Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Preparing the Basenjis for Baby

The month has finally arrived... in just three short weeks (give or take), my fur-babies will get their very first human brother!  Naturally I've been telling my two basenjis, Reef & Biko, all about it, and they seem only mildly annoyed when there's not enough room anymore to sit on mommy's lap in the car, or when they try to sit on my lap and they get an inadvertent kick in the rump from my rather large belly.  But even as I am not quite sure that I'm fully comprehending what life is going to be like with baby, I am 100% sure that the pups have absolutely NO IDEA how much their life is about to change, too. 

Throughout my nine months of pregnancy, I've had lots of people give me lots of tips on how to introduce a dog to a new baby.  The most common tip I hear seems to revolve around bringing something baby-scented home from the hospital in advance of the little one, and letting the dogs sniff it while making it clear that it belongs to you.  Assuming you're the clear leader of your pack and your dogs see you that way, that would definitely appear to be good advice.  I've used a similar strategy before when introducing new fosters or visiting dogs to my two, and when it's made clear to them that the new dog is "mine" and they'll only be allowed to sniff when I say so, it seems to make initial greetings go much better. 

But beyond initial greetings, I haven't had much advice on how to actually acclimate my basenji babies to day-to-day life with a human one.  So of course I went in search of information on the internet, and I actually found an article on the ASPCA's website that was quite helpful:  Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby.  In the article, there were a lot of great tips on how to teach the pups right away to associate the baby with good things: 
"Keep a dog bed or comfy mat in the room where you usually feed the baby. When it’s time to nurse or give him a bottle, provide something tasty for your dog, too." 
 And tips on how to prevent the dogs from feeling jealous about the new baby:
"Try to give your dog lots of attention when the baby is present. Teach her that when he’s around, she gets treats, petting, playing—and anything else she likes. When you feed the baby, you can feed your dog, too. When you walk your dog, do your best to take the baby along. (Baby “backpacks” and slings are great for dog parents.) This strategy, though it requires some skillful multitasking on your part, teaches your dog a valuable lesson. She’ll learn to love it when the baby is awake and active because that’s when good things happen for her."
Hopefully I'll be able to follow these and other recommendations in the article to ensure that my two basenji babies learn to love their new human brother from the very start, so that we can avoid any problems down the road.  Now if I could only figure out how to teach them how to leave the baby's toys alone, THAT would truly be a miracle!

Reef investigates the new baby's play gym.


  1. I hope everything goes smoothly for you and your family.

  2. Be careful - if Reef and Biko figure out that good things happen when baby's awake, they might make sure (s)he's awake a LOT! ;)

    Best wishes to all!

    1. That's a very good point.

  3. I'm a FTM in my last months of pregnancy. I have a 7 year old female besenji and I dont worry about her with the baby at all. I have a 5 year old niece who Ruby (my dog) LOVES to death and just wants to sit by her all the time even when my niece is piling pillows on her! Also, I have done some baby sitting and Ruby loves to be by the babies, even when they pull her hair out, she just sits there and wont move. Haha but I know a lot of besinjis are different Ruby is one of a kind and loves babies, baby cats, dogs and humans! But I will keep these tips in mind. Ruby only starts acting bad when she doesnt get enough attention.