Kelly and Emma, North and South London Education Officers attended the very popular London Maternity and Midwifery Festival on Tuesday 5th February. There were over a thousand midwives attending the day!
Dogs Trust were placed right near the entrance so we had a very busy day. Initially some of the midwives and other organisations weren't sure why we were there but after explaining, they were so pleased and grateful for the support and advice we were able to provide.
We were maingly giving them advice and literature on preparing expectant families who already have a dog, on what they should consider and how they can prep their dog in the best possible way. We suggested putting in some basic commands and training if the dog hasn't had this already and/or seeking further advice from our very own Dog School or a qualified behaviourist if there are specific behavioural issues. Similarly, speaking to their local vet who can advise this too.
We talked to them about the new routine that will need to be introduced to the dog. This may include keeping their dog out of certain rooms, off furnitute, giving them new stimulating toys, new feeding or walking times. We were explaining to the midwifes, that a new baby coming into the home can be quite a big change for a dog and can take some adjusting time. A new routine needs to be introduced slowly and systematically over a long period of time so the dog can settle into this.
We also advised on introducing the dog to new smells, sights and sounds. They found our link of a baby crying very useful which can be found here: www.soundcloud.com/dogstrust. It's also important not to forget the dog as soon as the baby arrives! Remember, some dogs have been part of that home for many years so they deserve to be treated as part of the family and 'prepped' for the new arrival just as new mums and dads would!
We were also able to advise midwives who weren't so confident around dogs or had experienced dogs jumping up when they did community visits, on our 'be dog smart' messages. They liked our suggestion on standing still with an 'X' across their chest when dogs jump up. They said they experienced dogs jumping up or barking when they arrived in the home quite a lot so this will hopefully give them some support when they do visits in the future.
We were very glad to attend this day and also hear about some of the inspiring work other organisations are doing. We were glad to be of use and we made some great links for our team. You find more of our literature through this link: www.bedogsmart.org.uk