the yorkie that suddenly became a big sister

November 10th was the big day for us, the day that Sweet Pea was born.

November 12th was the big day for Mercy, the day Sweet Pea and I came home from the hospital. Suddenly our pet was a big sister to a human.

“You mean I have to share my people?”

We read several different articles on introducing our precious pet to our precious child, and, as is true in most of life, we ended up doing our own mix of things.

A few hours after Sweet Pea was born, Keith went to the nursery to see our child and ask for a hat or something that smelled like her to bring home to the dog. Apparently this is a fairly common request and the nurses gave him the towel used to dry Sweet Pea after her first bath. They said it was important for the item to smell like the baby, not mom AND baby, and definitely not any amniotic fluid or other birth “gunk.” Gross.

Keith took the towel home with him later that evening to “show” Mercy the new baby. He said that Mercy sniffed that towel for a few minutes, trying to figure out what it was. Mercy then took the blanket and put it in her crate, where she slept with it until about a month later, when I laundered all of her bedding.

When Sweet Pea and I arrived home from the hospital, I entered the house first and greeted Mercy in my usual fashion as Keith brought in the baby behind me. Lots of sniffing was going on around the car seat.

Since those first few weeks, Mercy has adjusted pretty well to having a baby in the house. She likes the baby and wants to kiss her all the time, which I don’t necessarily want her to do. One wrong misguided movement on Sweet Pea’s part and Mercy could get bopped in the head or eye, which might prompt a correction bite. I haven’t quite figured out what to do about this.

Awww… sisters….

Mercy’s same old hang-ups continue to be her hang-ups, and mine.

Mercy is a barker.

A MAJOR barker.

And it drives me crazy that I can’t get her to stop because her bark pierces my eardrums and when I am parked nursing Sweet Pea, I am even MORE helpless to get the madness to stop. I admit that I have thrown a small paperback book and a small cardboard box in her direction on two different barking occasions while nursing. Neither object actually hit her, nor did I want it to, but she seemed to get the idea that I wasn’t messing around when I said “STOP”, as she quieted down and layed on her pillow. Ay, what would the Dog Whisperer say about that!?!?!?!

Even before the baby, barking was the numero uno issue in our house. We tried an assortment of things suggested by a dog trainer, but nothing has been successful. If I can grab her while she’s barking, I end up putting her in her crate, like a time-out.

Winter has always been a tough season for Mercy too. It’s super cold and snowy out, so she doesn’t get out that much. Her paws have a tendency to get irritated from the snow and salt and footwear is not something she is interested in! But wait, even when we were walking 5 miles a day she still barked all the time! Oh well, we all have our quirks, right? We still love her πŸ™‚

Lately we’ve been playing the “box” game, where I have a shoebox of some sort open and wait for her to do something interesting with it, then reward her. Sniff, treat… One paw in, treat… Two paws in, treat… Sit in the box, more treats… She gets a treat when I feed Sweet Pea and when she’s quiets… boy this dog must love being a big sister. It’s been a life full of treats!

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13 responses to “the yorkie that suddenly became a big sister

  1. We have some barking issues around here too, especially since Gracie arrived… she initially instigated the onslaught of the horrible noises, but now it could be either one of them. We haven’t done much to ‘fix’ this, but somebody I know uses a bark collar. Her dogs are bigger, and certainly way way WAY bigger than Mercy there. But with my dogs’ mom, Karen just has to show her the collar and she’ll stop barking. Do they make anything that’ll give the dog a mini jolt? Somebody else said something about one that you can control with a remote, so the dog doesn’t accidentally set it off. Not necessarily my first choice, but something to think about. They also make them that spray citronella, which apparently the dogs don’t like.

  2. (Lurker coming out of the woodwork – I read your blog all the time…congrats on your new baby.)

    I have a barking Australian Shepherd, and he does well with verbal corrections (unless the mailman is at the door,then all bets are OFF). But, my aunt has a barking mini-aussie who has responded very well to a citronella bark collar. When the dog barks, she gets a tiny puff of citronella. She hates the smell so much, she really calmed her barking WAY back, after only a couple of days. Even when the collar isn’t on. If it is really getting on your nerves, maybe you could look into something like that.

  3. Could Sweet Pea and Big Sister Mercy be any cuter? I don’t think so! They are adorable!

  4. awww, what a cute photo!!

    About the barking…thankfully Oscar isn’t a barker…but my his momma is. My friend has a glass mayo jar with some pennies in it. When Chi barks she gives the jar a shake and something about the noise of the change hitting the glass. Well it stops Chi instantly. So after a while she sort of stopped barking “as much” Just thought I would pass along this tidbit.

    (use a mayo jar as they are thicker…or maybe even a babyfood jar when sweetpea gets a bit older and eats food from jars)

  5. Now Mercy has another “people” to love! Mercy’s ‘do in that last picture is just darling!

    πŸ™‚

  6. The pic of the sisters is adorable!

    About Mercy’s paws- I have heard that a great thing to do for your pups is to pop open a Vit E capsule and massage the pads with the oil. It is OK if they lick it, and it keeps the pads soft and protects them. This was from Marc Morrone and I trust him.

  7. I agree with Heather. My grandma uses an empty pop can with change in it to stop her Yorkie. She showed it to me before I came back down to DC. Lizzie was a loud barker just like Mercy, and they didn’t know what to do. Their vet told them to try the can and so far it is working for them because apparently it is a noise that makes Yorkies come to attention. All it takes is a firm shake and some eye contact. But Mercy is her own woman, so I don’t know if it’ll work, but you could give it a shot!

    P.S. Sweet Pea looks just like you in that picture!

  8. How cute that Mercy put the towel in her crate πŸ™‚ She sounds like she might be bored with being in so much over the winter – I know Frisky is. He loves to go out but can’t take too much of the cold/snow/ice. I’ve picked up a couple of toys for him that hold a treat that he has to figure out how to remove: a Kong, a small rubber football with holes in it, and a hard plastic football with compartments inside. We alternate these so he doesn’t get bored. It takes him a while to get the treat out and keeps him busy and happy. We also sometimes pop a treat into an empty 2-liter plastic bottle – he LOVES this, but it gets pretty loud – almost as bad as the barking lol.

  9. Chester is a barker as well- one thing that works really well for us is spray bottles. You can get them for $1 in the personal care section- fill it with water- when she barks- squirt her! Chester will stop barking now if we have the bottle in our hand! They work wonders!

  10. Well, Dana, it sounds like throwing the book at her worked about the best! At least she knew you meant business!

  11. Mercy and your daughter are so adorable together! As a cat person, I don’t have any advice to offer, but I hope you can find something that works for you soon!

  12. Yep, gotta love em even with their oddities!

  13. What a great picture of the 2 babies! As for the barking, I have cats, not dogs, so I know practically nothing. Maybe a different trainer? Different people “click” with different therapists, maybe it’s the same with dogs and trainers?

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