We had a reader write into to us with the following “problem”. She says she never realized until she was pregnant how similar dogs and babies can be! One of her three dogs is a toy monger. The best toy is a toy another dog is playing with. The other two could not care less (probably because they never get a chance to play with them).
She has another baby on the way now and wanted to know how to teach the dog which toys are not his?
Her dog has “HIS” toybox
Here baby has “HER” toybox
Toys are kept separate.
The baby is only allowed to play with her toys.. if she has a dog toy, I remove it from her and give her one of HER toys
The dog is only allowed to play with his toys.. if he has a baby toy, I remove it and give him one of HIS toys.
Eventually the toys will have their individual scent and your dog should be able to recognize which are his and which belong to the baby.
Baby toys are also put away when she’s done playing.. they are not left laying anywhere. Most of her toys are kept in the living room, which is baby gated off- the dog has limited access to that room.
The best solution is to just supervise, and make sure that baby toys are put away when the baby is not playing with them. Your child can learn at a young age to keep her toys picked up, or they may become chewed up.
We think this is the only way to do this is to supervise indeed. When the dog takes a baby toy, you need to say in a very firm voice “No! This is a BABY toy”.
Alternatively, we suggest keeping the baby’s toy box and the dog’s toy box in different places. Keep the dog’s toy box near his dog bed, in his “environment” if you like and keep the baby’s toy box in a separate room which should help lessen the chances of the dog getting confused and taking toys out of the baby’s box and vice versa.