Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baby vs. The Circus - Introducing Our Newborn to the "Pets"

We have some interesting pets.  I mean, they're not exotic, more like psychotic. 

Domino, the catahoula leopard dog (okay, that sounds exotic), is has a bit of a reputation throughout the neighborhood for his Houdini escape tricks, and his, shall we say, prominent, bark. Oh yes, and let's not forget his, um, adventures with the local mailman.  He's not a bad dog.  He's just...misunderstood.  I'm pretty sure more people know him than know us, and, they're either terrified of him, or endeared towards him, surprisingly, more of the latter, I think. 

Buddy, oh Buddy.  The Meyers Parrot. He's quite a Divo.  He's sure he's in charge of this household.  Generally, he's not prone to jealousy, but he does require that His Majesty be doted on as he sees fit.  If it's not enough, he might get loud....ear piercingly loud.

Ronin, the Thorougbred horse, is a sweetie-pie.  He's a big goober klutz.  Accident prone, and awkward.  He does have a little secret though.  He's a Left-Brained Introvert, by Parelli's categorization of horse personalities.  Which boils down to being dominant in a rebelious kind of way and a lot of work on our part to remind him to respect us.  Who would have thought?  (Well the crazy ranch lady who follows Parelli pegged him right away, but it took us a while to agree).

How did we end up with all these dominant personalities?  I don't even know.  It gets a little crazy at times, trying to keep on top of the pack.  My coworkers LOVE the stories that come of it though.

Not surprisingly, people had concerns about us introducing a baby into the mix.  Many expected us to give up one or more of the animals.  Um, that's not how we operate.  Our pets are pretty much our family.  It would take a LOT for us to let one go.  We'd have to be very ,very desperate, or forced by law.

Anyway, we didn't really know how the animals would react to the baby.  We read a little bit about how to introduce a dog to the idea.  That's a common topic.  Here's what we heard/read:

1) Bring a blanket or piece of clothing home first, for the dog to smell
2) Show the dog that you're protective of the baby, i.e. require that the dog keep a safe distance for little while.
3) Always make sure the baby enters the house before the dog, and stays ahead of the dog on walks.

2&3 are things that the owners are supposed to do as well.

We followed all those "rules" with Domino.  I can't say whether or not they, specifically, worked.  But Domino took really well to the baby.  We didn't expect any different.  Catahoulas are known for loving children, and Domino was very gentle with me while I was pregnant.  The only concern, which we still have, is that his rowdy nature may lead to some accidental mishaps.

There's not really a lot to introducing a child to a horse.  The biggest issue is how to find time for both.

Ronin, got his first sniff of the baby last Friday.  We had to check on him for a health concern and, since we can't leave the baby at home alone, we had to take him.  And, since we can't leave the baby in the car, he had to be in my arms as we evaluated Ronin's condition.  I'm pretty sure Ronin is going to be perfectly fine with the kid.  He didn't like me much while I was preggo though.  I think this is my fault for sending him bad vibes.  I couldn't help but be a little more timid of potentially dangerous situations (and animals) while I was pregnant.  I think he read that I was uneasy and it made him feel the same way.

The bird has actually been the slowest to acclimate to the baby. 

Buddy is surprisingly jealous, and louder than ever, and getting increasingly obnoxious.  A couple times, he's also refused to come on to my hand, like I'm contaminated with Baby.  Dealing with Buddy is a little trickier.  Parrots aren't as common and there's not as much advice out there.  We're probably going to have to troubleshoot our way through this one.  So far, we're putting him on "time outs" when he's being bad and trying to reward him with attention when he's being good.  I hope eventually, he gets over it.

We're pretty happy with how it's panned out so far.  It's about as manageable as we could have hoped for, with our peanut gallery of pets.

How did you deal with, or plan on dealing with, introducing a baby to your pets?



  1. I love this circus integration post! Sounds like it is all working out pretty well. Its very interesting that there isn't much info out there about birds and babies.
    So far our only plan with Shiloh is to pull his ears and tail and move his food while he is eating to make sure he is used to a little abuse without being aggressive.

  2. That's a good start Teresa! We started that with Domino since we got him. He still his a bit possesive of his food with other dogs and other people, so I don't know how he'll be when Rowan gets a bit older.


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