Concerned expecting parents who are considering surrendering their family dog with the arrival of their new baby have other options available to them today. Family Paws Parent Education is a great educational resource that offers two international training programs with the goal of making babies and dogs compatible in the same household.
"Dogs & Storks" is geared for families prior to the arrival of a baby, and the "Dog and Baby Connection" is for families with babies 3 months to 3 years of age. According to the Founder of FPPE and the creator of the programs, Jennifer Shryock noted, "we offer these programs in the States and Canada," and if you're unable to find a trainer on their website, you can contact Shryock directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) to locate a presenter in your area.
Shryock indicated the licensed training is conducted by professionals who "already have a successful dog training/related business (and) have a strong background in dog behavior." There are 9 hours of webinars that trainers are required to take, and to date the organization has been able to license 120 presenters.
1. Will our dog be jealous?
2. How do we introduce our dog to our new baby?
3. What if our dog growls at the baby?
4. Should we carry a doll? Listen to baby sounds? Bring home a blanket?
5. What if our dog does not like the baby?
Susan Marett, owner of the Purely Positive Dog Training LLC in Charleston, SC, together with her partner Heather Moore are two such licensed trainers. While they offer both the "Dogs & Storks" and "Baby Connection" workshops every 2 to 3 months at the Charleston Animal Society, they are also introducing another class they call "Dogs and Diapers."
This 4-week class will start on May 15th and is designed for couples who are planning a family. Babies who attend the class can be up to six months and not yet crawling or walking. The dogs in attendance will learn useful skills such as walking with the stroller without pulling, lying down while the baby is fed or changed -- and also being coached not to jump on the babyat any time.
According to Marett, her and Moore "plan on offering the 'Dogs and Diapers' classes several times a year, and will have no more than 5 families per class so that everyone can receive individual attention."
In creating an international organization Shryock who was an active volunteer and post president of 'German Shepherd Rescue' was originally motivated when she witnessed first hand how many dogs were abandoned once a family was expecting. "As the Mother of four children and a certified dog behavior consultant, I found it frustrating and believed that with more resources available families could make more informed choices about their companions."
For would-be trainers who are interested in becoming licensed presenters, Shryock accepts resumes at email@example.com and requests that you include 2 references from families you have worked with in the past. And if requested, she may require a video sample of your training capabilities.