Adapting for Furry Family Members

Image courtesy of Pixabay/karenwarfel

Image courtesy of Pixabay/karenwarfel

Before my husband and I had any children of our own, we already had a blended family. He brought his cat fur-baby and I brought my dog fur-baby into the relationship. The step-siblings were carefully introduced, with a few hisses and whimpers, but they soon adjusted to life as a two fur-kid family.

When we were expecting our first human child, we planned for the first fur-baby/human-baby meeting, but didn’t really consider the days after that. Our already-anxious rescue dog’s neediness dramatically increased at a time when our capacity to “give” was being maxed out by a newborn daughter. We learned from that and, when our son was born two years later, we sent our pup on a dog-cation to my parents’ home for a few weeks to give everyone some time to ease into our new situation.

I wish I’d known then about Tamara McFarland. She is a dog trainer and the owner of Unleashed Pawsabilities in Halifax, which has a special focus on helping parents-to-be — and their fur-kids — prepare for and adjust to life with a newborn.

“My clients are mostly families or young couples, so I have always received many questions on this topic,” she says, and when she was expecting her daughter she started digging deeper into the subject.

She now offers dog-training courses for expecting parents and one-on-one consultations before, during and after the arrival of your baby. She says there are some simple ways to help your dog through the transition of adding of a new baby to the family...