In this episode of the Doodle Pro Podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Tonya Lim, the Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz. Tonya specializes in helping families prepare their dogs for the arrival of a new baby. Here are some of the highlights from our conversation:
During the first trimester of pregnancy, Tonya suggests starting to think about what changes may need to be made to your dog's routine and behavior in order to prepare them for the new addition to the family. This could include introducing new commands or behaviors, such as teaching your dog to stay off of furniture or creating a designated space for them in the home.
In the second trimester, Tonya recommends focusing on helping your dog adjust to new equipment or changes in the home, such as baby gates or swings. It's important to anticipate potential behaviors that may be triggered by these changes, such as a dog becoming fixated on a moving swing, and work on training them to engage in alternate behaviors instead.
As the due date approaches, Tonya emphasizes the importance of creating a plan for the dog's care during labor and delivery, as well as for the first few weeks after the baby arrives. This could include having a friend or family member available to care for the dog, or arranging for them to stay at a boarding facility.
When it comes to introducing the dog to the new baby, Tonya suggests starting slowly and keeping the baby elevated and away from the dog's reach. It's important to closely monitor the dog's behavior and provide positive reinforcement for good behavior.
Throughout the entire process, Tonya emphasizes the importance of prioritizing the dog's emotional well-being and being aware of any signs of stress or anxiety. By planning ahead and taking steps to prepare your dog for the new addition to the family, you can help ensure a smooth transition for everyone involved.
If you're expecting a baby and need help preparing your dog, Tonya offers virtual doggy doula services through Family Pupz. Listeners of the Doodle Pro Podcast can receive a discount on consultations with the promo code THEDOODLEPRO.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the Doodle Pro Podcast! Don't forget to rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts, and follow me on Instagram at @thedoodlepro for more cute doodle content.
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Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Lot of our doodles have some Velcro tendencies. Where are you able to go to the bathroom alone? Probably not. And that means you need some real time to put in if you need them to be able to stay behind a gate or in a pen separated from you before you are exhausted with not sleeping at night and feedings day and night.
Yep. It's something that you can really. Get some success in before the child's trying to get into their dog bowl and grab their food and you know, so that they can also have a break and some respite from the chaos that our young little ones can bring.
[00:00:45] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah. Yeah. And that idea of. Lack of sleep and how that affects all of us.
It can affect the parents, but it can be the same for the dog. And dogs do need a good amount of sleep every day, and if they're constantly stirred or , awaken, then the chances are that they're going to be grumpier too. And just like us. Yeah. And we do wanna make sure that our dogs get their rest so we all can be our best self.
[00:01:17] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: What's your advice for expecting families that they're used to their dogs sleeping in their bed? Yes.
[00:01:23] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: So that's a really great one.
[00:01:26] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Doodle breed. Dogs are easy to love, but can be challenging to parent. I'm Doodle Expert Car Gearhart, also known as the Doodle Pro, and I'm here to help doodle parents have a more fulfilling and rewarding experience with their doodles. No one has professionally worked with as many different doodle breeds, or has more experience with doodles than I have, and I love to share my expertise in a fun, compassionate, and non-judgmental way.
From my years of work and education in the pet care and dog training industry, I have an incredible network of skilled training. Grooming and veterinary professionals to share their knowledge with you and give you the doodle specific answers you are looking for. I hope you enjoyed today's episode as I help you parent your doodle like a pro.
This is part
Of my interview with the doggy doula, Tanya Li. This interview is fantastic for parents of young children of all ages, who also have a furry family member.
In this episode, you're
to hear Tanya's fantastic step-by-step plan that both expecting parents can start now and for people who have young children and dogs in their home to get started so they can have the best relationship possible.
Make sure to catch last week's episode number 45 to learn more as
why we should care about how our children interact with dogs. Even if your own family dog seems to just let them do anything
[00:03:03] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: I can walk you through what I typically do with my ideal client who would have gotten in touch nice and early in the beginning stages so that we can move forward before baby.
Yeah. Or as soon as they know that they're expecting, now let's work together. Let's make sure we have enough time in order to address what needs to be addressed and to set everybody up for success.
[00:03:29] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Perfect. Tell us , this unicorn client, how would it go?
