How Is Murphy Adjusting to the Baby?

That’s the question on everyone’s mind! And I love how concerned people are with our little puglet’s well-being now that he’s a big brother and sharing our attention with baby Q.

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Overall, Murphy is doing quite well. When we first came home from the hospital, things were a little rocky, but he’s slowly but surely starting to act like his usual pug-self again.

At first, Murphy really didn’t know what to think about the situation and his new baby brother. When we arrived home from the hospital, we let Murphy sniff Q’s hat and then introduced the two of them. Murphy gave Q a big, long sniff and then licked the back of his head, which I assume meant they were cool. Over the next few days, however, Murphy acted really standoff-ish. I assume he was probably jealous or just unsure how to act because he kept his distance from us. (He also didn’t like Q’s crying.)

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Before welcoming Q into our family, Murphy always wanted to be with us… sitting on our laps, laying next to us, following us around the house… basically, he was up in our ish all the time. But, once Q arrived, Murphy stopped trying for our attention all the time. Instead, he kept his distance (usually laying down on the ground near us) and sort of seemed to pout (or at least looked really sad and pathetic). One night before bed, Murphy curled up in a ball all by himself on the floor instead of hopping in the middle of the bed like he usually does. It was actually really sad and broke my heart, so I ended up scooping him up and bringing him to bed with us.

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Play with me, Dad!

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That little creature sure takes up a lot of your time.

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Of course, with a newborn, it hasn’t been all that easy to give Murphy our undivided attention, but Mal and I are really trying to give him as much love and attention as possible because we want him to know that he is still a big part of our family. For instance, when Murphy greets us at the door with one of his toys now, we make a huge deal about it and then play with him for a few minutes. We also take every opportunity to cuddle the crap out of him when aren’t busy with Q. Usually, when one of us has the baby, the other person is hanging out with Murphy. Basically, we just love the heck out of the pug and hope that he adjusts to the new family dynamic.

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It’s been about two weeks since Q’s arrival, and I can’t say Murphy is 100% back to his usual self, but he’s probably at 90% or so. He isn’t as relentless with his quest for lap domination, but the rest of his pug ways are pretty much back to normal. His mood has seemed to improve and he’s not as pout-y anymore.

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With time, I know Murphy will figure out where he fits within our family. Things won’t ever be like they used to be, but Murphy is doing a great job adjusting to his new role as pug brother. He seems to really respect the space around Q (he never tries to climb on him or anything like that), so his relationship with us and the baby is already starting to develop. Murphy hasn’t showed any kind of aggression toward Q (and I don’t think he ever will; it’s just not Murphy’s style), so that’s not something we worry about. I just think it’s a matter of time before he’s completely comfortable with the situation. And, of course, once Q starts dropping his food and feeding Murphy, baby and pug will be best buds!

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Question of the Day

Moms and dads: How did your dog adjust to life with a baby? 

96 Comments

  1. That must be really hard to try and balance time between the both of them but it’s obviously how much you love them both and it sounds like you’re doing a great job of making them both happy! I’m sure it’ll just take a little time for Murphy to get used to the baby and like you said, once there’s extra food on the floor, there will be a lot more bonding!

  2. Oh, poor Murphy! Actually teared up about him curling up to sleep by himself. It’s funny, I’m so not a dog person, but Murphy is a joy to experience from a far.

  3. I am due this week and we took a very different approach to our dog, per our trainers advice. Dogs live in the moment and don’t understand things the way we do. We learned that our dog was actually overly attached to us and if we didn’t get that under control with boundaries in the home before the baby came, we would have issues with her once the baby arrived. About 2 mos ago, we started not allowing her on the couch or the bed anymore. She is not allowed near the dinner table when we eat and she has to get a lot more exercise than we were giving her. Essentially, we put her in her place in the “pack”. She is not equal to us and now she knows her place so she won’t jump on the couch while we have the baby with us. We also reduced our affection to her so she isn’t shocked when the baby arrives. We have already seen positive changes in her and are confident that she will not be suddenly “hurt” when she gets less attention. Just a different approach to dog/baby changes as all dogs are very different.

