A few people have asked me the same couple of questions lately, so I thought it'd be time to do an update on our pack.
- Yes, we still have four dogs.
- They are now 10, 10, 9 and 7 years old respectively.
- They are all doing well, despite all the health crises of recent years.
- Yes, they are getting on well with the Wee Monster.
- He's 7 months old, has 3.5 teeth and can roll but not crawl... yet.
We are still keeping the baby and the dogs fairly separate - which recently included connecting two play pens together to make a giant play pen - its big enough to hold a two seater couch, as well as the baby gym and a baby chair in the shape of a giraffe called Shortie. Wee Monster can roll and creep around inside the play pen quite effectively, although he complains bitterly if he gets caught with one leg under the couch. I quite like being able to sit on the couch for story time. And the playpen keeps the baby toys safe from dog fluff and drool.
Some of Wee Monster's toys have squeakers, which causes the dogs to come running. They stand by the play pen and look hopefully at Wee Monster and me. Sorry guys, we know how quickly you'd destroy any toy that squeaks!
Czar remains fascinated with the Wee Monster. He and Ishka are both likely to lie next to the play pen or the baby mat. Both will lick his face endlessly until told to leave him alone, which makes him giggle. Until a month or so ago, he didn't seem to notice the dogs. Now, when he spots them, he grins and babbles at them. They have gotten used to his wildly waving arms, which are day by day, getting better at grabbing what he wants!
Bolo still has pretty restricted access to the baby, and is less determined to reach the baby. If he allowed to touch, he will sniff Wee Monster in great detail. I can see them becoming partners in crime.
When we are outside, usually because I'm hanging yet another load of washing, Wee Monster has outside time, and the dogs have been working on NOT standing on whatever mat the baby is lying on. This is not a problem for Frankie, who remains nervous about the baby. He mostly stays out of reach. Today he stepped closer and patiently endured having the baby tug at the fur on top of his head, which was very impressive. (Only very briefly, because I detatched the hand as quickly as I could.)
All of the dogs have been very patient about being bopped, squealed at, and, in Ishka's case, kicked. After I took the above photo, I looked down to the washing I was hanging, and heard a yelp. The Wee Monster had dropped his feet down, right onto Ishka's side, and was drumming his heels on her rump. After the initial shocked yelp, she didn't react. She didn't even move away!
I am really pleased that our dogs have been so accepting of our new arrival, but I am still very vigilante about supervising them. I watch dog body language carefully. So far, I haven't seen any moon eyes, raised hackles, stiff backs or heard any whining or growling. I always make sure the dogs are not restricted - they can choose how close they come to the baby (up to a point) and can back away at any time. They are well socialised with people, but have rarely had much to do with children, let alone babies. As the baby gets more mobile, we will make sure that he doesn't harrass them, and will make sure he understands to be gentle with them.