If you’re expecting a baby and you have a dog, you might be wondering how to prepare your dog for the new arrival. After all, you want to make sure that both your dog and your baby are safe and happy in their new home together. Don’t worry – with a little bit of preparation, you can make the transition easy for both your dog and your baby. Here are a few tips on how to prepare your dog for a new baby. Follow the link for additional information on Pet Safety With Kids
Focus on Impulse Control
Just like your future baby, dogs are not born with impulse control and it is very important that we teach them it. If your dog jumps up on people, steals food off the kitchen counter, grabs food out of your your hands, barks at anything walking by, or pulls on leash, they most likely are lacking impulse control.
In preparing your dog for your new babies arrival, the first step should be to focus on helping your pet gain impulse control which will help to eliminate the behaviors above. There are many resources available online to help you teach your pet impulse control however a private in-home dog training session may be needed, and for the safety of your baby, is well worth it. Here is a Beginner’s Instructional Video For Impulse Control, this exercise will get you off to a great start.
Desensitize Your Dog to Babies
Newborn babies have a distinct high-pitch crying sound they make. If a dog is not familiar with that sound and it’s unique pitch, your dog may get unnecessarily worried or over-react anytime your babies cry. Prior to your babies planned arrival, begin desensitizing your dog to the sound of a baby crying.
Play newborn crying sounds at a very low level where your dog makes little, to no, reaction and slowly increase the volume of those levels. This may require you to play the sounds in a different room than your dog is in.
It is important to ensure the dog is comfortable with the current level before increasing the volume. If your dog ever seems uncomfortable or shows any body language that would imply they are stressed, you have turned the volume too high and you need to turn it down quickly.
To have your dog associate the sounds of a baby crying with something positive, try playing the sounds while he is eating his meal, playing with his favorite toy or enjoying a stuffed Kong or chew.
You can find a variety of downloadable baby crying tracks online. YouTube is a great source for finding newborn crying sounds as well as other sounds to help you in the desensitization process with your dog or check out Preparing Fido.
Let Your Dog Become Familiar With Babies Accessories
Approximately a month before your babies arrival, set up some of those babies accessories, particularly your baby’s carseat, and let your dog become familiar with them. You can even use a doll to mimic your future baby. Your dog will be able to get over their curiosity of all these new items around your house prior to the baby arriving, rather than all these new items and changes being associated with your baby and heightening curiosity and possibly anxiety when you need it the least.
Begin New Routines With Your Dog Before Baby Arrives
Your life and routines as well as your dog’s, significantly change when your first baby arrives. Begin to think about what changes you see taking place once you bring home your new baby and begin to implement what changes you can well prior to you bringing your new one home. If you plan not to allow your dog on the couch or bed once your baby is home, begin training and enforcing that well before they arrive. If your spouse will begin to takeover the dog walking, make sure to start doing that a few months in advance so that your pup does not associate this new baby with all the changes they are experiencing.
Allow Your Dog To Have A Baby Free Escape Area
Create a retreat space in your home for your dog to get away and relax in. They should have their own area, which they can view as their safe-space in which they can get away from the noises of baby as well as the attention and focus on the new baby that comes with the turf. Give them access to a comfy bed, their crate, and any other items they like to enjoy by themselves. As your baby gets older and begins moving around, ensure this is a kid-free zone where they always know they can escape to.
Finally, Introducing Your Dog And Baby
The day has finally arrived. Your are bringing home your new little bundle of home. So how do you actually go about introducing your baby and dog? Enter the house without the baby at first. Practice a quick few impulse control exercises and then have the baby brought into the house. Slowly introduce them. Do not force it. If your pup is not interested, don’t insist they say hi. Let your dog do it on their own time.
If your dog does want to say, let them sniff around the new baby, ensuring the baby is protected, and that you can easily get her attention back on to you by calling his/her name. Don’t make too big of a deal of the meeting but do reward your dog for gentle and positive behaviors.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: Ensure your baby is always supervised when your dog is around. You may have the sweetest, most gentle pup in the world, but accidents can happen. Remember, your dog is a dog and your dog may not understand this is a new member of your family yet. Biting is not the only concern with dogs and babies. Newborns do not have the ability to roll over yet, they cannot move out of the way, and their tiny little bodies are very fragile. A dog or cat, can easily and accidentally cause your baby injury by lying next to or on top of a baby. Please ensure not to leave your baby unsupervised when your dog has free access to them.
Having a baby is a wonderful, life-changing event. It’s also a big adjustment for your family – especially your dog. Dogs are typically very social creatures, so it’s important to make sure they are prepared for the arrival of your new bundle of joy. Here are some tips to help you get your dog ready for your baby, and to make the transition as smooth as possible for both you and your furry friend: