Archive for August, 2011

A fine lady walking with us on Sunday mornings asks my advice regarding the coming visit of her first grandchild.

Hi Bruno,

One thing I would like to pick your brains one if you do not mind is this: We are retired and therefore spend all our days with Jack who is the best companion we could wish for. Although not the best behaved dog in the world we can visit friends and he is always welcome and he is content to sit quietly under tables when we have long leisurely meals – so basically he suits us fine. However I am very concious that he is the centre of our attention and as such I have to accept spoilt. We are expecting our first grandchild in December and I want to do everything I can to prepare him for the influx of a tiny visitor that is bound to take attention from him. We did this successfully 30 odd years ago when we had our first baby with a 5 year old Samoyed who accepted and soon became devoted to the baby. But our grandchild is only going to visit us and I think this might be more difficult for Jack to accept. I am as confident as you can be that he would never intentionally hurt a baby but he is a 35kilos bulldozer. I had thought of buying a doll and nursing it and playing with it on the floor to get him used to the idea of not walking all over it!! The floor has always been “his territory” – that is where we play with him and have lots of cuddles etc. You will be pleased to hear he does not climb on the settee or bed, but we do role around the floor with him and it is a nightly game before bedtime.

Sorry for the garbled message – I hope you understand it. I don’t want to wait until the little one visits us, and then decide we have a problem. Any thoughts on the doll idea?

Thanks and hope to see you soon

This is my advice regarding the visit of a grandchild and how to prepare your dog for it.

1. According to me spoiling a dog is cruel. His parents never do it. No animal is ever spoiling her/his children.
Spoiling a dog is in most cases caused by our feeling of lack. The solution is to work at your personal development, to start listening to your true self, to stop sailing down the river called Denial, in order to reach an ever higher level of awareness. Your dog is showing you the way. He does not need your love. You are needing his love, or so you think. It will be my pleasure to help you find the right behaviour.

2. Find some neighbours, family or friends who have (small) children and introduce them to your dog. If your dog is showing any signs of aggression with them you need professional help.

3. If your dog is sleeping in your bedroom, place his bed outside that room and if need be put him on a lead and restrict him to another area.

4. You are absolutely right with your excellent idea about the doll. Walk around with the doll and speak to it as if it is your grandchild. When changing the nappy of the doll, always put the dog in sitSTAY or downSTAY. Let him sniff and watch the doll and praise him for being good.

5. Now this is important: USE DIFFERENT WORDS AND A DIFFERENT TONE OF VOICE, for the dog and the baby.

6. Dogs must not be allowed on furniture. Certainly not on furniture near the grandchild. Now is the time to change your behaviour if your dog was allowed on furniture.

7. Move the dog’s bed around from one place to another and from one room to another, in order to teach him to STAY wherever you want him to stay.

8. Teach your dog to be alone. For instance leave him in a room, close the door and go back after 10 seconds, then after a few minutes etc… until he can stay alone for half an hour.

9. Stop all wrestling games, tug-of-war games and all games involving chasing with your dog. The floor is your territory. Not his. You will allow your grandchild to walk on the floor. Not your dog. If that is not clear for him he might challenge the child.

10. If you have not done it yet, start practicing the Bruno Dog Feeding Ritual. A grandchild will have to be fed several times a day. In order to avoid what we call “jealousy” from your dog, feed him also not twice a day but each time your grandchild will be fed. Feed him after the grandchild has been fed.

11. If you have several dog toys scattered all over your home, then that is big trouble. One of my basic rules is to NEVER leave any toys on the floor for the dog. These objects are not toys for the dog but PREYS and he considers the toys/preys to be his property. Everyone having an unstable dog has bought lots of toys for the spoiled dog. Many people do this because of the feeling of guilt, especially when they do not spend quality time with their dog or when they have not taught him to stay alone for a while.
Take not only all dog toys away, but also everything else a dog can consider as his prey like shoes, slippers, socks, etc…
Use only one toy when playing with your dog and hide the toy after the playful session. If the dog picks up anything from the floor, take it away from him and shout at the THING. NOT at the dog.

12. Start pulling the ears and the tail of the dog and praise him for letting you do it. Invite other adults and children to do this too under your supervision.

13. If possible ask for some bedsheets or unwashed clothes from the grandchild to be send to you. Let the dog smell them and praise him for it. Leave the sheets and clothes in the area where the grandchild will be.

14. When the grandchild arrives, put your dog on a leash and let him smell the child while keeping the leash in your hands. Leave the trailing leash on the dog for several days in order to enable you to correct the dog quickly when the need arrives.

15. Dogs like the smell of used nappies. Keep them away from the dog. Otherwise you will be in for a surprise.

Always willing to help.

Love

Bruno

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