WOW, what an adventure these nearly 6 months have been since welcoming our baby girl into the world. The days fly by so incredibly fast and I don’t know how we are about to celebrate her 1/2 birthday in a couple weeks. As a lifelong dog owner, I promised myself I would properly educate myself on child + pet safety, document our baby and pups and share the joys of that bond with my social networks. I’m so thankful for the support and kind words from many of you. It helps continue to motivate me to find the time to capture these precious moments on camera and video.
While most of you have been extremely supportive, I’ve had a few concerns and judgments sent to me about having our baby in such close proximity to Remington. Yes, I do understand that some dogs shouldn’t be playing tug of war with a young baby and her toys and some dogs shouldn’t be near a baby’s face. I get it – accidents can and do happen. As I wrote in my previous article, according to the CDC, more than 4.7 million dog-bite incidents occur in the United States every year. So I am realistic and I do include disclaimers on most of my posts. I know in my heart Remington will never hurt our baby, but I have to be cognizant that others could see these photos and try to reenact these situations with their own pets. My biggest advice is KNOW YOUR DOG. While accidents can happen, your best protective measure is to know your dog, their stress signals and their temperament.
For example, while recording this video, Remington was wagging his tail and excitedly “talking”. If he had exhibited any anxiety cues, like yawning, lip licking, panting or turning his head away, I would have immediately intervened. You can read more about dogs and their stress signals here.
Remington is scared of the remote control, has 13 less teeth than he had 2 years ago and is the most gentle animal I know. But, I am still a protective mother and I am down on the floor with them almost every night to supervise and continually teach them both how to interact with one another in a safe manner. One day, Abrielle discovered his long Schnauzer leg fur and she yanked on it. He was startled and just moved away from her reach. Could he have had a different reaction? Sure, but I know my dog and I know he avoids conflict or situations that make him uncomfortable. On another occasion, while I was on the floor with them, she discovered more of his enticing long fur and pulled on it. She’s been pulling my long hair too and it hurts – so Remington probably doesn’t enjoy it either. It’s hard to teach a 6 month old to understand the concept of petting a dog properly, but I am trying to encourage gentle interaction. I’ve also been using some of my own techniques like brushing Remington’s hair more often and pulling softly on his beard and fur, just to get him accustomed to this type of behavior. When she does happen to pull his fur and he sits there calmly, I always use positive reinforcement and praise to let him know he’s being a very good boy.
My goal for this post is to let everyone know I love sharing our journey with you and please know I am always practicing safety measures with these two. It may not be obvious in the photos or videos you see, but I am constantly keeping a close eye on non-verbal cues and behavior. Be sure to read my original article discussing child and pet safety tips. I hope you enjoy the quick recap of some of their recent adventures below.