In “Good Dog, Happy Baby,” trainer Michael Wombacher gives solid advice to expectant and new parents about how to ensure a safe environment for both new baby and old (or not-so-old) dog. Whether you have one dog or a pack, when a new baby arrives, it’s important to have set the stage for a happy co-existence.
When a baby arrives, any household experiences huge changes. It’s important to make sure that those changes don’t alienate the dog or cause the dog’s behavior to deteriorate. And if the dog has behavioral problems before the baby arrives, then it’s even more important to address those early.
The most important piece of advice is also common sense: Never leave the dog and baby unsupervised — ever! He gives two heartbreaking examples of what can happen if that advice is not followed. While dogs must be taught to behave around children, so must children be taught how to behave around dogs. Wombacher also points out that even if a child is used to being around a gentle and loving dog, not all dogs are like that. It’s extremely important to teach children about dog-appropriate manners so that they don’t get bitten by a strange dog.
This book is important and should be on every rescue and shelter’s list of required reading materials for adopters. In fact, Wombacher says in the introduction that his motivation for writing this book was a call from a couple who decided to give up their dog three months after they had a child. The poor dog was ignored and not allowed on the sofa anymore, so he was acting out. The parents didn’t have the time to train him and work with him, so he was relinquished.
He writes that “the entire situation would have been preventable had they started working with their dog from the day they learned they were expecting.” This book would be a great shower gift for an expectant mother who has a dog (or even a cat). Shelters and rescues know that hundreds, if not thousands, of animals are abandoned every year because of a new child. Armed with the information in this book, the outcome might be different.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by New World Library for review purposes.