Guest Blogger Jennifer raymond on adding a baby to a pet-centric household

Our home was always full of animals. Our pets are part of our family. We have two cats and two Duck Tollers named Cadi and Linden.

We expanded our family in August 2013.  While I was still in the hospital, my husband would bring home one of the blankets that our son had been snuggled up in.  I don’t think the dogs really knew what was going to come but this would at least give them a chance to become familiar with the newest member of the Raymond household. 

Toddler James Raymond with one of his family's dogs, Cadi who they got from Daintree's Space and Heavens litter.

Toddler James Raymond with one of his family's dogs, Cadi who they got from Daintree's Space and Heavens litter.

A few days later, we brought our son James home from the hospital. We sent one of our dogs outside while the other one would stay inside.  This would allow each dog a chance to smell the car seat and get used what was in the car seat itself.  They examined every little spot on the car seat as well as James.  What was this little squirmy thing?  Does it bark like us?  What exactly does it do?

Over the next year as James begins to develop and become more mobile, our dogs adapted right along.  It was crucial for us to teach James to be gentle with any dog.  With that being said, we were also cognizant of how we acted with our dogs because children copy actions they see from others.

We have learned over the last year that providing a patient, calm and positive environment between the child(ren) and dog(s) helps enormously for both parties.  Adult supervision along with some basic understanding of dog behaviour goes a long way.  I’ve found that kids don’t always understand the concept of personal space so when introducing them to dogs, it’s a good idea to approach slowly.

If the dog appears to show signs such as:

  • are the dog’s eyes wide (the whites may often be visible),
  • is the dog trying to avoid the child or how is its posture?
  • Is it stiff? It’s often a sign that the dog needs a little space.  In my experience, I have found that if this is the case, it sometimes works if you try again another day. 

Perhaps the dog has been agitated by something else? We all have bad days so it’s not that the dog doesn’t like children but that it’s sometimes best to give it a little space and try again later.  If the dog feels cornered, the outcome won’t be positive.

When approaching a dog (with a child) and its behaviour appears to be friendly, its posture is relaxed / happy and appears to lean forward to sniff, those are all great signs.  Allow the child to put their hand out so that the dog can sniff it.  If the dog is comfortable in doing so, allow it to approach you (and not the other way around) and let it sniff you and/or the child.  

In general, be patient and don’t force the child to bond with the dog (or vice versa).  It will happen.  If you treat dogs with respect, they will most often return the favour. 

J Raymond.jpg

Jennifer Raymond is a graphic designer, mom, and lover of all animals. Eager to use her creative talents, Jennifer founded a pet photography business, where her passion for photography and animals were united. She was able to use both interests to help the Brooks Animal Protection Society, Pincher Creek Humane Society (SPCA), HeARTs Speak, and Prairie Pit Bull Rescue. She donated her photo services to these establishments by photographing animals ready for adoption, which were uploaded on social media. The experience created many happy memories, but Jennifer closed her business in 2013 when she gave birth to her son, James.

Jennifer’s passion for animals eventually led her to enroll in a Veterinary Assistant program in June 2014, which will be completed by end of 2015. When she isn’t playing with her son, two Duck Tollers, and two adopted cats, Jennifer can be found photographing the environment around her or happily typing away at her computer.

Introducing our next guest blogger- Jennifer Raymond

Jennifer Raymond is a graphic designer, mom, and lover of all animals. Eager to use her creative talents, Jennifer founded a pet photography business, where her passion for photography and animals were united. She was able to use both interests to help the Brooks Animal Protection Society, Pincher Creek Humane Society (SPCA), HeARTs Speak, and Prairie Pit Bull Rescue. She donated her photo services to these establishments by photographing animals ready for adoption, which were uploaded on social media. The experience created many happy memories, but Jennifer closed her business in 2013 when she gave birth to her son, James.

Jennifer’s passion for animals eventually led her to enroll in a Veterinary Assistant program in June 2014, which will be completed by end of 2015. When she isn’t playing with her son, two Duck Tollers, and two adopted cats, Jennifer can be found photographing the environment around her or happily typing away at her computer.

How are puppies matched to their families?

This is a pretty common question. How does a buyer know that they are truly getting the 'right' puppy, and that they are the right fit for him at the same time? Add to this the distance often existing between Daintree and the buyer, and this can cause some wonder or concern. You can't easily meet or spend time with the puppies, so is it possible that somehow you could end up with the wrong puppy, or one you can't handle?

