A Baby and a Bully

There were many things that were on the list of things to do, to read, to explore, and to ultimately decide before Ava became a member of our family last year. One of the top 3 things was making sure Violet, our lovable, adorable pit bull, would be okay with this new (and lets be honest, at-times jarring) addition and transition.

I think it’s safe to say that Tommy was a little bit more concerned about this than I was. He just wanted to make sure that Violet didn’t demonstrate any signs of jealousy or aggression to the new little one. After all, the three of us – Tommy, Violet, and me – were a pretty tight bunch!

Just the three of us

I was also a bit more lenient in the sense that my approach was even if Violet initially let out a growl or demonstrated signs of anxiety or nervousness that would be chalked up to 1) she was a dog, 2) everyone – animals especially – would need time to transition and 3) Tommy and I would be monitoring things closely that we’d be able to quickly intervene should something happen. Tommy was more of the “one and done” mentality.

Now I know there are some folks out there who might think we were crazy to even try to have a pit bull breed and a baby co-exist in the same household, but I am a strong believer in giving people/animals/things the benefit of the doubt, and contrary to pit bull stereotypes they are one of the sweetest, kindest, most loyal, and most patient dog breeds out there.

Fortunately and blessedly I can say that the our worst fears were never even presented. Ava is now 6 months old (and by the way how did that even happen?!) and Violet has not yet exhibited a second of aggression, jealousy, assertion, or anything remotely similar. Phew.

In my honest opinion I think our recipe for success is two-fold – we did some serious prepping for this introduction and lifestyle change and I think it’s just within Violet’s innate personality and breed to be nurturing and protective.

This is probably my most favorite picture of Ava and Violet together.

This is probably my most favorite picture of Ava and Violet together.

Here is what we did:

  1. We signed Violet and ourselves up for professional dog-training to help with this transition. We felt the most comfortable and confident with Sit Means Sit Dog Training. Our dog-trainer, Lance, taught and demonstrated several commands and actions to give Violet that would help manage her with a small baby (and soon-to-be growing child). Some of this things included proper leash training, “sit”, “down”, and place. Ultimately Violet was trained to act and go by our cues, not hers.
  2. Tommy did bring home items from the hospital that had Ava’s new baby scent on them (a swaddle blanket and a hat).
  3. What we think was the most important and effective thing we did was whenever one of us was tending to the baby (usually me), Tommy would be cuddling,snuggling, laying, playing, or walking Violet. By doing this we were showing Violet that while Ava got attention, Violet’s attention wouldn’t be terminated completely. And of course I gave Violet as much love as I could and still do. This has gotten easier as Ava gets older and isn’t so dependent on me. To this day we still do this, and so far so good!
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One morning Lena and I were sitting at the dining room table. Ava was sitting on Lena’s lap, but kept squirming and making noises. For awhile we couldn’t figure out why Ava was so restless. Finally Lena put it together that Ava was just trying to get closer to Violet on the floor. So Lena sat with Ava next to Violet where Ava proceeded to pet her and smile at her for several minutes. Melt my heart.

Hope you have a great night!

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2 Comments

Filed under Life in Chesapeake Beach, Life in DC

2 responses to “A Baby and a Bully

  1. Ava and Violet are both adorable!

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