Dogs and Kids: Part 3

Looks like I forgot to post this a while back…

So things have been quite crazy around the Creaven household. After much difficulty and thought, we have decided that it’s time to travel for a bit. I know what your thinking, traveling with an infant almost toddler, what are they thinking? Truthfully, I don’t really know either. I think ultimately we are just trying to hit the reset button on our lives. Shed a few things that we’ve had since college, have some experiences that we haven’t been able to have before Amelia will need to be in school, and figure out what we want to do to make a living. So to get started we will be moving to New England.

After dropping that bomb, I’d love to give a few updates on what we’ve been doing to help our dog and child get along.

Amelia is now 8.5 months old. She doesn’t want to crawl yet and that’s fine by me. However, she is pulling herself up and couch walking when she has the opportunity. We’ve introduced her to lots of different kinds of food, mostly fruits and veggies though. The fruits and veggies are softened but not pureed so that she has the opportunity to pick up the food, mash it, taste it, throw it, really just to play. Her primary source of nutrition is still breast milk, so I’m not worried that she isn’t eating enough. Hopefully, it’ll stay that way for another 3-4 months.

Okay, so why is it so important to talk about what Amelia is eating? Well because in the process of eating new foods she is also tossing that food onto the floor. Guess who is on the floor? EVEY! and she gets to clean up. So the foods that I’m choosing for Amelia to eat also happen to be Evey favorites as well sweet potatoes, blue berries, bannana, carrots, pumpkin, strawberries, raspberries, apples, cheese, and yogurt. If it hits the floor, it’s Evey’s.

A quick play-by-play explaination: Evey is brave enough to lick yogurt out of a bottle lid Amelia is holding until Amelia squeals with delight. The video then pans to see Evey sniffing the floor. It looks like she’s looking for more food – she is not. Evey has licked that floor clean multiples times and there is no food on the floor for her to eat. She is sniffing the floor out of stress, or discomfort at hearing Amelia squeal and seeing her arms wave.

You’re probably thinking two things:

  1. Aren’t you teaching Amelia that it’s okay to throw food? Maybe, but in my mind dropping food is simply a developmental stage that will pass eventually. Afterall, someday she’ll actually want to eat her food.
  2. Won’t Evey start begging. Sure, but it’s easier to fix a begging problem than it is to fix a dog that hates a child. It’s a trade I’m willing to make a dog that loves the baby for some begging. Down the road I can teach her to go to mat instead of beg.

So far it sounds like I’ve been using a lot of treats for Evey paired with Amelia and I have but I’ve also been using other things too. Evey likes more than just food, she likes walks, she likes to play, and she LOVES fetch.

When you take your dog for a walk what is his reaction to seeing the leash? Usually, your dog is pretty excited. So I get Amelia ready to go for a walk and then I grab Evey’s leash. Low and behold, Evey now gets excited when I get Amelia ready to go out. This helps Evey to learn that Amelia equals access to explore the world.

Evey also likes to play tug in the house. So when Amelia and I play together and Evey gets excited I cue her to find her toy. She then brings me her toy and we tug for a few seconds before I ask her to drop the toy and then throw it for her to fetch. Which brings me to our next game… Fetch. Noah loves to play fetch with Evey in the backyard. So when I need a break and Evey needs some exercise he scoops up Amelia and heads to the backyard. This hits home two fold, Amelia is entertained by Evey chasing the ball and having fun and Evey pairs the presence of Amelia with playing her favorite game.

It’s an ever evolving process as Amelia continues to grow and change and new opportunities continue to change. I hope that you’ve taken some good ideas from this and I’ll continue to keep you updated on how things evolve.

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