Dogs + Babies

in BabyHTP, Pregnancy

Many of you have asked how the creepy baby doll experiment is going.


You see, Maggie is used to spending approximately 10 hours a day in my lap. It’s been like this every single day since I started to work from home at my old job nearly four and a half years ago. In case you’re counting, that’s about 16,425 hours in my lap.


Of course, when the baby comes, Maggie’s life is going to change.  I still plan to hold her in my lap every day (when the Husband is holding the baby, we’re all sitting on the couch, or the baby is sleeping or playing) but her lap time is, obviously, going to drastically decrease.  Our biggest concern with the dogs is that we don’t want to totally flip their lives upside-down one day – we imagine that would be emotionally distressing and make them resent the baby – so we’re trying to make lots of little changes slowly over time.  Our goal is to make the five of us one big, happy family.


So, we bought a creepy baby doll for $1 at a consignment sale, and I’ve been sitting with the doll in my lap about half of the time that I’m the computer.  I look like a nut, but it’s really helping Maggie figure things out (which is a miracle – Maggie isn’t the brightest crayon in the box). When my lap is occupied, she doesn’t really try to get up; she just sits in the doggie bed next to me.  And when my lap is free, she knows it’s cuddle time. 


Next up on our list of doggie behavioral tweaks (the first tweak was getting James used to sleeping in his cozy cave, which he now loves!):  playing YouTube videos of crying babies to get them used to the sound.


In other news…


Happy Valentine’s Day!  Can you spot the two mystery hearts?


Per our holiday tradition, I received breakfast in bed (next year is the Husband’s turn).  He made me a wonderful egg and cheese sammie.


Can any other furmommas weigh in on how they prepared their beloved pups for the baby? 



  • Claire @ Live and Love to Eat February 14, 2012, 8:20 am

    “Creepy cosignment baby doll” sounds like a great idea. It’s sweet of you to consider how your pups will react to your growing family!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 14, 2012, 8:22 am

    I have zero experience with the dog baby thing, but that seems like a good idea? Haha. and what a cute heart sandwich!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat February 14, 2012, 8:24 am

    I love the baby doll, especially since it seems to work! I’ve heard that you should let the dogs sniff all the baby’s stuff before they arrive and practice walking with the stroller with them too. I’m sure they will adjust just fine 🙂

  • Samantha Angela February 14, 2012, 8:25 am

    Does she get jealous of the creepy baby?

    • Caitlin February 14, 2012, 8:33 am

      I think she’s scared of it.

      • Anna February 14, 2012, 9:46 am

        I hope she doesn’t get MORE scared when one day it moves and emits loud noises!! 😉

        • Caitlin February 15, 2012, 9:04 am

          I make the doll wiggle and cry. LOL. She prob thinks it’s possessed.

  • Lee February 14, 2012, 8:30 am

    I’m not pregnant, but just last night I told my husband that one of my biggest fears is how our dog is going to react if we have a baby. I know that sounds silly, but we spoil him so much right now that it’s going to be a big change for him.

    • Caitlin February 14, 2012, 8:33 am

      I don’t think that’s silly… I think that means you love your dog. I wish more people loved their pets like that!

    • Jenny February 14, 2012, 9:33 am

      Lee – that is not crazy at all! When we left for the hospital, I cried and hugged my dog like I was taking him to be put down. Granted, hormones probably didn’t help, but he was (is) my baby and I felt guilty that we were going to turn his life upside down. We kept telling him, “In the long run, we’re giving you more love, buddy.” And you know what, it did. My daughter is 6 months old and adores our dog already. I can only imagine how much additional love she’ll provide for him as she grows.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 14, 2012, 8:32 am

    I hadn’t even thought about that before but I guess the creepy consignment baby tactic could work! Happy Valentine’s Day Caitlin!

  • Hannah February 14, 2012, 8:34 am

    Smart move with the baby doll! I have a dachshund and she’s also dumb as sh*t! 😉 But she know it’s snuggle time when my lap is free.

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras February 14, 2012, 8:37 am

    The doll and Youtube crying are such good ideas! I’ll have to remember to use those on my menagerie when I’m pregnant. And happy Valentine’s Day!

  • Keri February 14, 2012, 8:44 am

    Breakfast in bed? What a great tradition! Maybe next year for us 🙂

    I bet Maggie transitions with the baby better than the doll. I’ll be curious to see…

  • Katie February 14, 2012, 8:46 am

    Good luck with those Youtube crying videos. I think they’d even send me to another room…. 😉

  • Hillary February 14, 2012, 8:55 am

    I love the alternating breakfast in bed tradition. I need to give that a try!

  • sharon February 14, 2012, 8:56 am

    I love that you are helping the dogs adjust for the baby! I’ve seen to many dog owners that once the baby arrives, they don’t really care for their dogs like they used to! It makes me happy to see that you plan to keep the dogs in your life, and make room for the baby 🙂

  • Staci February 14, 2012, 9:12 am

    Today is my baby’s sixth birthday! 🙂 The sweetest thing my dog ever did was almost literally after I’d learned I was pregnant when she came over to me on the couch and laid her head right on my tummy. It was the most bizarre, adorable thing ever … like she knew. When we brought CJ home, we laid him in his swing and pet her and let her know who he was and that things were going to be changing. Our relationship changed (her and I). I think she had that maternal thing as well so she knew I had to care for my little guy more. Otherwise, I really didn’t prep her. Good luck (that breakfast looks delish!).

  • Sana February 14, 2012, 9:13 am

    Bahaha I can just imagine how funny things at your house must seem at the moment!

  • Khushboo February 14, 2012, 9:14 am

    I can only spot one heart (the oranges)…hmmm!

  • Alett February 14, 2012, 9:21 am

    Great job with starting the acclimation process early!

    You may want to check out the CD entitled “Baby Sounds for Pets”
    I think you can get it at or at Amazon.

    Happy Valentine’s day!

    p.s. it is also my dog’s 11th birthday today 🙂

    • Caitlin February 15, 2012, 9:05 am

      Nice – thanks for the link!

      happy birthday pup!

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb February 14, 2012, 9:23 am

    love your breakfast in bed tradition! and not to mention, that sammie looks delicious. happy valentine’s day, caitlin!

  • Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife February 14, 2012, 9:30 am

    I see the hearts!!! LOVE this tradition! Happy V day!

  • Colette February 14, 2012, 9:31 am

    The biggest adjustment we had to help our dogs with was understanding which toys are for baby and which toys are for them. Before our first daughter was born, we set up a basket of “baby” toys that were off limits to the dogs. So glad we did this. Previous to having kids, our dogs would regularly destroy any kind of stuffed animal dog toy – or anything they could chew, really.

    • Laura February 14, 2012, 2:11 pm

      Oooh. Such a good idea!

      • Caitlin February 15, 2012, 9:06 am

        Great idea. I will def do this when we do the nursery.

  • Sara February 14, 2012, 9:41 am

    Great advice on getting dogs acclimated to a baby! Never thought to play crying baby videos to get them used the sound of a crying baby. Smart!

  • Jenny February 14, 2012, 9:42 am

    I think it’s great that you’re doing this…
    We have two cats and a dog and did a lot of the same things. We mixed up their routines by feeding them at different times, walking at different times, etc. Not drastically, but enough that when my daughter was born, the dog didn’t freak out if he didn’t get walked right away. We also set up all the baby stuff in advance and let them smell and inspect everything. A lot of the real preparation we did was in just training our big dog to be a good boy, starting in the puppy years. When the baby was born, he was already accustomed to following our leadership.

    Do your dogs seem to know you’re pregnant? My dog really seemed to know and became much gentler and protective of me.

    • Caitlin February 15, 2012, 9:09 am

      No, they don’t know I’m pregnant. James is smart and I’m surprised he hasn’t figured it out. I like your tips!

  • Kath February 14, 2012, 9:43 am

    I think the doll training is simply brilliant!!

