A new baby in the house
Last week a new baby came to live with us in the shape of a Jack Russell/Cockerpoo cross. However, this isn’t a newborn baby, it’s more like a second toddler.
Just like all babies, our new baby isn’t too keen on sleeping yet and would much rather cuddle up with the humans at night rather than stay in her own bed. Nighttime is also the best time to play with the toys she’s ignored all day – especially if they make a noise!
When this baby moved in with us, her previous parents had been feeding her cheap food from Lidl. We followed the advice to continue to give her the same food and gradually introduce something different over a few days and had to endure the terrible (and very smelly) wind that accompanied this. Now that she’s onto something better, the wind seems to have stopped too. Yay! She does seem to be constantly hungry despite being fed four times a day with treats in between but we are sticking to the recommendations and hoping that she is just chancing her luck rather than actually being hungry. Like a baby, we’re using the wet nappy and poo approach to ensure she’s having enough, and so far, there’s no indication for concern! We are being strict about not feeding her from the table or encouraging her to be around us while we’re eating and hope that she won’t learn to beg by doing so.
We are having to undertake potty training without a potty which means keeping an eye on her at all times or there will be a puddle just waiting for you to step in. Even poos can slide under the radar undetected if you don’t pay attention! Middle of the night garden visits are becoming our new nemesis as we stand shivering in PJs and dressing gown waiting for her to finish and rewarding her when she does.
As she has only just moved in with us, we’ve been somewhat cautious about leaving her alone but are trying the crate method to promote her sense of security when she is left alone. She seems happy to curl up in there and the few, very short occasions that she’s been left, we’ve returned to no destruction, no barking and no accidents. However, just like all babies, she gets upset if you leave the room and follows us everywhere like a four-legged shadow. She is already asserting herself as part of the family and does not like to be left out!
We are trying to promote a routine for the new baby that will work with our family and as such are encouraging outside toileting, sleeping at night, eating at regular times and not barking (at the cat). Despite their bad press, bribes are the one thing that this toddler responds positively to, and seeing the wagging tail as she’s given her reward is as rewarding for us as it is for her! Hopefully, their use will help her get used to her new routine quickly and painlessly!
Her language skills are seriously under-developed and she communicates in the most basic way, barking and growling whenever she hears or sees something that makes her uncomfortable. She cries occasionally if left alone in a room briefly without an escape route but is better than our other toddler in this respect! At the moment, most commands are ignored or seen as an invitation to play. But she is starting to understand the important ones, such as food, bed, toilet and no! Actually, that’s a lie. Just like a toddler, “No!” has become a much over-used word in this house and is usually met with derision until it is boomed with anger.
Teething & Biting
This baby came fully mobile and ready to explore. She likes to put things in her mouth and have a good chew, especially if it’s a small toy left unwittingly on the living room floor. Which generally causes a scramble to retrieve it before she swallows a piece. She will learn the Drop command very quickly at this rate! She is nipping at us all in a playful way, but we are working hard to eradicate this behaviour using positive discipline and lots more shouting of No!
As with all toddlers, this one loves to play but is quickly exhausted after a short period of hyperactivity and likes nothing better than a nap while cuddling on the sofa. Her toys are fun but better to chew but coats on the banister, shirts and dresses on a hanger and even towels are far more fun than any toys we could buy her. She will tear around the garden when we take her out like a bullet fired from a gun and jumps and leaps over obstacles with dexterity. After each session, she is quick to return to us and check-in to ensure all is well with her world.
Most people would call us crazy to introduce a puppy to our lives at this point, but with someone at home a lot of the time, a large garden for exercise until she’s completed her vaccinations and the lack of sleep we’re already getting from the children, there actually didn’t seem a better time to have a new baby in the house! And she has already found her way into out hearts with her playful but cautious personality that seems to prefer a cuddle to naughtiness.