Shortly before our baby was born, we hired a professional trainer to come help us work with Dude.
My wife was worried (rightly so) about Dude interacting with the baby. He was a big lovable dog, but didn’t know his own size. We were worried he would trample the baby or trip us when we carried her. We worked on some commands to help Dude learn a special place to sit when we were dealing with the baby, and we practiced better walking techniques. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to practice as much as we should have (I was working full time, going to grad school part time, and running my business). I didn’t have time to spend an hour a day working with Dude.
Dude didn’t seem to care.
When the baby final came, I brought home a dirty diaper and some clothes she had worn. He sniffed them for a minute and then ignored him. I took it as a good sign. When we brought the baby home, I went in alone to greet Dude and calm him down. Then, I went back outside and my wife came in to greet Dude. Finally, I came in with the baby in the car seat. I let Dude sniff the baby while carefully watching him. Again, he sniffed, then went and laid down uninterested.
As the days went by, Dude started to realize he was no longer top dog.
He became second priority to the baby. He didn’t handle this well. He started barking when the baby cried. He started jumping up on us when we held the baby. He started to bare his teeth when we held her. We started to become worried about the baby’s safety. One day, my wife was holding the baby in the rocker. Dude came into the room, and tried to jump onto my wife and lunge at the baby with his teeth bared. My wife freaked out and stood up, turned around, trying to put herself between him and the baby. He kept going so my wife set the baby on the chair and dragged him out of the room. That was the day my heart broke.
We called our trainer, our vet, and an animal behaviorist. After a lot of discussions with all three, each one individually recommended that Dude find a new home. Deep down I knew this was going to happen from the first time he jumped on us, I just couldn’t admit it to myself.
We made sure to keep the baby and dog separated.
My wife felt trapped in the nursery with the baby. We asked my brother-in-law to watch him for us as long as possible. He lived in an apartment, and had six weeks till his lease was over. So, we basically had six weeks to re-home Dude. I made a great flyer. We posted it at our vet, at work, Craigslist, and all over Facebook (Dude got dozens of shares). We listed him with every pet rescue agency in the state.