Kim and Scott Vargo live in Chicago where they’re DIY-ing their way through their almost-130-year-old house—with the help of their two pitbulls Jack and CC and their cat Libby—and chronicling it all on their blog Yellow Brick Home.
At the beginning of this year, Kim and Scott expanded their family with the birth of their daughter, Lucy. Before that happened, I reached out to ask them to share how they were preparing their furry children for the new addition.
For all my posts in my series on introducing your dog to your baby, click here.
Preparing your pets for your baby
That Mutt: When you thought about your dogs with your daughter, were there particular training areas you wanted to focus on?
Kim and Scott Vargo: CC has always been a rock star around young children (she loves them more than anything!), but Jack hasn’t had a lot of experience with kids, or more specifically, babies. He’s the sweetest pup, but he gets overly excited easily, and that can come across as too forward for most parents.
As a result, we wanted to work on his behavior skills when people enter our home, the sounds of a crying baby and learning boundaries.
TM: Is there anything that surprised you through the training or any behaviours you didn’t expect from Jack and CC?
Kim and Scott: We hired a trainer recommended to us by a friend who recently had a baby. She came to our home and was able to interact with our pups, and she could easily see the areas that Jack (specifically) needed to work on.
One of her suggestions, as a bonus, was to set out the cradle/bassinet that we’d be using in the early months with our newborn. She also suggested playing sound clips of a crying baby and making rocking motions with our arms!
We implemented all those suggestions in the first week, and Jack and CC could care less. They do adapt to change very well, so perhaps we shouldn’t have been so surprised!
TM: What lessons do you think will be the most helpful for Jack and CC with baby?
Kim and Scott: Learning boundaries. We’ve been practicing ringing the doorbell and knocking on the front door, while simultaneously teaching Jack to sit in a safe spot.
Before, his first reaction was to greet every person that walked through the door by jumping on them (bad!), and although this is taking some time to keep him in his ‘spot,’ he’s getting better every day.
This will be invaluable, especially as we welcome friends and family into our home after our baby girl is here.
TM: Your top tips for pet parents who are expecting a human addition?
Kim and Scott: Our goal is to always set our dogs up for success. If you feel that hiring a trainer will do that, start early!
We first met with our trainer almost 4 months prior to our due date. The more we’re able to practice with the dogs based on her suggestions, the easier the transition for the whole family.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. And congratulations on Lucy’s arrival.
Follow Kim, Scott and the rest of their (growing) family at www.yellowbrickhome.com.
Recommended posts from Yellow Brick Home:
Their animal rescue experience (including Jack’s and CC’s adoption stories)
Preparing Jack and CC for the baby
Julia Thomson is a blogger at Home on 129 Acres where she writes about her adventures of country living and DIY renovating. She and her husband live on a 129-acre farm in Ontario, Canada. Follow Julia on Twitter here and Instagram here.