When I got pregnant with my second child, I did a lot of research on how to prepare my firstborn for a sibling. There is a lot of information out there, like “Let your child see you holding a baby,” or, “Talk about the baby,” or “Have your child buy the baby a present.”
It recently occurred to me that my “first child,” aka the dog, didn’t get the preparation for my son that my son got for my daughter. So here’s a little “how-to” for readying your dog for the best and worst thing that will ever happen to him.
Step 1: Pull your dog’s ears, tail, paws and nose.
Prep your dog now for getting assaulted at all times of the day. Wake him up in the middle of a nap by squealing and trying to eat his nose. You could also rudely disrupt him with a finger in his ear while he is on squirrel patrol at your back door.
Step 2: Play in his dog dishes constantly.
The sooner he adapts to the smell of human on his Kibbles ‘n Bits, the better. Let him see you digging through his bowl. You should eat the occasional dog treat in front of him as well so that he gets the point that those snacks aren’t his alone. Yes, your bowels will probably suffer, but it’s a small sacrifice to make to get your dog ready for the amount of food he is going to watch your kid woof down.
Step 3: Get a sound machine.
No, not the relaxing kind with ocean sounds and freaking rain. You need a sound machine with settings such as “blood curdling infant wail” and “cursing, strung-out parent.” These will be the verses in the soundtrack of your home soon enough, so let your dog get used to it now.
Step 4: Teach your dog to ignore the doorbell.
I’m not sure how to accomplish this, but you want to lock that shit down before that baby comes. It will be good for you and good for the dog, who will otherwise be on the receiving end of some seriously dirty looks from you when that ding-dong and barking wakes a napping baby.
Step 5: Don’t punish the dog for eating food off the floor.
This might go against everything you believe in regarding letting your pet eat people food, but you are going to be SO HAPPY that the dog cleans up after the kids when they decide that the floor is their canvas and dinner is their medium. Our dog has ruined many a macaroni masterpieces.
Step 6: Spoil the hell out of your dog.
Take him on tons of walks. Toss him the ball in the backyard. Let him eat whatever he wants. Eventually and unintentionally, that dog is going to become an afterthought. You’ll wake up to his face right next to yours and realize he should have been let out hours ago. You’ll forget when the last time is that you gave him a good belly rub. You’ll realize that half of your walks this week were cut short because the baby decided the stroller or the Moby is just the worst.thing.ever. OF COURSE you won’t mean to forget to feed him until hours after dinnertime, but it just might happen because: screaming baby/cracked nipples/post-partum hemorrhoids. Love on your pet as much as you can now and remind yourself every day after the baby comes to stop being such a dick to your dog. As much as you think you won’t be, you will, even if it’s just once, even if it’s just a mean look, even if it’s just a nasty thought.