Dogs & Storks™
Locations: Forbes Regional Hospital and Magee Woman’s Hospital
Parents with a baby on the way have months to plan for their newborn’s arrival; but how do you explain an impending birth to your dog? All too often, people just spring the news all of a sudden by simply bringing baby home, assuming their dog will naturally and automatically welcome the tiny stranger with open paws. But such a surprise can be very confusing, even upsetting, to canines who haven’t been properly prepared for this unexpected situation.
Dogs & Storks™ helps expectant parents (as well as grandparents, babysitters and other caretakers) get their dogs ready for life with baby. In this class or private consultation, you will learn:
- How to ensure your dog has positive emotional associations with the baby before the big day arrives
- How to include your dog in the baby’s arrival
- How to read your dog’s subtle body language to see how comfortable he is with the baby
- Fun games and activities for baby’s first days at home that will send your dog the message that she and baby are both beloved members of the family
- And much more!
You’ll also receive the Dogs & Storks™ handouts to keep as ready resources, and be able to ask Aunt Penny questions as your baby and dog grow up together.
To sign up for Dogs & Storks™ workshops, check our calendar for upcoming classes!
Dogs & Toddlers™
Location: Forbes hospital only
Baby starts out small, crawling on all fours – just like Dog does. But Baby grows quickly, and soon enough is the same size as Dog – and walking upright on two legs. Dog notices that Baby is suddenly becoming a very different kind of creature. Confused by these rapid changes, Dog tries to adapt…even as Baby pelts him with kibble from his bowl and tries to ride on his back like a horse.
This may sound like an adorable YouTube video, but Dog isn’t having fun. He needs help coping with Baby’s increasingly unpredictable behavior, and Baby needs to learn how to treat Dog with the respect he deserves. Fortunately, the Dogs & Toddlers™ can restore balance in the relationship and strengthen the bonds of friendship now and for years to come.
Created by a certified dog behavior consultant and mother of four, the Dogs & Toddlers™ is for families with babies who are between three months to three years old and exploring their independence for the first time. It is offered as both a group training class and private in-home consultation which parents and other caretakers can attend with their dogs to learn:
- Guided Touch™ and Guided Teaching™ Techniques
- How to understand your dog’s body language and responses to your baby
- How to help your dog adjust as baby’s gross motor skills develop
- Management techniques customized to your family and home environment
- Fun ways to include your dog in daily activities
- And much more!
To sign up for a Dogs & ToddlersTM workshop, check our calendar for upcoming classes
Educational Dog & Baby Videos
Here a dad and baby are having fun, but the dog is engaged in play attack of the toy the baby is riding on. Look at the dog’s posture: what do you think might happen when this baby is running around?
It may seem cute to “chase” the dog with baby on such a toy, but this is no game. This dog is not having fun and the situation is escalating. Not a good association for dog and baby.
Sammy the pug is not sure what to think about the new “crawler.” Notice Sammy’s circling and “shaking off” (as if after a bath). You can see him check in with his human “Dad” Jacob, and then go back to a “safe” spot (the carpet) and bark.
This would be a great time to give Sammy something else to do or a command to follow. It looks like she distracted herself by going to get a toy. This is a good choice and great response on her part – she’s a smart dog!
Dogs should not be expected to “share” food or eat around small babies, toddlers or children. “Leave dogs alone when they’re eating” is an oldie but goodie rule of thumb! Expecting your dog to enjoy the company of your baby while he or she eats is a disaster for all involved and sets everyone up to fail. This situation teaches these two dogs that the baby is not to be trusted with their food, and that their adults will allow this little one to take their food and crowd them out during mealtime.
“The dog was created especially for children. He is the God of frolic.” – Henry Ward Beecher
Your dog has gotten used to being your “baby,” but soon you’ll be bringing an actual baby person into your family, home and life. Have you prepared your fur baby for the arrival of a new human “sibling”?
Or maybe your baby has passed the one year mark. How will you ensure that doggie knows how to respond to your toddler’s increasing mobility and curiosity?
Through our Dog & Baby classes, Aunt Penny can answer these questions to help your baby and dog develop close bonds of love and lifelong friendship. A licensed Family Paws™ Parent Education presenter, Aunt Penny teaches both the Dogs & Storks Program™ (for expectant families) and the Dog and Baby Connection™ (for families with children between three months and three years old). She provides these classes at Forbes Regional Hospital and Magee Woman’s hospital (in conjunction with their prenatal care classes) and clients’ homes (as private consultations).