  • Melissa February 14, 2012, 9:46 am

    This wasn’t so much preparation, but we did (and still do!) ask our guests to say hi to the dog and pat her before they approach the baby. Our dog was so used to getting so much attention, and she LOVES company, so we hope it helps her feel like people are still coming over just to see her! Our son is now 4 months old and is just starting to develop a friendship with our dog, she is the only thing that consistenly makes him laugh. Seeing the two of them together warms my heart!

  • Gina @ Running to the Kitchen February 14, 2012, 9:50 am

    The doll thing actually makes perfect sense but the visual of you sitting at the computer with a doll in your lap definitely makes me laugh! 🙂

  • Samantha February 14, 2012, 10:06 am

    My friend made it a habit to get down on the floor and get close to her dogs food/toys/bones etc. More to prepare dog for when her son started to crawl but it was good so he knew to be cautious when it was baby’s “tummy time”

  • Anne @strawberryjampackedlife February 14, 2012, 10:21 am

    Have you had any babies in the house? We’ve had our friends’ kid (first at 6 months now at 9 months) over for various reasons. I was very interested to see how April would respond. So far she’s just curious and very gentle. Even when the baby bopped her on the nose, she just sat there.

  • Tabitha (From Single to Married) February 14, 2012, 10:23 am

    I think that’s a great idea! We had to go through the whole adjustment phase too when we brought our baby home. I’m happy to report that they do, in fact, adjust and we are so glad we have our little dog who is now best buds with our two year old!

  • Leslie February 14, 2012, 10:37 am

    I love dog people!

    • Caitlin February 15, 2012, 9:14 am

      Haha me too 🙂

  • ASHLEY February 14, 2012, 10:53 am

    a little tid bit that might put your mind at ease:
    i have two wild pups, both high energy and total cuddle bugs. their spot (both, at the same time) is on my lap, chest, legs, feet..whatever, whenever.
    when we found out we were expecting, i was nervous at my boys reaction–the youngest pup was a little unpredictable with babies and we were nervous. we trained them as much as possible, but admittedly, slacked off a bit at the end. (growing a baby is enough work!) so we hoped for the best.

    My husband went home the second night i was in the hospital after our bebe was born to exercise them, play with them, and bring home some baby smelling things. they were very curious, naturally.

    the most amazing part? when we got home, i went in first (without baby, which is recommended) while my hubs sat in the car. I walked in, and IMMEDIATELY they sslloowwllyy walked over, noses in the air, and sat down.
    mind you, these dogs JUMP and BARK like crazy when we get home. They have been the most gentle, calm, loving fur brothers to our baby than i could have ever imagined (even our socially nervous little guy). It was such a relief.

    long story short, its wonderful you’re getting your pups accustomed to a baby..but really. dont worry! its good to be proactive, but they will know. everything will fall into place when you get home with your new little one. just being there for them and loving them will, in all honesty, be enough. our babe is now 6 months old, and im pretty sure shes starting to say “dog,” (not mama, or dada..) they love her to pieces and she to them as well.

    • Caitlin February 15, 2012, 9:15 am

      awesome comment!

    • Kate Dotson February 19, 2012, 5:45 am

      this comment almost made me cry. (pregnancy hormones? haha) We have two dogs, who are okay trained but pretty high energy, barking when we come in the door, etc… and this comment gave me hope that it will all be okay! right now our dogs are our babies, and i’m so worried about making sure they still feel loved after baby comes. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels this way! and the baby doll idea sounds like a good one Caitlyn, I think I’ll have to try it.

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 14, 2012, 11:16 am

    Aww, the breakfast in bed tradition is cute! Happy Valentines Day to both of you 😀

  • jEN February 14, 2012, 11:38 am

    While we were still in the hospital, we sent home some of the babies clothes and hats that had been worn (and therefore would smell like baby). Gave them to the pets and let them have them. Play with them, whatever they wanted to do for the days we weren’t home.