  4. Aww, my sister’s dog had a hard time adjusting when their first baby came. Overtime, especially as she got older, they became best buds and played together all the time. It’ll be fun to watch Q do the same 🙂

    1. there is my friends cat hated the baby crying and hid a lot the 1st 2 weeks he started coming around but now the baby’s one and walking so when the baby goes near him he runs, the baby hasn’t learned to be gentle yet but my friend and her husband are working on it, by showing him gentle touches and telling him to be gentle as they do it so he will get the hang of it and they will be BFF in no time :)@Ashley @ healthyhack:

  5. I think it’s been a work in progress for us too, and my daughter is 16 months now. One thing we did was to put a dog bed IN the nursery, so he had a designated spot in there. Otherwise, he’d try to get in the glider, or roam around like he didn’t know where to go when he’d come in there, and I think that helped him feel welcome. Licking has probably been our biggest issue. Our dog constantly wants to lick our daughter because she’s constantly got drool, snot, or food on her and even though he’s a small dog, I think it’s overwhelming for her so it’s kind of a constant battle to get him to stop that. They are starting to be able to play fetch and she loves to take him out with us and give him a treat after he goes. We’re getting there, but he’s definitely got throught being jealous of her. I can tell he loves her and is protective of her though.

  6. I’m so glad Murphy is adjusting well! We gave our basset hound a “trial run” two weekends ago when we met my sister-in-law’s newborn. She did wonderfully! Better than expected!

  7. I just had our third baby in January. I have a 5 year old, 3 year old, and now an almost 6 month old. We have had our chocolate lab for 9 years. She is so kind and gentle with our kids, and takes a beating from them as well. She has changed with each kid. She tends to want to be outside more and not inside where it’s often chaotic. Our dog will always be our first baby, but things have definitely changed!

    1. @Jessica: I’m glad your dog is so gentle with your kids and I’m curious as to what you mean by she’ll even take a “beating”. Kids should be shown to respect animals, and that they aren’t merely around for their entertainment to do with what they will and that they have feelings, etc. A child shouldn’t be allowed to hit them, sit on them, pull their tail/ears and so on.

  8. I think with any new thing in the house even another pet there’s always an adjustment period for animals as well as for us. My friends pug just passed from a tumor but she was great when her boys were baby’s plus she had get together a lot so there was always little kids around and she had 2 older boys already. I think once he gets used to the new routine and noise he’ll be back to his old self, plus he will have another person to love him!

  9. I’m 36 weeks pregnant and we have two cats that are my children. I am a bit afraid of how they will react to the new baby, but I’m hoping in time it will be a positive experience for all.

    I’m so glad to hear that Murphy is adjusting well. I love that he licked the back of his head”¦ so cute!

  10. Tina, I love your blog and am a longtime reader. As a current pregnant lady, I would LOVE to hear about what products your are currently loving and hating with your new little Q. What did you register for that you love? Hate? This whole registry thing is overwhelming 🙂

    THANKS!!!

  11. Our dog, Kedzie, was the same way when we brought our little one home. Now over 2 years later – they are friends. I will say that while our dog tolerates our daughter our little girl is OBSESSED with the dog. Always wanting to hug, kiss, feed etc. Once Q gets older, something that could help is letting him feed Murphy. We let our daughter scoop out the dog food and they both really enjoy it. Or let Q give him some treats. There have been a few instances of the kid getting knocked over but overall they get along great! It sounds like he just needs some time to adjust. You should check out pinterest for some cute dog/baby photo ideas!

