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Westies and Human Babies

Westies and terriers in general are not usually recommended for homes with children under six years old. The reason for this lack of endorsement lies in the terrier instinct to attack small, squealing prey. In contrast, Retrievers have been conditioned to gently carry captured prey back to their human masters.

However, human babies are born into households with Westies in residents. With planning, care and attention to the initial meeting, Westies can bond strongly with the new family member. It is important to remember that even though the dog may love a child deeply, the relationship must be supervised. Small children will pull a dog's hair and poke its eyes without meaning any harm. A dog that is allowed to be hurt by a child will eventually strike back out of fear. Many sweet loving dogs have become homeless because of a momentary mistake caused by suffering ongoing abuse at the hand of a child.

To set the tone for the relationship between the Westie and a new child, it is advisable to introduce the dogs to the sights, sounds and smells of babies before the initial encounter. Use some baby powder or baby lotion on yourself. "Borrow" a used baby blanket from someone else. Offer to wash a load of baby clothes, diapers, etc.

New mothers are not kept in the hospital very long, but if you can possibly send something home that smells like the particular baby before he or she comes into the home.

If you are a new mother, let the hubby bring the baby into the house. When you come home from the hospital, greet the dog. Then take the baby to show your dog how much you love the baby. Let them know that this baby is the offspring of the Alpha Dog and Bitch. Often, in the wild, only the alpha reproduces. The rest of the pack takes the role of caretakers. It is usually the beta dog/bitch that takes this responsibility most to heart.

NEVER leave any of the dogs alone with the baby if they can possibly get to the baby in any way. Accidents happen. But if you monitor the relationship carefully and teach your children to be careful around the dog, the dog will bond with the child and become its most staunch defender.

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