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DogBaby Test

Is your dog ready for a baby?

Follow the instructions below to evaluate your dog for family life. After each exercise, rate your dog from 1 to 5, with a rating of 1 meaning: he did the exercise perfectly on the first try and 5 meaning: he couldn’t do the exercise correctly at this time.Seven exercises to evaluate your dog’s readiness for life with baby.

1)    Greeting Behavior
Leave the house and return carrying a doll or baby-like bundle in your arms (a 10lb bag of flour wrapped in a towel works well.) Note how your dog greets you. For a #1 rating, you’re looking for a calm greeting with no jumping or barking. If you must say “off” more than once, that’s not a #1 rating.
               1p               2p                3p              4p               5p

2)    Down/Stay
Holding your doll or baby-like bundle, sit in a chair and give your dog a verbal cue or hand signal for “Down.” Time him for a 5-minute down/stay. For a #1 rating, your dog must stay in the down for 5 minutes without reminders.
               1p               2p                3p              4p               5p

3)    Leave It
Without your dog seeing you, place some treats on the floor. Bring him into the room (off-leash) and when he notices the treats, tell him “Leave It.” For a #1 rating, he should relinquish the food, look at you and not go back to the food. No fair using treats he doesn’t like!
               1p               2p                3p              4p               5p

4)    Drop It
Give your dog a toy and when he’s holding it in his mouth, tell him to “Drop It.” For a #1 rating, your dog should drop the toy immediately and not try to pick it up again.
               1p               2p                3p              4p               5p

5)    Independence
Go into the bedroom (or any room where the dog is usually allowed) and close the door, leaving your dog outside. Stay in the room for 3 minutes. For a #1 rating, your dog should remain calm and quiet the entire time.
               1p               2p                3p              4p               5p

6)    Leash Respect
Put your dog on leash and walk him while holding his leash and a full glass of water in the same hand. For a #1 rating, you must be able to walk at least 20 feet without spilling a drop of water!
               1p               2p                3p              4p               5p

7)    Possessiveness---Do NOT attempt this exercise if you have ANY concerns about your dog’s temperament.
Give your dog a favorite chew toy, rawhide or bone. Let him chew for a few minutes and then pet him. For a #1 rating, you must be able to pet your dog for a full minute without any growling or signs of avoidance or aggression.
               1p               2p                3p              4p               5p


What Does Your Dog’s Score Mean?

If your dog scored a perfect 7, congratulations, you have a well-mannered dog who will probably adapt well to a new baby, if properly prepared. Notice we said probably. Dogs are not robots or computers and their behavior simply cannot be predicted with 100% accuracy. Even a dog who scored 35 has the potential to be a good family pet. Below are some tips to remember when preparing even a perfect dog for baby’s arrival.

1)    Greeting Behavior
In addition to having your dog greet you calmly every time you arrive home, you should rehearse calm greeting behavior with guests. You’ll probably have lots of company coming to visit the baby and not everyone appreciates an overly enthusiastic doggy greeting.

2)    Down/Stay
Five minutes probably seemed like an eternity when you did this exercise, but when you’re feeding the baby, you’ll need a much longer down/stay. Practice increasing the duration of the stay until you can do at least 20 minutes. Also, can your dog hold the stay while you take your attention off him and move around?

3)    Leave It
Practice the off-leash “Leave It” to all types of distractions. Try toys, food, people and other dogs. When you’re walking with the stroller, you don’t want your dog dragging you down the block to say hello to another dog.

4)    Drop It
A quick response to a verbal “Drop It” cue is an important safety command. Your hands will not always be free to grab potential dangers out of your dog’s mouth. You’ll also want to be able to retrieve the baby’s pacifier if the dog has it.

5)    Independence
There will be times when you’ll be too busy or tired to supervise your dog and baby at the same time. You dog should be comfortable being left alone behind a closed gate or door, or in his crate, without barking or whining. To practice, start with very short periods of confinement while you’re home and gradually increase the time. Don’t make a big fuss when you release him, be very matter-of-fact.

6)    Leash Respect
Walking nicely on leash is an important safety behavior when you’re carrying the baby or pushing a stroller. Be sure to practice with real-life distractions like people, squirrels, other dogs, etc.

7)    Possessiveness

There’s a lot more to possessiveness than being able to pet your dog while he’s chewing a bone. Can you move around him while he’s          eating? What about other people? Does he guard his food bowl? Can you take ANY object out of his mouth? What about a Kleenex he’s stolen, or the   Sunday roast from the dinner table? If you have problems in any of these areas, seek assistance from a professional trainer


 

 
 
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