[00:03:33] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: I like to think about it as even split into three trimesters.
So the first trimester is where we are most proactive when it comes to creating a training plan when it comes to addressing undesirable behaviors. Things like jumping up on people. That's not ideal if you're carrying a baby or even if you're pregnant or. Once you have a baby, maybe you have a lot of family and friends coming over and that can definitely be a huge source of stress.
And something that we work on as one of the main issues that people experiencing is jumping. And
for the jumpers out there, at least what from my experience. But yes, it's
[00:04:20] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: just they have springs in their legs. They're built for it. If there was Olympics for it, doodles would win.
[00:04:27] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: So things like jumping, barking resource guarding and so on. We wanna get those out. Or at least handled, managed out of the picture as much as possible before baby arrives because we know that once baby's there or here, then we, don't have as much time.
Our focus is completely shifted. We will probably be pushing things to the unresolved category and it can be a lot more complic. Then we wanna make sure that we teach and refresh the dog's ability to respond to basic manners and cues that we're asking them to do both with carrying a baby both while ca carrying a crying baby.
And I'll, go over these exercises shortly. But the main stuff that I work on is having really great stationing. So go to your bed. Stay. Stay with duration as I, and as I'm moving around the calm touch drop it and leave it. Those are all really great foundational skills that we wanna make sure that we really develop in our dogs.
And the third part, from the first trimester for the ideal client is determine reduce, eliminate the dog's attention seeking behavior. Because some dogs may have learned that they're right by you. They're pawing at you, they're whining, they're barking, and when if you've managed it so far, you were that much more aware of those.
When you have a baby that is trying to sleep, maybe they just fell asleep and it was very hard to put them down, and now you have your dog making sounds and moving around and being all. Anxious to receive your attention. Knowing what those attention seeking behaviors are, if any, and addressing those, giving the dogs appropriate ways of requesting attention infractions or even increasing their amount of enrichment during the day, can be a really great way to go about with.
[00:06:51] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And that's during all during the first trimester.
[00:06:53] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: That's our first trimester, yes.
[00:06:56] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Which is as you're it just says something when you're finding out that you're pregnant and you're planning your baby registry, just to think how many steps it will be to get your dog ready for baby. Before your postpartum and exhausted.
And in the thick of
[00:07:14] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: it. Yes. Yes. Yes.
[00:07:17] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So what do you do second trimester?
[00:07:19] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Second trimester. We work on body language a lot I actually have a game. It's a card game. It's, great for adults and it's great for children. I think it's from the family dog and it's a card game where there is.
Pictures of dogs and there is green yellow and red. And if you saw this dog, would you approach them? I find that sometimes that can be a fun game to incorporate, to help people learn about dog body language as well as observing their specific dog and pointing things out as, we go along Then we move on to practicing with the baby dough.
Now a baby dough, the dog is not necessarily always. Going to transfer the baby doll to a real baby. However it, can be really helpful to just build that visual of, Hey, I'm going to be carrying something. Around, and this. Thing will be making sounds too. So again, practicing that go to your bed.
As I move back and forth with my baby, I have videos that I play with baby Sounds of baby crying, baby laughing, adding in those sounds so that the dog experiences them. That's actually one of the, difficult. Thing about babies. It's not too many difficult things, but babies crying can get some dogs really stressed.
Anxious. Yes. And as a result, they can end up barking. That's been the most common one. So I wanna create exposures to those baby. We can start a low volume, observe the dog's body language. If they seem stressed, we adjust. And as the dog gets more used to those sounds, then we increase the volume to bringing it to more of a real life type of sound.
And yeah, again, just that exposure can be very, important. So even if you are listening to this and you're not able to do a ton of training, exposing the usual of the doll and the sounds can be a, huge help when it comes to preparing your.
[00:09:55] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And little babies, they're not crawling around or grabbing the toys or bones or anything yet.
But they do sound like little baby squirrels. Like they, the sounds that an infant makes not even in distress and crying can really. Hyper aroused a dog.
[00:10:16] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes. Yeah. I recently met up with a family. I didn't work with them in advance. They had just had their baby with their dog who is anxious.
