Posted by: Grub | May 25, 2011

Puppy Love

Sam and Maxy love each other so much. It really brings me so much joy to see his face light up and hear him giggle when he sees her first thing in the morning, and to see how excited she is when we come home from running errands and how she has to lick his feet to say hello before I can even get my shoes off.

A few friends have asked what we did to help Maxy transition to having a baby on the house, so I thought I would post about it here in case anyone finds it helpful.

We have friends who experienced all kind of jealous dog behaviour, from running away to peeing on the bed (and even to doing worse on the bed – Bubba, bad dog!), and so we were a bit worried about how things might go, especially since Maxy has always been, shall we say, needy of attention?

To be honest, we didn’t do a whole lot. In the months leading up to Sam’s arrival, I tried to make sure to pay a lot of one-on-one attention to Maxy. She was actually particularly snuggly for about six months before Sam arrived and was also very protective of me (that poor man who walked towards me on the sidewalk holding a rake two weeks before Sam was born will never, ever forget her, I am sure). She would climb up on the couch beside me and I would let her lay her head on my belly, and every once in a while when Sam moved around or gave me a little bump, she would look up at me as if to say “you felt that, right?”  Right up until the night we left for the hospital, she would climb up in our bed while we were reading and just cuddle with us, stretched out the length of the bed and never too far from me.

The night that we left for the hospital, my parents arrived to stay with us and they stayed with Maxy while we were away. I had assumed that we would be gone for a day, two tops, and so I was quite worried when we found out that we wouldn’t be going home for four days. We had originally intended to put Maxy in her usual kennel for a few days, but my parents agreed to stay home with her, and I think that this was a key to our (so far) success. They took long walks with her several times a day and would spend time with her hanging out around the house when they weren’t visiting us at the hospital. What’s interesting is that my mom and Maxy had had a few ugly run-ins on previous visits (essentially Maxy letting her know who was boss), but from all accounts, they were best buds during this visit.

Once we were ready to come home, we did the things that all of the books tell you to do – we sent a receiving blanket home with my parents for Maxy to sniff, and my mom stayed at home with Maxy while my dad came and brought us home from the hospital. I made sure to go immediately to Maxy and say hello to her and give her all of the usual hugs and kisses, and short of letting her lick all over Sam’s face, we let her sniff him and otherwise satisfy her curiousity.

She really didn’t blink. I think that we were pretty relaxed over the first few days about letting her check out Sam on her own time, and once I was up and walking, we would go out for a walk with everyone, Maxy included.

Since she has been home, we have tried very hard to make sure that she still gets one-on-one time with both of us.  Chad takes her for a run in the morning, and I take her for her evening walk when Chad gets home from work.  When one of us is going out to run an errand in the car, we will let her tag along so that she can do one of her favourite activities – navigating!  I think it has also helped that the few times she has gone to the kennel while we were out of town, Sam and I (and not Chad) have picked her up every time, and that she and Sam share, and face each other in, the back of the car (she in the very back, and Sam in the backseat), so they have some time to make googly-eyes at each other and catch up.

Two peas in a pod

I am not sure how we got so lucky. I actually wonder if things might have been different if Sam had been a girl – Maxy has always been anti-female (and pro-male) with other dogs and I wonder if there wouldn’t have been some different jealousy issues if we had brought a little girl home. I think part of our success has to do with how we really see and treat Maxy like she is a member of our family and not just a “pet”.  As far as we are concerned, she is Sam’s older sister, and he is her baby brother, and to the extent we are able, we try to respect her place in the pecking order.

So far Maxy has tolerated Sam touching HER toy (more on that in a future post) although we don’t actually let him play with it, and since he can’t get to her food yet, there have been no food confrontations. Maxy has come over and eaten treats right beside Sam before, and didn’t seem too concerned when he tried to reach out for the treat.  We have also practiced having Sam “give” her a treat (I put the treat loosely in his hand and hold my hand around it, and then we let her take it) – Maxy is pretty much the most gentle dog ever when it comes to taking food from a person’s hand (unless you have a hot dog, please for the love of God do not try this with an actual meat hot dog) and so, if anything, it just makes Sam super excited that she is coming over to check him out. Often the only challenge is getting him to give her the treat, because then she runs away!

As you can see from the photos, his face just lights up when she is around. I hope that once he is older he will have fond memories of her as being a loving and protective older sister and will laugh to see these pictures of how much they loved each other.  For now, we just thank our lucky stars that they are great buds, and hope that it continues!

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Responses

  1. I LOVE the two peas in a pod pic – that’s hilarious!! I was surprised how well Maxy behaved with Sam – you guys done good(on both Maxy and Sam of course!):-)

  2. Such great photos!!!


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