How To Introduce a New Baby to Your Dog
Train Your Dog
If your dog doesn’t have basic obedience training, now is the time to get that under its belt. Fido should be able to follow basic commands, such as sit, off, down and come. Tackling this challenge before your baby arrives will give you some peace of mind.
Plus, it will give you some extra quality time with your pet. Devoting your attention to your canine may help prevent the jealousy that can come up when you bring your baby home.
Just make sure to train your dog well in advance. If you can, you should begin the training regimen when you find out that you’re pregnant. Training can take a few weeks, and you will need to gradually curtail the amount of time that you spend with your dog in the few weeks before you deliver the infant. You don’t want to give your dog an abundance of attention only to limit it dramatically when the baby is born.
Give Your Dog a Comfy Home Base
Does your dog have a dedicated bed or safe place in which to hang out? If you’re like many families, your canine might hop on the couch to snuggle with you while you watch TV at night and sleep on the bed with you. You might want to devote a spot that’s special for your dog, such as a comfortable bed in the living room.
Choose the word that you’re going to use, such as bed or place, to teach your dog to go to its place. Stand at the spot where you’d like your dog to rest, and use the word. Lure your pet there with a treat. When the dog is on the bed, offer the treat as a reward.
Once your dog is consistently going to its place, require it to lie down before you offer the treat. Eventually, you can extend the length of time that your dog stays down. Try moving around the room, offering the treat only if the dog stays put without following you.
When you bring the baby home, you and your dog should have this skill down pat. Make sure that you continue to offer behavior-reinforcing treats as frequently as possible to continue to make the experience rewarding for your pooch.
Change Your Dog’s Routine
Things are going to be different when the baby is born. Dogs are sensitive and can pick up on these changes. If their lives are thrown into an upheaval as soon as the baby comes home, they may associate the shift with the new family member. That’s not a good way to get things started on the right foot.
Therefore, you should alter your dog’s routine at least one month before the baby comes. This will require you to forecast how your schedule will change with a new baby around.
When will you be feeding the infant? When will the dog need to be walked and fed? Wrapping your head around this timetable ahead of time will help you adapt the dog’s routines so that everything continues to feel consistent for your pet even as you’re navigating your “new normal.”
Before You Bring Your Baby Home
Once your baby is born, you might have to stay in the hospital for a day or two before you return home. This is an excellent time to acquaint your dog with your infant’s smell. If possible, have a family member bring home items from the hospital, such as a piece of clothing, baby blanket or hat with your little one’s scent.
Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, recommends that you set boundaries while your canine is sniffing the object. Hold the item a few feet away from your dog. Keep it in your hand, establishing that the object is yours. Don’t allow the dog to sniff it until you give permission. This will help create an atmosphere of respect for the baby’s things.
Coming Home With Your Baby
You might be excited but tense when it’s finally time to bring your baby home. Before this happens, have someone take your dog for a long walk or play several rounds of fetch. Your dog should have released as much energy as possible before meeting the baby.
To make everything go smoothly, enter the house without the infant at first. Allow your dog to greet you, and offer plenty of affection.
Then, bring the baby inside. Your dog will notice the new scents and sounds right away. Try to keep your dog at a distance. If someone else can distract the canine from the new baby with lots of affection, you’ll teach your dog that good things happen when the infant is around.
After a day or two, give your dog permission to sniff the baby. You might want to start doing this on a leash so that you have control of your canine. You should always keep the baby elevated when you’re introducing them to the dog. Make sure that there’s an adult between the infant and your pet.
If you take these precautions before introducing a new baby to your dog, your transition into parenthood with a pet should be easy. At Tastyganics.com, we know how important it is for you to bond with your new family. Check out our blog for more tips about parenting and life with a little one.
- Jennifer Akiyama