What they ended up with was whenever the baby was crying, the dog would be barking and that would just go on and on and it would just create that much more stress and anxiety. Yeah. In the dog. So yeah, that can be a pretty common one. Then we want to learn how to incorporate.
What the Family Pause programs term as success stations. So success stations are baby gates, crates, playpens, and so on. So areas where we can provide the dog with the opportunity to rest unbothered by anybody and separated as needed. I find that depending on the dog, that can be one that is easier to get started earlier as well, because if the dog does, is not used to being separated, they may be whining, they may be barking to be let out.
[00:11:39] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: But as the child continues growing that can make all the difference. I, yes, when I get cold for dogs and toddler. A huge percentage of the times, there is no management or no success station being incorporated at all. And then the dog's bed is in the middle of child crawling. And those fluffy beds can be just children love them and then dog is sleeping and then child is on top of the dog.
And then you just start to. Enter that stressful or stress cycle. Cycle that leads to, yeah, more and more stress and being uncomfortable around each other. So success stations, putting up a bunch of baby gates around and having areas. Where everyone can do their thing. Unbothered is extremely important as well.
[00:12:38] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I completely agree. And a lot of our doodles have some Velcro tendencies where are you able to go to the bathroom alone? Probably not. And that means you need some real time to put in, if you need them to be able to stay behind a gate or in a. Separated from you before you are exhausted.
With not sleeping at night and feedings day and night. Yeah. It's something that you could really get some success in before. The child's trying to get into their dog bowl and grab their food, and so that they can also have a break and some respite from the chaos that our young little ones can.
[00:13:25] Tanya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah. Yeah. And that idea of lack of sleep and how that affects all of us. It can affect the parents, but it can be the same for the dog. Dogs do need a good amount of sleep every day, and if they're constantly disturbed or awakened, then the chances are that they're going to be grumpier too. And yeah, just.
[00:13:51] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah, we do wanna make sure that our dogs get their rest so we all can be our best selves.
[00:13:58] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: What's your advice for expecting families that they're used to their dogs sleeping in their
[00:14:03] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: bed? Yes, so that's a really great one. I always make sure that we cover this part because. Yeah, it can be so important.
You may be sleeping during the night with your dog there and your baby in the same space. And let's say if your baby's crib is not high enough, then you have that potential of dog and baby being alone in a sense, because you're. Necessarily looking at them which can definitely be an area of concern.
So I always ask my clients, where is the dog sleeping? What crib? What are you using when it comes to where is your baby sleeping? Looking at how tall is the dog? Can the dog get in there if the baby's crying or moving? Because the dog may be a lot more aware of that too. Oh, something is moving there.
Something is making sounds. They may wanna go check it out. But we, wouldn't want our dogs to be checking out on our babies anyway. So if we have a situation to where, Things are not aligning. Dog has access to the crib. Dog is really big, crib is small. Then we may need to start to consider can we just start asking the dog to sleep in another room, or can we create some sort of like a playpen situation?
Doesn't have to be forever. It can be for a short term just until everybody settle. And together, and we learn more about the dog's tendencies the, interactions, and we just build our confidence with things. But yeah, can we use management in order to prevent the dog's access to the child during the night when we're not supervising?
[00:16:07] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: That's an excellent point. A lot of people use little cos sleepers. Little bassinets that attach on the side of the bed. And so if your dog's sleeping, doesn't even matter how tall or not. If the dog's sleeping on the bed, it's attached to it. Yes. And we know what the fatigue is. Like when you're a new parent.
Yeah. You're, while you're sleeping, you are hopefully really getting some rest. Yeah. And you're not actively supervising that.
[00:16:35] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes. So potentially a crate can be an option to put in the bedroom too. But I also going back to that previous point I also want to make sure that the dog is not waking up every so often when we are feeding the baby so that they're, again, they're not getting a good amount of sleep.
There's definitely a good amount of factors to consider there with everybody's personal situation, but yeah.
[00:17:10] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So you have more on your list of prep?
[00:17:14] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: I do. I do have a few more items. Please share. We'd love to hear. So the next one on the list is the baby equipment. Because when it comes to baby equipment, we may have motorized swings and items that make different sounds.
