For many of us, our dog was our first child. If you’re about to have a baby, congratulations! A little bit of prep can ease the transition for your beloved pet.
1. Expose dogs to children often and early
Help your dog become familiar with the sounds of children. Your pup should be used to crying babies, laughing kids, and noisy toys when you bring your newborn home
You can help your dog learn these sounds by going to public areas where they can see and hear kids playing.
YouTube videos are an option if visiting playgrounds doesn’t work with your schedule.
2. Include your dog in newborn preparations
Let your dog join you as you build the baby’s crib and swing. Believe it or not, our pets can sense that a change is coming. If you’re calm, they’ll be calm.
It also helps for your dogs to be able to get used to the baby’s environment and the smells that go with it. This helps relax your pet about the changes that are coming.
3. Introduce your dog to baby’s scent a day before the baby comes home
Let your pet smell your baby’s clothes, hat, or blanket before coming home from the hospital.
When mom and baby enter the house for the first time, your dogs should be out of their kennels. Let your pups sniff the baby in his carrier. You can gently push the dog away from your baby’s face to let your pup sniff your little one’s tiny toes.
Practice this for the first few weeks that your baby is home. Dogs will need some time to get used to this new addition!
Again, dogs take cues from their human. They’ll feel calm if their human models a calm demeanor.
When to call your vet
If your dog gets temperamental around the baby or as the child becomes mobile, it’s time to meet with a behaviorist.
Goodheart can recommend experts to help new moms and dads with their pets. They’ll teach pets to go to their “place” when a new mom is nursing. And how to walk alongside a stroller without pulling or tugging.
Parents should also teach kids to never jump on dogs, tease a dog using food, or pull its tail.
If an expert can’t help, it’s time to rehome the dog to an adult-only household.
Goodheart is here for you 24/7. Please call us if you have any questions at all.
“A lot of people think that if you just bring home the baby blanket for your dog to sniff, everything will be fine…but you have to remember that your dog won’t necessarily understand all the brand new changes that are suddenly occurring in your home, so it’s your job to go slow, to constantly and vigilantly supervise, and to create a positive association with your baby and the baby equipment, with the ultimate goal of making your dog feel safe, secure and confident in his/her new environment.”