    Both our cat and dog took to her with ease. The dog immediatly sniffed her and welcomed her like a part of the family when we got home. It almost seemed like he just sensed she was part of us. He is very subtly protective of her now. Wherever she is…he is quietly lurking and supervising. LOL.

    I was VERY surprised that our cat is completely cool with her. Just the other day the baby grabbed the cats fur and skin – full on fist full. Much to our surprise…that cat was totally cool with it…in fact, I think she just simply LOVED the attention! 😉

  • Katie - Life Discombobulated February 14, 2012, 12:00 pm

    I am not one to talk about babies or offer sane advice on how to lovingly train pets to get used to something. I still feel guilty every day when I walk out the door (no joke) and have actually turned down invites from friends because I feel bad if my cat has been alone all day. We clearly have a hard core co-dependent relationship going on here… God help me when I have a spouse or a child.
    What I CAN say is that sometimes there is nothing better than opening up HTP and seeing Maggie in her red sweater! Ahhhh!!! The cuteness!!! 🙂

  • Laura February 14, 2012, 12:16 pm

    Oh Maggie 🙂

  • Sonia the Mexigarian February 14, 2012, 12:25 pm

    i wonder if I can train cats the same way. I worry about one of my cats swatting at any future baby of ours :\

    and the breakfast in bed is such a lovely gesture. I would love to do that with Hubby, but I know better than to wake a sleeping bear. lesson learned.

    I threw a bag of pistachios at Eric last night and said “happy valentines day” while he tossed me a bag of soccer socks (which I love) and told me to warm up my corpse feet. haha.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 14, 2012, 12:55 pm

    I totally get the whole thing about not wanting to turn your dog’s life upside down. My Charlie is my baby, and when we have kids, I’m so nervous he’ll feel left out and rejected. He loves cuddling and laying on the couch with us (he’s 60 pounds!) and whines at the door if the Husband and I are ever in a room without him.

  • Penny February 14, 2012, 1:05 pm

    Maggie is such a little sweetheart. She loves momma cuddles. 🙂

  • marci February 14, 2012, 1:15 pm

    My dog is truly my first born child. I am a little concerned about what will happen when the baby comes home. I think she will be fine as long as she is where I am. She is very inquisitive and will probably act like the helper.

  • Molly @ RDexposed February 14, 2012, 2:02 pm

    Why didn’t the humans in Lady and the Tramp do this?? Darling dropped the ball big time.

  • Kristen@Change of Pace February 14, 2012, 2:05 pm

    I have 4 dogs and we were so worried about them when we had both of our kids. Honestly, they didn’t even act like anything was wrong. It was weird. They just accepted it. Now they are 3 and 18mos and the dogs just love them. Once you have your baby you’ll have to remind yourself who your first babies were. I find myself struggling to find cuddle time for the dogs because I’m stretched to the limit with two kids and a husband. I make it work though 🙂

  • Sneakers2sandals February 14, 2012, 2:12 pm

    I really appreciate the fact that you are addressing the whole introducing the dog to having a baby around thing. I’m not pregnant yet and we won’t be trying for a little while but it’s still something thats on my mind. I def want one big happy family and my dog is our baby now so I can imagine that having another priority around would be hard for the dog. Anyways, I look forward to learning about the integration of your two babies 🙂

  • Amber K February 14, 2012, 2:18 pm

    I’m still searching for the heart that’s not the oranges! Tricky, tricky lady 😉

    • Stephanie C February 14, 2012, 2:41 pm


  • Laura February 14, 2012, 2:20 pm

    I think those are great ideas. In my experience dogs usually can sense that they have to be gentler with babies. Our dog (a 50 lbs mutt) is MUCH more gentle with our younger nieces and nephew (even letting them hold her paws and lay on her) but plays rougher with our older nephews. I think she knows that the younger ones need to be handled more carefully. I also thing dogs have a strong sense of smell & know that family smell different. Our dog likes people but LOVES my MIL bc I think she can tell that my MIL smells like family. 😀

