Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Does your dog know you are pregnant?

With pregnancy comes many changes- new smells from the hormones coursing through your veins, ever changing moods, changes in appearance, extreme exhaustion, constant puking and nausea. Don't think for a second your dog doesn't know big changes are in the air, he/she might even know before you ever pee on a stick. Some dogs adapt well to these changes, though some more sensitive dogs might show some anxiety.

Bell, my strong alpha dog sensed I was weaker and took it upon herself to become more protective of house and home. To keep her in check, we had to keep clear boundaries and use commands and obedience as a gentle reminders I was still in charge and a capable leader. One key technique is called Nothing In Life Is Free aka NILIF. Essentially asking her to perform her commands as a way to earn rewards such as food and affection helped keep her from staging a coup against me. It also helped us identify the commands she needed the most brushing up on which is another critical element in preparing dogs for baby. Examples of commands to practice: sit, down, stay, leave it, wait, and gentle.

Mack is my sensitive jock. While I spent the better part of oh, say, 34 weeks of non stop nausea and puking so did he on occasion. If I closed the bathroom door, he would whine and cry right along with me. More than once I swear he puked out of pity. I eventually learned that if I left the door open, he would lay down outside the door to watch over me and once done, he would escort me back to the sofa. He was the perfect nurse maid who always stuck close to me and not once did he get mad at me for having hardly any energy for a walk or a game of ball.

I think I got off pretty easy in this department. I hope you do too, but here are some other examples of how your dogs could react to your pregnancy:
1. Marking/peeing in the house. If this occurs, get thee to a vet to rule out kidney stones or a urinary tract infection first. Then, if your male dog isn't neutered, correct that immediately. Not only will it help cur marking, but statistically intact male dogs are more likely to bite. Stock up on an enzymatic cleaner and be sure to revert to crate training if the housebreaking continues to regress.

2. Becoming more aloof to you. You look like my mom, but you sure as heck don't smell like her. Give the dog the time and space to adjust, he/she will accept your new scent.

3. Becoming more velcro like. You are my mom, and I love your new smell, so I must follow you everywhere you go and protect you. Be sure to keep the house rules clear and maintain your place as the leader as this will help your dog relax.

Good luck and enjoy the ride with your furry babies.


  1. Did P do anything special or did she only know you as pregnant?

  2. P was super snuggly with me, but it wasn't out of the norm. She did like to curl up with me on the sofa, shhhhh, don't tell T!

  3. Thanks for posting this :) I look forward to referencing your blog when DH & I are ready to have 2 legged babies.