincing at these videos, not because I think these parents are knowingly putting their child in danger, but because they do so unknowingly.
So let’s teach our children (and ourselves) how to be respectful, kind, and unassuming, not just for their personal safety, but to show all dogs, including their own, the respect they deserve.