So for some dogs moving things or things that make sounds can be either exciting or can be scary. So what we do is we just test it out. So let's just bring whatever swing you have. Let's just turn it on and let's see what your dog is doing. And we observe. Does the dog care about it? Is the dog? If the dog doesn't care, that's great.
If the dog is freaked out, then we can help the dog feel more comfortable around it. If we're seeing that the dog is doing something like trying to bite at a moving toy or something we can teach the dog, Hey, go to your bed when I turn this on. And that's what I want you to do. And just one other aspect when it comes to equipment and babies is I like to test with my baby doll.
If my baby is in this swing and I go to lift the baby up, what is the dog going to do anything because, interesting. Yeah. For some dogs it's like something that is moving up can be enticing to wanna cheese after or to try so, Obviously don't want to discover this when we have a real baby because that can be such a huge source of stress.
We are wired to see things differently now and the dog can become this. Someone to be afraid of if we are presented with these types of instances where we get stressed by what they're doing. However, if we've done this work in advanced and we have an expectation of what the dog may be doing first, that can make us feel better when that happens.
Be like, okay I, knew that may be something that he, yeah, this was coming. Yes. Or it. Like we, we knew this was gonna happen and we took the time to teach the dog what we want them to do instead of that thing. With.
[00:19:42] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: And that's really important with, you're talking about with the equipment.
We have some of our herding breeds where movement their. Is to like control movement and to be hyper focused on it. So our Ossie doodles, our shepa doodles, that they're built for that. So that swing going back and forth, they can really become hyper fixated.
[00:20:06] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes. Yeah. So if they do end up hyper fixated, then again, that idea, do we need to manage to where maybe replacing this swing in an area where the dog won't be spending much time at?
Or are we going to focus on teaching the dog? A, skill that they can do and go to your bed, lay down and stay. I use it for everything. So yes, that is good. Alternate behavior, yes, that is the best one to really master when it comes to expecting families and families with toddlers, With the highlight of the bed is not going to be available to the toddler.
And now we've completed the second trimester. We're starting to prepare for the baby coming home. One thing that was, again, another big realization with the family PA program was that idea of sometimes we think I brought the baby home, I put the basket on the ground, my dog went and they sniffed him, and they licked him, and everything was fine.
And now it's
[00:21:20] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Hey, we all we're clear.
[00:21:22] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yeah, there's nothing else to concern or to think about.
[00:21:27] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: So they feel like they sniff the baby in the little car seat, gave them the licks and they think they're
[00:21:33] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: in the.
They're in the clear, yes. But I like to steer us to a different type of mindset, which is that A period of time where everybody is getting used to each other, getting to know each other, getting to know that new routine, the new way of being within the home, because a lot of things are going to change.
So just having the mindset of this is going to be a period of weeks and months to where we're not necessarily going to focus on. The, dog having complete and total access to the baby. We're going to start easy by observation building familiarity through observation that is just so important. The dog doesn't need to be on top of the baby the whole time, just having them included during times when the family is together or the baby is doing, I guess sleeping or some of those more relaxing times of the day. Yes. Yeah, can be an important mindset. So preparing yourself and your dog for Labor Day, as you mentioned. Where is the dog? Who's going to bring the dog back home when you get there? What you mentioned earlier, baby registries.
I've really encouraged my families to put a bunch of food, expensive, interactive toys on their registries. Really smart to put shoes and. Yeah. And things that other people can get for them and they can have a great variety of activities for their dogs. Because even though, let's say now we're getting less walks during the day, we're still supplementing it with mental enrichment and food.
Food dispensing toys can provide that type of activity that can still keep the dog happily occupied. Yep. Local recommendations are always welcome. Knowing who is there to help and support can make a huge difference. And I can just give a few quick highlights when it comes to that moment of bringing the baby home.
So that first, yes, please. Initial moment. I find it's helpful if the two parents are able to meet the dog together or separately, one after the other without the baby being present there, because it might have been several days when they weren't together. So there's going to be some excitement. And we wanted to create those moments of, let's just focus on meeting the. Getting them through that stage of excitement and settling down so that we can then introduce the baby. When it comes to introducing the baby, I always. Advocate for keeping the baby in a carrier or someone can hold the baby, but the baby is elevated.
