Babyproofing my Labrador Puppy

Posted on 04. Feb, 2013 by in Pets

When my husband and I adopted our puppy a couple of years ago, we were delighted – a lovely chocolate Labrador with a friendly disposition, loving nature and lots of fun energy! Labradors are a popular choice when it comes to pet dogs, as they have one of the friendliest and loyal natures of all the different types. They’re energetic and bouncy, enjoy playing and exercise and are good with children and the elderly. Labradors are the usual choice for guide dogs as well, meaning they are responsible and trustworthy.

However, when we found out we were going to have a child the following year, we were worried the puppy wouldn’t adapt well to the change in dynamics – up until the baby arrived, we had been a very quiet, calm household. Things quickly changed! So we needed to make sure we could keep the puppy in control, so that we weren’t looking after two babies instead of one! We had a look on the internet and found a few useful hints of how to train and prepare our puppy for the presence of another infant. A couple of really helpful techniques were:

chocolate-labrador-puppy-meadowPuppy pad: This is what we called the private space we created for our puppy, so that when things got a bit hectic (i.e. the baby crying, people visiting) the dog could retreat there to stay calm. The cupboard at the top of the stairs made a perfect ‘puppy pad’, and we filled it with her bed, water and food bowls, favourite toys and a special blanket. She gradually became accustomed to her own space and whenever things are a bit much, she goes there for a bit of time out.

Basics: Get the basic training down and you’ll save yourself a world of trouble! In the 9 months we had to prepare, we got the puppy trained with the basic commands: sit, heel, down, etc. We found it really difficult at first, so got in a bit of hired help! With a bit of internet research we found some really good puppy classes in Epsom which trained our dog to respond to our commands – this helped a lot, because we didn’t want her jumping up at us while we were holding the baby, or trying to wrestle toys out of the baby’s hands!

Smells: Dogs, especially Labradors, are famous for their excellent sense of smell. So what will be especially distressing for your dog will be suddenly not recognising the smell of her house anymore! We prepared our puppy to recognise various baby smells such as talcum powder and fresh laundry (though there were some baby smells that we couldn’t prepare her for!) This helped her stay calm while the house around her changed. For more information on how to prepare your dog for the arrival of a new family member, this website has some pretty good advice:

By the time our baby had arrived, our puppy was calm and ready for the change. Thanks to the puppy training classes as well as our own methods, she could stay in control and not become panicked or frightened when the household was suddenly taken over by our new baby! And thanks to our preparation, she took one look at our baby and fell in love at first sight. They’ve been best friends ever since!

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