Raising a Pitbull Puppy with a Newborn Baby
Our friends pitbull/bull mastiff just whelped a litter of 12 puppies and our friend offered us a puppy as a baby shower gift.. Our baby is due May 2012 and the puppy will be about 5 months old...
I'm just curious as to the best way to socialize the puppy so that it will accept the baby and protect it.. Anyone have any ideas ??
Congratulations on your baby news. You don't say whether or not this is your first, but if it is you may want to talk this over with other moms before making a final decision about taking on a puppy during this time.
Puppies are very needy. So are newborns. My main concern for you is that you will feel stretched too thinly among all the demands that will be made on your time.
Probably the chief complaint of parents of newborns is fatigue due to lack of sleep. So, it's not the best time to deal with an energetic puppy that needs plenty of exercise, attention and frequent bathroom breaks.
However, if you're determined to do this, realize that you have your work cut out for you if you're going to have a manageable situation in your household. Ideally, you'd want your puppy to be house trained by the time the baby arrives (which may or may not happen despite your best efforts).
Get an early start on teaching some basic obedience commands using positive reinforcement. By the time your baby arrives, you want your puppy to at least be able to sit and stay on command.
As far as socialization goes, it's important to expose your puppy to as many people and different situations as possible--especially during the 10 - 14 week window when puppies are most impressionable. BUT and this is important, never sacrifice quality of contact for quantity. You want the puppy's experience around people--particularly children--to be 100% positive. That means that contact with children needs to be carefully controlled and closely supervised.
You'll want to plan ahead for the day that you bring your baby home from the hospital. Here's an article with some additional tips about introducing a dog to a newborn.
While I would never take on a puppy and newborn together myself, I'm sure there are others who have and lived to tell the tale. So, it will be interesting to hear what other folks might have to say on this.
Good luck and best wishes to you and your family!
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