There were times leading up to the baby coming that Declan and I talked about the sad, but real possibility of what could happen if he didn't get used to the baby (
Leading up to the baby coming, we started setting up the swing, pack-n-play, and such things around the house. Mac definitely noticed these unusual 'things', but he got used to them over the 3-weeks they were up pre-baby-entering-the-world. He sniffed around them alot, and soon they became normal to him.
When we went into the hospital to have the baby, Mac went to my parents house for those 3 days where he got showered with lots of love and attention. When my parents came to visit us in the hospital, they took the very first baby hat they stuck on Emeline's head (right after she came out). My mom took it back to the house, and put it in Mac's cage, where he slept with it...sniffed it...and got used to her smell. This is a key-factor (in my opinion) to getting a dog used to a baby.
The day we got discharged from the hospital, my mom made sure Mac was at our house, in his crate, as he normally is when we come home from anywhere. We read that it's always best to have the dog home first and bring the baby home, rather then bring a dog home to a new baby. Make sense?
I walked in first and greeted him, which is our normal routine. He noticed Declan carrying the infant seat, but was too excited to see us to care about the baby. I took him out, and then when he came in--he went right to the carseat to check out his new sister.
We read that giving him a lot of praise when he's exhibiting appropriate behavior is the best way to go about getting him to behave around a baby. Rather then yelling at him for doing something 'bad'.
When we got her out of her seat, he came up close, sniffed around...and tried to sneak a little teeny lick in around her ears. We gently told him 'no' (I'm not totally anti-dog-kisses, I just like them to be in moderation, please and thank-you), but made sure to tell him what a good boy he was being when he just sat there calmly.
Generally, dogs will accept a baby into their "pack" once they realize they are here to stay. Mac never exhibited any of the territorial signs (ie: peeing on things to mark territory, thank.you.God.), which we were grateful for. He pretty much instantaneously became her little watch-guard-dog.
When she's swinging in the baby swing, he sleeps on the couch overlooking her.
When she gets her diaper changed and let's out some cries, he sits right down below and also let's out a few cries as in "What the heck are you doing to her, you big meanies!?" He has gotten better about this, though.
When she lays in her vibrating papasan chair, he sits behind it with his head resting on it looking at her.
In general, he's been fantastic.
Does he still require a lot of attention?
Does he still drive me completely nuts and bark at the most innappropriate times?
Umm. YEP. [Luckily, his barking does.not.phase.her. I hear they get used to barking and such in the womb...and well, Mac is a barker. Luckily, he hasn't woken her yet.]
But, he certainly loves Emeline and wouldn't let anything happen to her.
For that, I'm grateful.
So, my suggestion for those of you worried about bringing-baby-home to a dog (as spoiled, or rotten or however they seem to you now)...just test it out. You may be pleasantly surprised like we were.