We're not putting the baby on the ground in the carrier so that the dog goes to sniff them. We just wanna err on the side of caution, and I'm saying that because again, like one of those videos that we were looking at had this family. No, definitely no judgment, but it was, yeah. Again, when we don't know.
But yes, don't put the baby on the ground. Keep them elevated. When the dog is first meeting the baby, provide the feed for a quick sniff. So again, going back to that bed, go lay down on your bed and stay once the dog is relaxed. Then we can say, go say hi. The dog goes, sniffs the baby's feet quickly and we direct them back to their bed.
If the dog seems stressed in any way, we can start to pair the movement or the sounds of the baby with rewards, we thinks that the dog likes in order to create positive associations. And we just kinda adjust our moves based on what we're seeing from the. And then again, we're just going to build that familiarity through spending more and more time together by hanging together, but not necessarily actively interacting together.
And that kind of wraps it up. After that, we just check in, okay, it's been a few weeks or it's been a certain amount of time. What are you seeing from the dog? Is there anything that is bothering you or concerning you? Do you have any questions? With people being very aware of how they can work on changing dog's emotional.
Responses and being aware that if my dog is looking stressed, I'm going to give them a break. Here is this activity I want you to do and and just go from there
[00:27:05] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: and you just highlight how important it is to, while you're planning the nursery and your registry and your prenatal appointments to be prepping your dog well before baby comes home.
[00:27:21] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes, I, yeah, I think that's really important. Yeah. Main, goals are to prepare us as much as possible and decrease any amount of stress that we may be experiencing due to our dog's behavior that we, couldn't figure out in.
[00:27:46] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: I have one more question for you that I hear frequently from new parents as they're planning their due date.
Is it better for my dog to stay somewhere else for a while to board? Or to stay with family for the first week or so while we bring the baby home? Do you have thoughts on that?
[00:28:06] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes, I do. And I, find that this is pretty personal, for the family and personal for the dog's behavior.
For example, if, let's say the family is living with a dog that may be very high energy or has. Some issues like the walks are stressful together, find that those families may prefer to have someone help them out for a period of time until they can settle in with their baby and feel ready to invite the dog back into the home.
That can be such an important point to stress when it comes to. Mental health because it can be a, challenging time with a lot of changes. And if we need our dog to give us a break, having a friend, family member, daycare, pet sitter available for us to be able to be like, Hey, I'm really overwhelmed.
Please look after my dog while I get this situation together. Can. The relationship really can help save that relationship from adding stress onto a stress. Get more patience.
[00:29:33] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Yeah. When everyone's together. Yes. Oh, thank you. I know Tonya, you work virtually so people all over the world can work with you in your doggy doula services.
I believe you have a discount for our listeners if they wanted to work with you.
[00:29:50] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes, of course. So I am happy to provide the DDO Pro. Podcast listeners with eight 10% off of our doggy doula consultation with thedoodlepro promo code. So if you are expecting a baby and have questions, need help on creating your training plan, wanna bounce some ideas off, I'm happy to support you.
So feel free to reach out.
[00:30:22] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Wonderful. Where can
[00:30:23] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: people find. Yep. So we have our website, family ps pz.com. We have our doggy doula page. We have our own podcast as well. It's called the Family Pupz Podcast, where we discuss the most commonly requested dog, behavior and training issues on social media.
I am @familypupz. Active on Instagram.
[00:30:55] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Wonderful. It is such a delight having you, Tonya, and it's wonderful to chat with a fellow Coloradan here as well. We've been stuck in the snow for too long this winter.
[00:31:07] Tonya Lim, Doggy Doula™ at Family Pupz: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. As I mentioned in the beginning, I find that this is still a subject that needs a lot more light, when it comes to presenting it to the public.
So I really appreciate you having me on and having this conversation, and I really hope that your listeners found it helpful and can take a few nuggets as needed. Or even share with someone who may be expecting.
[00:31:39] Corinne Gearhart- The Doodle Pro™: Thank you so much, Tonya. I really appreciate it.
Thanks for joining me on this episode of the Doodle Pro Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, don't forget to rate and review us wherever you get your podcasts. And I invite you to follow me on Instagram at the Doodle Pro for behind the scenes peaks at all of the adorable doodles I work with daily.