  • Stephanie C February 14, 2012, 2:41 pm

    I love that you’re doing this… we have a 6 1/2 yr old JRT and she is our baby. We’re not planning on a family any time soon, but I’m always thinking about how she’ll do with a little one around. She is SUPER territorial and doesn’t even like other dogs to get near us.. or to even be near her block!! (At the dog park she is fine, as long as we ignore other dogs)
    She’s so unpredictable, sometimes she’ll really love someone and we have no idea why and sometimes she’ll just hate someone and try to nip them (not a full on bite). I’m hoping I remember all the stuff you’re doing because I’m sure we’ll need it! One thing I did do when she was a puppy was to pull her ears and tail, as well as grab her skin to get her used to the idea that a little kid might do that one day. She also knows “be nice” means to give kisses and not bite.. but that’s only if she’s not in her crazy mode 😉

  • Angie @ Pint of Goals February 14, 2012, 3:09 pm

    The creepy baby doll experiment is genius! When my husband and I eventually have a child, I will have to remember to do this (even though I don’t work from home and have one hundred pound dogs) – it is smart to help her get used to the idea of a baby. I’m glad it’s going well! Love all your posts about pregnancy and baby-related things 🙂

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery February 14, 2012, 3:28 pm

    I actually think it’s pretty ingenious to use a doll to get the dogs used to that. That’s super smart.

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 14, 2012, 3:38 pm

    I have two cats, both of whom love their cuddles. However, I have noticed that one (in particular) wont come near my belly once it started to grow. She obviously knows that something is going on, and will certainly need to work with her when baby BBB is born in a couple of weeks!

  • Tiffany February 14, 2012, 4:22 pm

    My husband and I are expecting our first in May. We have a 140lb “lap dog”, so we’ve been doing similar things to prepare him. The most helpful so far has been asking our vet what he recommends. He said that, given our dog’s temperament, he isn’t expecting any problems, but did suggest that we not change things overnight on him. Allow him in the nursery as it transforms from what it used to be (a guest room) into what it will be (the baby’s room). Many friends and our vet suggested having someone bring him a blanket that smells like the baby right after the baby is born so when we come home from the hospital with the baby he will be used to her scent. The other thing we’ve done is train him not to chew the baby’s toys. Most baby toys and teethers are surprisingly similar to a dog’s chew toy! The baby doll and youtube videos of crying babies have been helpful for us, too. I’m sure James and Maggie will adjust well after all the work you’ve put in!

  • Kelly @foodiefresh February 14, 2012, 5:00 pm

    For some reason, I don’t see Rascal as being very accepting of a doll in my lap. I need some ideas for clingy, deviously smart dog who would use his nose to push a baby off my lap if I would let him.

  • BethT February 14, 2012, 10:49 pm

    I’m not gonna lie. Seeing my dog all sad because he couldn’t spend as much time with me was really, really hard after I brought the baby home. It stayed hard for at least the first 6 months when we had an unpredictable schedule. It got better after Lucy started sleeping through the night and going to bed earlier, so we had more time to snuggle with the dog. I don’t think there’s any way to prepare them 100%, but just give them as much attention as you can once the little one arrives – it’s the best you can do!

  • Lisa February 15, 2012, 1:49 pm

    What an interesting idea! I wonder if something like that would work with training kitties to get used to a puppy?

  • TeenyLittleSuperChef February 15, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Oh I think the whole fake baby thing is a great idea. My husband and I are planning on getting pregnant soon and we have a litte Chihuahua who pretty much sits on my husband’s lap or is being carried around by him every second my husband is home. I think we’ll have to figure out how to ween him off a bit and make sure he won’t be jealous of the baby. I guess we’re lucky in that I’m not the one our dog usually wants to sit with, whereas the baby probably will. Oh dogs, they’re so funny 🙂

  • Imogen S February 20, 2012, 5:38 am

    Baby doll is kinda bizzare! Babies and dogs should always be supervised. There are many benefits of owning a pet for kids. I learnt this when I bought a book before Oliver was born called Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby. I bought mine from I don’t think it mentioned asthma thouugh!

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