The dog, baby, and grandparent relationship can be complicated.
- A dog lives with grandparents who babysit for their new granddaughter. But the dog is not sure about the new interloper, and barks at the baby. What do the grandparents and the parents do?
- Or, a different dog lives with grandparents who babysit for their new grandson and this dog loves the grandson and always wants to be where the baby is. However, the boy’s parents don’t want the dog around their son.
- And we might have a dog who lives with mother, father and baby, but the grandparents never liked this dog, and now they have to deal with the dog whenever they are visiting and babysitting.
- The permutations are endless.
Regardless of the makeup of your grandparent-dog-baby relationship, keeping the baby and dog safe around each other is as important as if it were the parent-dog-baby relationship.
Bandit was the rescue dog who flew into the kid-crowded swimming pool his first day in his forever home. He was a wild child who did nothing in half measure. He loved tug, scratching his nail board, and his favorite trick – sitting on the step stool begging for eggs.
In spite of his larger-than-life ways, he learned to gently love his grandkids.
An Excerpt from Please Don’t Bite the Baby:
Two of my favorite clients brought home a rambunctious and mouthy ten-month-old rescued Shepherd mix. They (and their kids) were worried for their grandchildren, who visit often. After I met the dog, I was worried for everyone.
Bandit was an exuberant strong, hard playing dog with a hard mouth. I was bruised more than a few times when working with him. They had great management in place for him—an exercise pen that contained him completely in a gated kitchen, a gate across the stairs, and a fully fenced in backyard. He was slowly given more and more access to the house as his behaviors improved and he settled into the home.
At first when the kids were visiting he was in maximum containment—in the pen in the gated kitchen.
Months after we started working, it was time to introduce him to the grandchildren without physical management. However, the grandmother was always with the Bandit when he was interacting with the kids. By slowly integrating him into this family, he didn’t make any mistakes with the kids and eventually was wonderful around them. In fact, he lights up for the kids as he does for no one else. They tell me he does the same thing when he sees me, but I bought his love with treats, unlike the kids, whom he just loves.
They have made such wonderful progress with this dog that the grandkids and the dog all enjoy swimming and playing fetch with the pool toys together.
Even so, when the kids are there for extended stays, the grandmother limits their time with the dog to give him a break and is always present whenever the grandkids and dog interact.