  12. must be a big adjustment to not be the only child anymore but i’m happy he’s doing well! and i totally believe they will be BFFs in the future. so much cuteness in one family! 🙂

  13. So sweet, Tina! My dog also did not like my baby girls crying. I actually felt bad for him; he looked sad and confused and would run into the next room. He also looked sleep deprived for the first few weeks; Just like his parents. 🙂

    Quinn is beautiful!

  14. It’s a huge adjustment for dogs when a baby comes along. When my son was born and we first came home from the hospital, our Labradoodle Riley was very curious about him. But then the curiosity turned to sadness and that was the hardest part for my hubby and I. We hated how sad Riley seemed. It sounds similar to what Murphy is doing; Riley would lay around looking soooo sad and it killed us b/c Riley was always so happy. You are doing the right things by making sure Murphy gets his walks & snuggles. We did that too. My son is now 22 months old and the two of them have gone through phases, but overall they love each other and we try our best to still include Riley as much as possible.

  15. Sweet ‘lil Murph! You are right though that he and Q will be best buds soon enough when the food starts flying! “)

  16. My two pups had totally different reactions. My girl (the oldest) became a serious baby body guard. My younger boy wanted to be with her constantly and was (and still can be) pretty jealous. We just do our best to balance out where we can so that they know they are loved.

  17. I am pleased to hear that Murphy is starting to find his place in the family. I am sure they will become best buddies. It can be the same with children, when you bring home a second child, the first one just needs time to adjust. Q is so cute and it is so fab hearing all about him.

  18. We have a corgi and it def took her a little while to get used to the new baby. Before I had my son, we bought a baby doll from Good Will to practice with her (got that tip from Caitlin at HealthyTippingPoint!). We rubbed the doll with baby wipes so it would smell kind of like a baby and showed it to our pup. We made sure she was gentle, but always had positive inflections in our voice when we talked about the baby.

    Right after our son came home, Wrigley (the dog) acted very similar to Murphy. She would go back in ‘her room’ (the room where we keep her cage) and stay there ALL DAY. My husband was SO GOOD at making it a point though to take her on walks and show her love and affection. Now Henry is 1 and they are really starting to be friends. Henry throws her the ball and she chases him around!

    You’re doing all the right stuff I think, it will just take some time 🙂

  19. Our puggle definitely changed a bit after baby. She was standoffish for a couple of weeks with us, and for months she mostly pretended like he didn’t exist other than the occasional sniff. We were so excited when she licked him after about 5 months! She slowly became my shadow too (even though she used to prefer hubby)- she follows me around and seems to think that I’m in charge of everything – including her walks, which husband usually does if we don’t all go. When I sit and nurse my son, she sits at my side usually, but if I try to love on her too much (when I’m not holding the baby), she gets up and walks away. She kind of became like a teenager – slightly aloof, but wants attention on her terms. Now that baby is eating, she’s much more interested in him, and dare I say, friends? She sits with him for weekly pictures and checks him out regularly – even letting him touch her sometimes. Before baby, we all used to go to bed at the same time and she would usually sleep in the bed with us (we actually bought a king-size bed so everyone could fit when needed). Now I go to bed later than hubby and she almost always waits to go upstairs with me, and usually sleeps in her (open) crate. After husband gets up in the morning, feeds her, and lets her out, she jumps in the bed and sleeps in his spot until I get up. I think she’s just always trying to make sure I don’t forget about her since I’m tending to the baby more often. At the same time, she doesn’t want me to pay too much attention to her, because she’s a teenager, I guess.

  20. I had a yorkie for 10 years before I had a baby, she was my baby all that time and the world revolved around her. When the baby came home she acted similar to your dog, pouty and standoffish. She never quite warmed up to my son and it didn’t help that he would always want to pull her hair and be too rough with her. She never liked kids to begin with, so if your dog liked kids before, there might be hope.

  21. Just stumbled across your page, I have 2 pugs and a little man who was born in May 2013 as well. They are the best of friends and provide so much entertainment, pugs and kids are a great match 🙂

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