THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall Email abox­hall@big­pond.com

TELL Your Dog You’re Preg­nant is a guide for dog own­ers who are ex­pect­ing a baby. Writ­ten by Aus­tralian vet­eri­nary be­haviourist Dr Lewis Kirkham, ex­pec­tant par­ents get the good oil on how to tran­si­tion smoothly from a dog- own­ing child- free house­hold to a house­hold com­bin­ing the pat­ter of lit­tle feet with the pat­ter of paws.

By way of a taster, you can freely read the fi rst three chap­ters on­line at babyand­pet.com. au and then buy or down­load the book to re­ceive a sound­track of baby noises and toy sounds.

In gen­eral terms, dogs are com­fort­able with what is fa­mil­iar to them so new baby sounds like cry­ing, gig­gling, sneez­ing, splash­ing in the bath and the in­trigu­ing noises toys make can be quite an ad­just­ment.

With the sound­tracks pro­vided, ex­pec­tant par­ents can pre­pare their dog for these new sounds, ac­cli­ma­tis­ing their pet well in ad­vance of the real McCoy ar­riv­ing home from hospi­tal.

Dr Kirkham’s book helps new par­ents in­ter­pret their dog’s body lan­guage and recog­nise any early signs of avoid­ance which can in­di­cate a prob­lem in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween dog and new baby.

There’s also in­for­ma­tion on in­tro­duc­ing dog and baby for the fi rst time, mea­sures to keep dogs ( and par­ents) calm and also how to recog­nise when the as­sis­tance of a pro­fes­sional might be in or­der.

While any ma­jor life change re­quires an ad­just­ment pe­riod ( and dogs are no dif­fer­ent), this book ad­vo­cates equally for dogs and kids with the goal of pro­tect­ing both.

As ba­bies grow into tod­dlers and young chil­dren, it’s their turn to learn and re­spect the needs of pets.

From an early age, par­ents can be­gin to teach the ba­sics of re­spect­ing an­i­mals.

An­other book, Tails Are Not for Pulling by El­iz­a­beth Verdick, has ap­peal­ing il­lus­tra­tions to help small chil­dren learn when it might be okay to pat an an­i­mal but never to squeeze, tease or pull tails.

For more on nur­tur­ing the child and pet re­la­tion­ship, visit www.weare­fam­ilysa.com.au

TELL YOUR DOG YOU’RE PREG­NANT By Dr Lewis Kirkham ( Lit­tle Crea­tures Pub­lish­ing, Mel­bourne, 2013)

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