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Around here, big is just the way we do things. Garrett and I are big people, with a big baby and a big dog.
A really big dog in fact. A 111-pound Rottweiler with a head that comes up to my waist and a mouth that devours cookies like they never existed. While his bark is loud and his frequent talking can scare most people, Zeus would like nothing more to cuddle. Or play fetch. Or chase our remote control car. In short, we couldn’t have asked for a better family pet.
We brought Zeus home at eight weeks of age and were instantly in love with our rottie pup. If you’ve ever seen a Rottweiler puppy you can understand why, they’re all feet and flop and so full of life.
Potty training was a headache, as I’m sure it is with all dogs. And obedience training took some serious commitment. But by the time our baby girl arrived, Zeus was a pretty well-behaved cuddle buddy.
Even still, I had some new mom worries about introducing a baby. Not a lot, but some. I think that’s only natural. And so, we took a few precautions.
The following are steps we took to help Zeus get to know and accept Pepper. Needless to say, they’re becoming very good friends.
6 Ways We Helped Our Baby and Rottweiler Get Along
1. Introduce Her Smell First
My in-laws puppy sat while I was giving birth. After Pepper was born, my mother-in-law took one of the hats she’d worn and let Zeus smell it. This helped familiarize him with her scent.
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2. Cradled First Kisses
That first night home with Pepper, my in-laws brought Zeus back. My husband sat on the ground and cradled Pepper, while we let Zeus smell and lick her from head to toe.
3. Lots of Cuddles
It definitely was rough in the beginning and it still sometimes is. Zeus was jealous. I work from home and we used to spend most days just the two of us. BOY how times have changed! Making sure to give him LOTs if cuddles, especially when Pepper is napping has been really important.
Getting Zeus enough exercise continues to prove challenging. Babies just take so much time. One trick that’s helped is keeping a ChuckIt by the front door.
Free time often comes a few minutes here and there. With a ChuckIt right by the front door, we can quickly step out and give him a little run. Even as an adult dog, he needs lots of exercise.
5. Consistent Rules
I firmly believe dogs need strict rules. This is especially true when you’re dealing with such a big dog. At 111-pounds, if Zeus thought he was in charge, we’d be in real trouble. Simply accepting bad behavior wasn’t something we did.
From day one we set clear boundaries and reinforced rules. Is it more work training your Rottweiler like that? Yes, in the moment. But ultimately, it’s less work in the long run. Because if you commit to raising a Rottweiler to respect you and follow your rules, you can trust your dog to spend time with your baby.
That being said, Zeus tested the boundaries when Pepper came home. But, we were quick to discipline him and also praised his good behavior. Being consistent meant it didn’t take him long to get back on track.
Another thing that we’ve always tried to do is make sure he has plenty of toys. Especially with the baby, we wanted to make sure he understood what was his and what was hers. This is easier by making sure the toys he has are toys he likes.
For whatever reason, he loves this hedgehog. We’re not sure if it’s the shape or the squeak or a combination of both. But when we got him a second one, he instantly loved that one too.