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Responsible dog owners do their best to prepare their fur babies for the new human baby coming. Getting them used to the new gadgets, noises, smells and even carrying things in your arms. Reinforcing those old standby behaviors of sits, downs, stays... Sometimes bringing in a trainer to help or going the self-help route, trying to cover everything we can think of.
Recently, tho, I read an article in Whole Dog Journal by Tiffany Lovell, CPDT-KA, called When A Baby Changes Everything. It addressed Postpartum Depression and the consequences for the family dog.
This got me to thinking about how often I see the "Must Rehome My Dog" ads that mention new babies and no time for the dog. With the stigma we see about PPD and how a new baby is supposed to be a blessing, a happy time, a wonderful experience, I am now wondering how many of these "must rehome" ads are really a reflection of PPD.
One symptom of PPD can be a hair trigger temper. Everything can set you off, including any noise. Dogs are noisy. Not just their barking but the crunching, squeaking, slurping, thumping noises that we may not even notice under normal circumstances. Add PPD and a finally sleeping baby and these noises might just set you over the edge. Then there is that moment you finally get to yourself only to have the dog right there, in your face and in your space.
Maybe the only thing they can think of doing is rehoming the dog. This might not be 'just because they don't have time' but because they are trying to reduce their triggers. Trying to find that quiet, not just environmentally but emotionally, to focus on themselves and the baby and getting thru a very tough journey. And they don't want to tell the entire world, especially strangers, what is really going on.
There is help out there. Address the Postpartum Depressing by talking to the doctor. Think about doggy daycare or asking a friend to foster for a few weeks. Talk to a trainer to help address environmental and behavior issues.
Frustration does not make for good training. If you are working on a new behavior or trying to advance a known behavior and it is not going well then stop. Take a breath. Look at the dog's body language. Are the ears going back, eyes showing whites, is their lip licking? Is he tensing up? If so then its time to take a break. He is frustrated at not understanding what you want and he knows you are frustrated with what he is giving you. Ask for a well known command, usually a sit or focus, and end the session. Start fresh tomorrow when you are both in a better place.
Join us to celebrate the AKC's Responsible Dog Owner Day!
12:00 to 3:00 Sunday, Sept 11 at 69087 29 Palms Hwy.
FURRY TALES GROOMING WILL BE JOINING US
MEET THE TRAINERS (CLASSES START 9/18)
PHOTOS & FREEBIES (AS THEY LAST)
PROBLEM SOLVING CLINIC