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     We have recently found out that my partner Debra is pregnant and all being well are expecting in April next year. One of the things we are a little worried about is having a big bouncy setter around. Shea will be 16 months when the baby arrives.

Has anybody else navigated through this situation. Shea at present is very lively and often quite pesky, he hasn't learned not to jump up on people yet and am worried he could cause damage if he launches himself towards Deb whilst she is carrying. Any advice/experiences would be much appreciated.

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I have just had a baby, and have 3 large dogs here - including two setters (well, now I have a 1 year old and 3 setters, and 1 labrador!).

I found that all of my dogs adjusted very well to the baby, though I can't say a few noses weren't put out of joint when they realised they weren't my top priority any more. They did learn to adjust. And now life goes on as it did before, only my child is included. You just have to treat the dogs kindly but firmly - there are rules about what they can and can't do around the baby, and these must be always enforced.

My advice would be to start leaving things like the pram etc around the dog so they get used to it. Bring a blanket or something with the baby's smell on it home from the hospital and let the dog explore it. Keep a collar (and if necessary a lead) on your dog until they learn not to jump up on your wife. You can quietly bring them down to the ground with the lead or collar and hold them beside you until they learn to be quiet and gentle. Don't yell - it just excites them even more. Just take hold of the collar, pull the dog down and say, "Down." Then hold them beside you until they relax. Then let them go. You may need to repeat this 10000 times. But one day, they will get it!

Don't exclude the dog from the baby activities (but be safe, of course!). I found my Setters learned very quickly how to behave BECAUSE they were included - they liked to watch nappy changes and to sit on the floor near the baby blanket for tummy time with Niamh :) Do remember, though, that even the gentlest setter could accidentally hurt a baby by stepping on them, so never ever leave the baby unattended with the dogs.
Firstly, many congratulations :)

I haven't personally been through this issue, however my next door neighbour is very fond of our dogs, there is even a treat tin in their house!! A couple of years ago Ellie my neighbour was preganant and Elise (my eldest setter) realised something was changing and rather than jump up at the fence like a loony and paw for attention she would very carfully jump up at the fence and put her head down and be calm and was allowed to sniff Ellie's bump. Once said "bump" was born Elise was given a small blanket that smelled of the baby. I know your situation is different but its surprising how much dogs pick up and how they sense things are changing. :)

Good luck, :)
Hi There, I agree with Viv, I grew up with Irish around the home, when I was pregnant with both my girls, they never jumped up,, they do tend to sense you are different , and they loved the babes when they arrived, they found them fascinating,and always came to find me if one of them was crying, my girls learnt to walk hanging on to dogs ears/tails ..I now have 4 grand daughters and, again they all grew up together......with no problems, I also think the kids are better for it as well, as they learn to respect dogs and their needs ..(.and share crisps/biscs )etc
Hi Neil
I have 2 chilldren, 5year old and 1 year old and I haven't experienced any problems living with my 3 Irish setters. Like Melinda suggests, my husband brought home used baby clothes from the hospital before the baby came home and let the dogs smell them. This seemed to work well for both our children. The dogs were then brought in individually to meet the new arrival and there was never any problems.
Thanks for all your replies! I don't think we could ever envisage re homing Shea, just love him too much for that, but obviously we were worried about his boisterous bouncy side that can be a handful without baby. I'm hoping as a few have mentioned that his sensitive side prevails and he is gentle around Deb whilst pregnant and baby when arrives, he hasn't a nasty bone in his body just full of beans and pesky really. We think he recognised that Deb was pregnant before we did as he started to tunnel his snout into her crotch and lick her armpits lol, perfect gentleman he is :o)
I personally don't have kids, but i do have nephews, a 2 year old and an 8 year old. The eldest has always been used to my cockers and grew up with them until we moved. We did allow my dog to smell blankets and clothing before the baby came home and there was plenty atention to him everytime he was calm with the baby. Then came rou female cocker when the bay boy was about 1 year old. a bit harder getting the two babies to get along but we managed and they soon became best friends.

Now i moved away to college and began my adventure with setters. Pitanga did not meet my nephew until she was almost 1 year old and had no contact with kids. It was a hard ajustment for about 15 minutes. My nephew was already 6 and is a very calm boy. This was the start of pitanga's love for children. She never jumped around kids or pushed them in any way even though she could be very harsh with adults.

Recently we had to ajust my two girls to my one year old nephew. Romã had never seen him before, pitanga had met him as a tiny baby. They ajusted just fine and played with both boys in distintive ways, being extra gentle with the little one (who was not gentle at all, lol)

It's not simmilar to you situation, but i do feel that the girls ajusted very well to having my nephews around. I'm sure Shea will ajust just fine and you will all enjoy great moments as a family!
Good luck
Thank you Teresa :o)

Shea absolutely adores children, but as he's a big pup himself we are always very careful when he's around them as he will jump up.
Congrats to you and your partner! My four grandchildren visit regularly and yes Seamus can be quiet boistrus with them, but he does seem to tone done alot when he is around the babies. The first time they visit he so very gentle with them. he just wants to lick them all the time. We have a chain and his cushion in the living area, so he gets chained up if he doesnt stop or when the children have food etc. Its not treated as a punishment - we use it every day, its just 'on his mat' place. This way he is not excluded either and loves to sit on his mat while the baby lies on the floor nearby. We do have to watch him with the toys though! He loves to grab something and have all the kids chasing after him!
Hi everyone and thanks for all your replies and congrats!

We have another question kind of related to the same issue re sleeping arrangements. Since day one we decided we wanted Shea with us at night, so he has slept in our room with us - he started off locked in his cage for the first few months and then gradually we trusted him to sleep with the door open, so he now chooses between floor and cage as he pleases, which so far has been working really nicely.

However, we are not sure what we will do once baby comes along as s/he will be sleeping in our room at first. What have other people done in this situation? We are actually in the process of looking for a bigger place to live and are hoping to be moved and settled in before Christmas. Should we move Shea out of our room at night? Or try to get him used to sleeping in a locked cage again? How safe is it to have an Irish Setter possibly roaming about the room in the middle of the night sniffing around a cot with a (hopefully!) sleeping baby in it?

Neil & Debra
My own opinion is that I would train him to sleep in his locked crate again, and then move him to the landing/hall, and if/when you move, gradually move his crate further away, maybe another room. ( then he could have the choice of floor or crate in another room.He'll be fine if you don't make a big deal about it, and do it in a phased way. And better you do it now so he doesn't associate it with the baby.

I have no problems with dogs and children together...been through all that with own children and grand children too, but our view is not to put the dogs in a position where something could go wrong, if you can help it. N.B. we had our first Irish before our first child and our midwife told us to let the dog sniff and lick baby when we brought her home...probably frowned on these days, but worked for us, and he stood guard faithfully by her cot and pram all day everyday...so, many congratulations and lots of happiness to you and your family especially Shea.
By the way we too had a Shea along the way......great name and a great dog as I bet your boy is :)




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