A few folks were asking on Instagram for some specific info about how we introduced Burger to Clara, and how we tried to make the whole transition from living with a dog to living with a dog and a baby as smooth as possible for all parties involved. We definitely did a little googling and even chatted with our vet about what we could do to make things easier on Burger (and us) when this whole GIANT LIFE CHANGE happened, so here’s what we ended up doing, and how it worked out.
1. John left the hospital for about half an hour to bring Burger a blanket with Clara’s scent on it after a day of us being there (we stayed for 4 days due to our complicated birth experience), so John just dropped that blanket into his crate for Burger to sniff and snuggle for the next few days. He was being cared for by John’s parents, but Burger’s one of those dogs who actually likes his crate, so he spent plenty of time with people, and plenty of other time in his crate with his new blanket. We like to think that helped him get used to the scent of his baby sister from day one.
2. When we finally came home with Clara, Burger was already back at home waiting for us, and when we walked in carrying Clara in her baby seat, we also carried in a treat and a toy for him. We had heard that you can help a pooch associate the arrival of someone with something good if they get something awesome and exciting when that person enters the house. So giving him a treat and some nice snuggles along with a new toy while carrying Clara into the house for the first time seemed to lay the groundwork that she was a good thing, so he hopefully associated her arrival with awesome times.
3. We just generally tried to give him love whenever we could while juggling the whole “caring for a newborn” thing. Of course we had our hands full with Clara, and we were adjusting ourselves, but we were surprised how much time she spent either nursing or sleeping, which definitely freed us up to sit on the sofa with Burger snuggled right next to us, and we doled out as many rubs and snuggles as we could spare, just so he never felt replaced or ignored. I’m sure he sensed that something major had changed (we went from a family of three to a family of four) but we didn’t have any issues with him having accidents or acting out in any way, which we heard could happen. So we’re really grateful that it seemed to go pretty smoothly for the Burgs.
How did you guys introduce a new human to your pet? Do you have any other tips for folks who are nervous about it? I like to say that Clara shot up the list quickly a “Burger’s favorite” because she always has crumbs and sticky fingers (two of B’s favorite things). So I think they’re a pretty great pair.
Ever since I took this video of Burger, I’ve been inspired (probably too strong of a word) to capture more of his everyday idiosyncrasies. So the other night when he fell asleep on my head as we were reading in bed, I felt a slight twitching coming from him – meaning he was having some crazy canine dream. So naturally I broke out my iPhone camera (and later added some stock YouTube music since silence makes me uncomfortable). I was actually hoping to capture some of the dream-barking he often does, but sadly this was a quiet slumber. Oh well, hopefully next time. At least there were a few impressively creepy eye flutters…