By: Joel Allen
Hello, folks! Another month has blown by and we are another step closer to the upcoming holidays. I know, I know, last month’s article was titled “A New Addition to the Family” but that was from the dog’s perspective and this one is different. Let us look at the “hooman” side of the coin so to speak. I had the privilege of adding a new nephew a few weeks ago to the ranks of our family. John and Kelly Howard were blessed with a beautiful baby boy and they named him Talon. Like most of us hoomans, we have canine family members, and in the Howard’s case, they have two Great Danes, another dog, and some cats.
Now we all know how most cats are when a hooman baby is brought home. But a Great Dane?! If they have never seen a baby, they tend to become curious. They will sniff at the baby. They might even paw at the baby with no harm intended, but those PAWS are HUGE! So, be cautious and careful with large-breed dogs because they do not know their own power sometimes, and we hoomans tend to get upset and think they do.
So when Talon came home from the hospital, John and Kelly introduced him to Kaison (mixed shepherd, collie, lab maybe?) Baldr and Mags (Two Danes). Kaison knows what babies are like already but Baldr and Mags?…they were curious, to say the least. They sniffed Talon over and recognized him as family but they still were like, “What is this?” The only real incident that has happened, so far as I am told, is that Talon farted and it scared Mags, LOL…and I will add that Baldr has taken the protective role and watches over Talon. In fact, I am told Baldr will come and kiss the baby on the top of his head and then lay down where he can watch over the baby and stand guard against the dangers of the world.
Okay, ask yourselves how can we introduce a new family member from the hooman side to our dogs? This could be a visiting uncle or aunt or someone the dogs do not know. I have observed in the past that a dog’s behavior will change for the better or worse when someone new visits or moves in.
This is what I would do first: I would have the new family member come in to the house living area. I would start with my pack leader, if I had more than one dog (NOTE: Your pack leader does not mean you, the pack leader, but your troublemaker). Introduce the new hooman and show them who they are and watch their reaction to the new addition. Second, after my pack leader, I would introduce what I would consider the second in command and so on and so forth. Everyone has control of the meet-and-greet initially but it is how it’s handled that will make or break the outcome.
As I have said, a dog’s behavior can change when a new addition to the house is made from the hooman’s side of things. I have seen some sad situations because we hoomans have decided that our dog is not worth keeping when a baby is born. We don’t deserve the loyalty and love a dog has for us, the hoomans. Some might get mad when I say this, but this actually happens. More people out there get pregnant and then oust the dog. This article is to help those who would do this realize that, in my opinion, it is wrong to do. Some of us worry too much about what our dog’s reaction to something new in the home might be but never bother to see if that might actually be the problem, not just our imagination from watching a movie like Cujo. Remember, and I did not coin this, I think preacher and writer T.D. Jakes might have, FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.
Anyway, I did not want to “browbeat” anyone about this very issue. I only want our hoomans to take the time and see if the family canine might be an angel in disguise sent here to protect the family. I know that when I was growing up, we kids had nothing to fear when our dogs were there. Even the grandparents had to ask permission to get around us in the dog’s presence. Grab a kid with a Great Dane around and find out!
Lastly, understand that when we take on a dog it should be a lifelong commitment. New baby comes into the family? Train your dog and see what happens before giving up and packing their bags for the shelter or worse, like dumping them somewhere (an ultimate betrayal). A family member moves in? Blood is not thicker than water, I have learned, so guess what?! “It’s me or the dog” will not work in my opinion because if someone tells me that, they are going to find out real quick who stays and goes. It won’t be my dog! Take the time to train your canine family member and see. We never know what these angels might do or help us with. God gave them to us, after all, to help us on this Earth I call “Purgatory.”
By: Joel Allen