Pets are a wonderful, loved part of your family, as any pet owner knows. However, if you are introducing your new baby to a dog, there are some things to take into consideration in order to ensure that both your baby and dog feel at ease, happy, and safe in the new living situation. You should prioritize these preparations while you count down the days until your due date.
Early Pre-Baby Preparations
If the mother-to-be is the one who is closest with the pup, begin by letting another member of the family do the usual daily activities with your dog. If the dog becomes more use to someone else walking it, feeding it, and giving it attention, he or she will not feel abandoned when the baby arrives.
Make sure that your pet is healthy and has received all the required and recommended vaccinations. Schedule an appointment with the vet to make sure that your pet has no parasites or illnesses. Also talk with your vet about what you should expect when introducing your infant to your dog.
If you haven’t already done so, arrange to have your pet spayed or neutered. Dogs are naturally territorial creatures, so having them spayed or neutered will curb their tendencies towards aggression. In addition, you should take your pet to an obedience class that uses positive training techniques. This will teach your pet good or even better behavior, and you’ll learn how to react to certain situations.
Later Pre-Baby Preparations
Expose your dog to sounds he or she will hear once your new baby is born such as a baby crying, a rocking chair, swings, and baby toys. This way, they will not be startled or uncomfortable once the baby actually arrives and these new sounds are part of daily life.
Teach and reinforce to your dog that the baby’s room is off-limits. To prevent them from feeling left out, use baby gates or screens to close off the room without having to close the door.
Teach your dog to not jump on furniture or in your lap unless you give the command. Also make sure that they know that all baby furniture is completely off-limits.
Before you actually have the baby, use a baby doll and pretend that it is the real thing. This will help get your dog used to your behavior with a baby. Also use products on yourself that smell like a baby. Because dogs rely so strongly on scent to navigate the world, this will help them get used to the baby more quickly once he or she is born.
Now for some tips on what to do after your baby is born. Before bringing the infant into the house, let your dog sniff your baby’s blanket or an article of their clothing. Have another person carry the baby so that when you enter the house, you can give your pet the attention it wants from. After all, your pup must miss you since you’ve been at the hospital for some time.
After showering your dog with affection, sit down with your baby. Very carefully let your pet sniff him or her and investigate the area around you and the baby. This lets your dog become familiar with the infant. Keep treats on hand to reward your pup’s positive behavior and reactions.
Follow your pup’s old feeding and playing routines as closely as possible. Extreme, sudden changes can stress your pet. Of course, there will inevitably be some difficulty because of how much responsibility you’ll have as a parent, but it will be worth the effort it takes to ease your precious pup into the situation.
Having a baby is a life changing, special experience. However, as a pet owner, it is necessary to responsibly prepare your pup in order to ensure both its happiness as well as your infant’s safety. It will all be worth it, as you will see in the years to come.