Introducing Dusty, our mini Dachshund, to our new pack member!
Dusty could obviously sense something when I was pregnant. She has always been my husband’s shadow and all of a sudden she became mine. She wouldn’t leave my side and at any given opportunity she would sit on my lap and put her head on my bump. The first time she did that I knew that when our baby arrived, Dusty would be OK. She is actually on my lap now as I type this, licking me – something she has also been doing a lot of since Jack was born. A sign of affection, and also I think to get attention! She doesn’t want us to forget that she was part of our pack first.
When I went into labour I called my Mum and Dad and they took Dusty home with them for a few days until Steve and I were settled back at home with Jack.
We had already tried to get Dusty used to the fact a baby was coming by leaving some of Jack’s baby grows around so that she could get used to the scent and also by putting baby gates up so she couldn’t get upstairs. We also took her into the Nursery so she could see the cot and also showed her the moses basket. We would let her sniff around a while but then would tell her to leave the room.
When Mum and Dad brought Dusty home, we made sure we gave her lots of attention. As she has always seen my husband as our pack leader, I got him to hold Jack and then I held Dusty and let her sniff and take it all in. As we imagined she went absolutely crazy as she was so pleased to see us after a few days and did try and jump up to Steve and Jack, which was completely understandable.
Dusty was very over excited the first week and whenever we brought Jack in the room she would try and jump up, but she was never aggressive towards him in any way. I think because Jack is a combination of Steve and I, he must also have our smell, so Dusty new that there was a new pack member.
One of the things I think definitely helped with the integration was that when Dusty did jump up or try to get Jack’s toys we never told her off. We would say ‘down’ or ‘leave’, but never aggressively. Instead of telling her off, we would reward her good behaviour and I think this is the key to introducing your dog to your baby. Don’t get me wrong, Dusty still does take Jack’s toys occasionally, but that is no different than siblings arguing over their toys. It’s to be expected and so we have to give her some leeway.
We have definitely noticed a change in her. Sometimes she does seem sad and if Jack is having an episode Dusty tends to huff and leave the room like a grumpy teenager and when we go up at 7pm to do the bedtime routine she lies by the gate at the bottom of the stairs waiting. It breaks my heart some days as I know she must be thinking she has been replaced. But we have certainly not forgotten our beloved dachshund. Dusty is still our world, we love her so much, but she now has to share it with her younger sibling. When one of us is holding Jack, the other holds Dusty. We give her as much attention as we can and she still adores us completely, like a dog does. We are her world.
After we have put Jack to bed she is like an over excited puppy as she knows this is now her time, when we can give her our undivided attention. She brings us all her toys, she plays, she rolls on her back and curls up on our laps and licks us. It really is the cutest.
She has also become more protective. When I go for a walk with Jack, Dusty doesn’t leave our side. She guards us and this is how I know she has accepted that Jack is now a part of our pack and here to stay.
I am so glad Dusty has been so good with Jack. The way she is with him is lovely and as Jack gets older I can’t wait for the two of them to grow closer and play together. I have always had this vision of Jack chasing Dusty round the garden in our new house, laughing out loud with joy, and I hope that vision is a reality really soon. When it happens, my heart will burst!