The short answer is no. Duck Tollers are similar enough to one another that if the breeder things you can handle one, you could be ok with any Toller, especially if you raise it yourself from a puppy.

Let me explain how I approach the matching process.

Millie, Daintree's Put a Spell on You, co-owned by Daintree and the Suter family in Squamish.

Millie, Daintree's Put a Spell on You, co-owned by Daintree and the Suter family in Squamish.

For each litter, I have the exact number of buyers as I do puppies. This is achieved by interviewing and screening the same amount of families as I have puppies available for sale. Prior to the whelping, I screen and accept 6 families. Once the pups have arrived, I will screen and approve as many more families as I need to in order to ensure that there is a capable, qualified home for each puppy.

Let's say there are 8 puppies, which is a common number at Daintree. That means that I also have 8 families who have proven to be qualified by demonstrating that they are loving, caring, communicative, open-minded, active, holistically-minded, on board with the low vaccinations and raw diet as well as subscribe to the ideology of positive reinforcement training. Their lives will revolve around the puppy. And you know what? THAT is the right home for a Toller puppy. And if you are waiting for a puppy from an upcoming litter after having gone through the multiple steps of becoming approved, there is no way that you won't be the right fit for your dog.

Now, how about the puppy being right for you? This is trickier but there is a little bit of science and a little bit of magic that goes into matching the right pup for each home. 

Things I consider when making the matches:

  • temperament
  • gender
  • markings
  • activity level of the puppy 
  • activity level of the home
  • any special requirements (hunting, showing, therapy work, etc.)
  • predicted full-grown size (if the home is specifically looking for a larger or a smaller dog.)
  • buyers' input

Based on photos, videos and discussions, most of the owners are following along on social media and consciously or unconsciously choosing a favourite the whole time that the pups are developing. From first breath to their eyes opening to first meals and first time outside, you get the chance to witness all of it. Each puppy wears a ribbon to distinguish him from the others. It is always the same colour, so you can identify each puppy in every picture and video. You will be attracted to a certain few pups based on their appearance and their behaviours and when the time comes, you get to send me a list of your top 5 puppies. I always try to work within your top 1-3 puppies and discuss with you why I think your match is a good choice.

Every family seems to wind up with the perfect puppy regardless. Within five seconds of holding your little bundle, she is the ideal puppy and you name her and she becomes the most important thing in your life. I have never not seen this be the case.

Guest Blogger Brigitte Mah on Multiple Dog Ownership

Brigitte's Daintree dogs Finnegan, Millie and Cricket.

Brigitte's Daintree dogs Finnegan, Millie and Cricket.

I have a reputation in my town. I don't know what it is but I know it exists because when I walk my dogs, people will frequently make comments like "Oh, you're the lady with three Tollers" or "Ah yes. I've heard of Cricket".

I imagine my reputation is something akin to Crazy Dog Lady. After all, people have a tendency to be intimidated by things en masse. One little ladybug is cute, but a hundred? Get out the bug spray. So goes the reaction to multiple dogs, especially of the same breed. Last year we had four of Daintree's dogs and suddenly we weren't walking three Tollers; we had seven. The looks. The whispers. The straight up comments: "Are you guys insane?"

No.

If you’re thinking of adding another dog to your home, you aren’t crazy. It’s normal to want to give your dog a buddy, especially if you’re away for long stretches of time. But before you rush out and get that extra dog bed, consider a few things:

Be honest. How much do you actually walk your first dog? If he’s a senior and sleeps 23.5 hours of the day, you’ll have to find more time in your schedule for the new pup.

Be realistic. How old is your first dog? Does he get along better with girls or boys? Has he ever met another pup? All dogs get fed up of manic puppy energy but if your dog has no tolerance for a pup you should consider a mature dog instead.

Be patient. You’ll be introducing another personality to your home so stow the frustration if the dogs aren’t besties right away. You’ll have to guide them through the process of sharing, especially around food and toys.

Most importantly, be faithful. Your first dog was your first so never let him feel second. Jealousy brings out the worst in everyone.

Now ignore the comments about your sanity. Laugh at the raised eyebrows. Be confident you've got this.

Brigitte with her first Daintree dog, Cricket as a pup.

Brigitte with her first Daintree dog, Cricket as a pup.

Because you do.

Brigitte Mah is a dog collector, recovering vegetarian, and a confessed cheese addict. She has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, both local and national. When she's not correcting everyone's grammar on Facebook, she is tossing her dogs in the car and heading out to the nearest crag.