Having a new baby to bring home is really exciting. However, what’s exciting for you and your partner might be confusing or sometimes frightening for your pet dog. It’s because, for them, a baby seems like a human but it smells, sounds, and moves differently. Aside from that, your new baby will take up much of your time and attention that you used to give to your pet dog which can also develop jealousy for your dog because he’s no longer the center of attention. But no worries because this can be prevented by being prepared.
If you are having a new baby soon and you still don’t have any idea how to introduce your dog to him or her, we are here to help you. Planning ahead and doing the right steps in the first weeks of your baby’s arrival can help you create a bond between your new addition and your pet dog. Here are some of the best tips you can try to introduce your dog to your new baby effectively.
Before your new baby comes home, get your pet dog ready. This can include a basic obedience class to make sure that your pet will not jump and can also help it to develop a solid recall so it will come to you when you call. Aside from that, there are other things you can do to prepare your dog for your baby’s homecoming and here are some of them.
Make slow changes to your dog’s routines
You can change your dog’s routines gradually such as its sleeping place or the time it gets walked before your new baby comes home for your dog to not associate the changes with the baby. You can also go through the baby’s routines before his or her arrival such as changing, feeding, rocking, and walking with an empty stroller.
Reduce the amount of attention and playtime you give your pet dog two weeks before your new baby comes home
You should also make a conscious effort to gradually decrease the amount of attention you give your pet dog throughout the day. About two weeks before your baby’s arrival, you can try to give your dog longer periods of undivided attention instead of giving it short bursts of attention throughout the day. This will help your dog to be prepared for the inevitable decrease in the attention it will receive when your new baby arrives.
Try to play recordings of baby sounds for your dog to hear
This will help your dog adjust to the new sounds before your new baby comes home.
Introduce baby smells to your dog
This can include the smell of powder and lotion. Or once the baby is born, you can bring some baby clothing or blanket home and let your dog smell them and get used to the baby’s smell.
Assign a specific place for your dog
Before your new baby comes home, you can train your dog to “go to place”. It can be to a specific mat, bed, or area at home. You can use praises and treats to train your pet easily. This way, you will be able to easily establish boundaries around the nursery. You can also increase your dog’s time on its specific area by giving it something rewarding there like a chew toy.
When the Baby Arrives Home
When your new baby arrives home, here are some of the things you can do to introduce your dog to him or her.
Greet your dog alone
Once you arrive home with the baby, you should greet your pet dog alone first for it not to get excited and jump on the baby.
Allow your dog to adjust for a few days
Before you introduce your dog and your baby in closer proximity, you should allow your dog to adjust first to the sight, smell, and sound of the baby.
Allow your pet dog to sniff the baby while on a leash
While doing this, you can pet your dog and give it praise. Remember to always allow the dog to approach you and the baby because invites prevent bites.
Allow your dog to sniff the baby off leash
When your dog is used to your baby’s smell, you can allow it to sniff your baby off leash. But you need to make sure that the baby is kept elevated and an adult should be between them at all times. It’s because when the baby suddenly cries, screams, or kicks, your dog might interpret those as signs of an invitation to play or as a warning.
Don’t forget your dog
Dogs do not necessarily need toys or special attention to make them feel important. Even when you have a new baby around, you should still maintain the routine you have with your dog such as providing it will daily walk and consistent leadership. This way, your dog will be able to feel secure and relaxed about the new addition to your family.
Teach your baby
When your baby reaches his or her exploratory state, such as when he or she begins to crawl, it’s important that you supervise all interactions between him or her and your pet dog. Teach your baby to not bother the dog or yank its tail and pull its ears. This way, you will be able to teach them mutual respects and avoid danger.
It can also help your baby and your dog to get along well by creating a lifestyle that involves both of them. It can be taking your baby along for walks or feeding them at the same time. These activities can help set you up for an easy transition.
All in all, the secret is to make your dog feel just as loved as they did before your new baby came along. But if you’re not sure about your dog’s ability to cope with a baby, then maybe it’s time that you consult a dog behaviorist who can help your family during the transition. We hope the tips we gave will be able to help you in introducing your dog to your new baby.