A dad who is expecting twins writes in and asks, “We’ve got some dogs at home. Do you have any suggestions for preparing them for the twins?”
In the Rawlinson household, we don’t have any dogs since I’ve been allergic to dogs ever since I was a kid. However, in talking with other parents who do have dogs, I’ve heard several things that work very well in getting them prepared for twins.
One method that I’ve heard works well is to let the dogs become familiar with your babies’ smell before they arrive home and meet each other. For example, take something home that the twins have used in the hospital, like a onesie, a blanket, etc., and introduce it to your dogs. This will give them a chance to become familiar with their smell before the twins actually arrive home.
Watch Your Dog’s Temperament
Keep in mind that the temperament of your dogs will greatly impact their interactions with babies. You will have experience with your animals beforehand and will know what to expect.
Don’t make a big deal of the twin’s arrival. Let the dogs smell and get used to the babies. If you have spent time at the hospital, your dogs are going to miss you. You need to reintroduce yourself to them before you go in with the babies.
Definitely, use a leash if you are worried about behavior, and encourage the proper behavior that you want to see. This also includes giving your dogs attention.
Twin and Dog Interactions
If you’re concerned about the dogs licking the babies, keep your babies up high, like in a bassinet, but still within range where the dogs can smell them and get used to their smells and sounds.
Just like with older children, make sure that you spend one-on-one time with your dogs so they still feel loved and feel your attention. You can always fence in your dog, leaving your dog in a different room of the house or in the backyard, if you need to keep them separated. As a reminder, you don’t want to leave the babies in a room by themselves with your dog.
Did you have dogs when you brought your babies home? How did you help your four legged friends make the adjustment? Leave a comment and let us know.
This topic was originally addressed on the Dad’s Guide to Twins Podcast Episode 81: Dogs and Twins, Psychology of Raising Twins, Different Due Dates.
(RELATED: Don't reinvent the twin parenting wheel. Get my 7 Things Every Dad of Twins Needs to Know.)
Picture by David Amsler