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When we were first pregnant with Ryker we did a lot of research on transitioning your dogs into life with a baby. With two very large and very curious golden retrievers, we knew that there needed to be boundaries in place to keep everyone happy and more importantly, safe.
We think the first year went pretty great but honestly did not anticipate the bond that would form between Ryker and his puppies!
Their relationship surprises me every single day. It probably all started with Ryker learning that Duke and Lulu loved sharing his leftovers and now Duke’s favorite spot is lying right under the highchair waiting for his share of Ry’s dinner.
With Ryker making the transition to toddler-hood we knew that it would again be a change for Duke & Lu. So, I put together a simple 5 step tutorial to make it a little easier and FUN!
1. Be Gentle! Our dogs learned simple obedience commands long before we had a baby but we also didn’t want Ry to have free reign on the dogs. We don’t ever want our dogs to hurt Ry but we also don’t think it’s fair to let Ryker hurt them. We started at barely 3 months old when he began reaching toward the dogs. Calmly saying ‘be soft’ and showing him how to gently touch their fur did the trick. It took a lot of repetition but now he doesn’t pull their fur and they play great together.
2. Let’s Play! Speaking of play… just about everyday, we head outside to play fetch. This helps Duke and Lulu get out some pent up energy and it has also taught Ryker how to share. Since he is the first child, he doesn’t have siblings to share with and the dogs are a great way to practice without feelings getting hurt. We teach him how to give the ball to the dogs and they in turn learn how to take it softly. We have moved on to playing fetch which has really helped Ry’s gross motor skills! It is his new favorite game!
3. Dinner’s Served! Allowing your toddler to feed the dogs helps promote independence and teach responsibility. Ry will need our help for a while but we know it can soon turn into a chore he can accomplish all on his own. Golden Retrievers genetically tend to have sensitive skin and Duke has always had allergies so we decided to try a new product that we found at Fry’s. Nature’s Recipe® has no corn or wheat products; there are actually no artificial ingredients at all! We tried out Nature’s Recipe Healthy Skin Venison and Rice formula and it was two paws way up! Feeding our dogs quality food has been a priority since we first got them. Duke just turned 5 and Lulu is 8 but they still have the energy of a pack of puppies which is great for entertaining Ryker!
4. Give ’em Space! Just like people, dogs need their space sometimes. We have a small home but maintain dedicated places for the dogs to be able to relax uninterupted. Lulu is our princess so she has taken over two spots: in her kennel and on her dog bed in our room. Duke usually likes a little alone time outside or indoors curled up on our rug. Ry is doing a great job learning not to bother the ‘dawgies’ while they are resting because they need a break too! Same goes for Ry, we hardly ever let the dogs go into his room but occasionally one pops in during our bedtime story 🙂
5. Bath Time! With warmer temperatures hitting the Phoenix valley a little earlier than usual, we pulled out the swim suits and gave the pups a bath in our backyard! We usually take them to a kennel in the winter to get cleaned up but this is one of my favorite summer traditions and now Ryker can join the fun! He loved running around the water and helping scrub the puppies clean. In between baths we make sure to give their coats lots of brushing and a trim now and then too. Ryker is all about helping brush their fur plus Duke and Lulu love the extra attention!
Nature’s Recipe isn’t a new product but IS new to Kroger retailers like our Fry’s right around the corner. Go grab a bag today! Ours was located in the ‘Pet Center’ with a variety of choices. I’d love to know how your dogs and toddlers find ways to grow together, let me know below then check out Nature’s Recipe Instagram and Facebook page for more pet friendly inspiration and #NutritionWorthWaggingFor