Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby
Welcoming a new baby to the family can be exciting and also a little scary not just for new parents—but for your furry babies, too! Here are 5 tips to help you prepare your dog for the arrival of your baby.
- Start or brush up on obedience training. Making sure that your best buddy knows basic commands, including sit, stay and leave it, will not only provide communication and skills that will help your dog adjust, attending obedience classes is a great bonding opportunity with your dog.
- Introduce new sights and sounds. From cries and coos to playpens and toys, your new little bundle of joy dramatically changes your home. To get your best buddy used to all of the new gear, don’t wait until the baby arrives to take the gear out of the box. Giving your dog the chance to explore and sniff new furniture and toys will help ease the transition. Plus, it provides a great opportunity for you to help Fido understand which toys are his and which ones are off-limits.
Some trainers even recommend playing recordings of baby sounds periodically throughout the day. Check out YouTube for free compilations to help familiarize your pup with the different sounds.
- Make sure your pup has a special place. If your dog will be allowed in the nursery, prepare an area with a special mat or dog bed for your pet in the room. Begin training your best girl that she should sit or rest quietly in her area while in the baby’s room. Keep treats in the room to reward your pup and reinforce good behavior.
If your pup won’t be allowed in the room, make sure that she has a quiet area or crate to go to when things become overwhelming.
- Prepare for lifestyle changes. The home can become quite hectic and routines are bound to change once the baby arrives. Dog training professionals point out that if your dog is accustomed to a strict schedule for eating and walks, varying the times he eats or takes walks before the baby comes home will make adjusting to a new or unpredictable schedule easier.
Professionals also warn against lavishing your dog with extra attention prior to baby. This can create an even bigger letdown for your pup. Instead, these professionals suggest snuggling and playing with your dog for shorter periods of the day and at various times.
- Always supervise. Cries, squeals, or unexpected petting can be stressful for your pup. Never leave your dog and baby alone. When you are playing with them together, watch your dog for signals, such as pacing and unusual eye contact, that indicates he may be uncomfortable and need to take a break from the baby.
Keep in mind that it will take time for everyone to adjust to new routines (or the lack thereof!) But with planning, preparation, and patience, watching the bond grow between your first “baby” and your new baby will be an incredibly rewarding and heartwarming experience.