THE BLOG

I'm Wondering What Lupo Thinks to Prince George

30/07/2013 17:36 BST | Updated 29/09/2013 10:12 BST
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So far I haven't spotted Lupo the royal dog in any of the coverage of the birth of Prince George. I am working on the assumption that their beloved Cocker Spaniel is at home with Kate's parents, as he is from a litter of the Middleton's family dog Ella. It would be great to find out though as I would wholeheartedly welcome them being a shining example of how the birth of a baby and the ownership of a dog can be managed.

The reason I say this is that it ain't easy that's for sure! I myself have a 10-month old baby boy and a deaf dog plus I spend time advising families on preparing their dog for a birth or working to incorporate a new dog into a family situation. And when you pair this with the 2011/12 figures that one in six of those admitted to hospital with a dog bite is under 10 years old; its proof that there is more to be done in safeguarding our children around dogs. And actually vice versa.

I guess one of the most frustrating and key things that I witness working with dogs and children is where owners/parents expect their poor dog to just take everything the kid intends to give. Just like us, dogs have boundaries. Weirdly if you don't like two stone of weight being plonked on top of your head neither will your dog appreciate your baby bouncing on theirs. Just as I don't expect a child or adult to pull my hair, poke my eyes or wedge Lego down my ear canal, neither does my dog Cookie.

William and Kate have a huge support network and I'm sure hundreds of people at their beck and call, so I am certain that they have taken Lupo into account and worked on many things before George was born.

One of the saddest things I see is when a dog is given up because it now doesn't fit into the lifestyle of the new parents. Just this evening I have sat answering an email to a woman with two dogs who walks them for half an hour a week (it used to be two hours per day before baby arrived) and is wondering why they are not behaving around her two year old daughter like she thinks they should. It isn't rocket science but it is a very simple equation that what you tolerate, teach and encourage in your dog pre baby will continue post baby.

Except now as a dog owner and parent, you have less time, are more tired and have less patience! So allowing your dog to jump up at visitors or snatch food from your hand isn't quite so funny, but if you allowed it and taught it then its you who should be given up and put in a rehoming centre not the poor dog who is just doing what its been allowed to for the past 3yrs. Harsh but fair.