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Preparing Your Dog for a New Baby

The dogs in our lives become as much a part of the family as our children, in fact, sometimes we consider them our babies. We pamper them, play with them and spend lots of time with them. But when you are about to bring a new human to the family, you have to consider preparing your dog for a new baby and get him used to sharing the attention. You need to prepare them beforehand so they are not completely confused when the baby comes and to minimize the "sibling rivalry" that will undoubtedly develop.

One thing to avoid is to suddenly stop paying attention to your pet, scolding him, yelling, or sending him to another part of the house. That's cruel and will only stress the dog, so you need to be mindful of how you treat your <i>first</i> baby.

If the dog is really attached to you, the new mother, it's wise to have another member of the family start getting closer to the pet, so he or she won't feel totally left out when you start dedicating most of your time to the new baby.

If your dog has any behavior problems, now is the time to address them with a trainer. If he play bites, swats at you or jumps on people, you need to fix these behaviors before the baby comes.

Getting the dog used to baby sounds and smells is also very useful. You can use recordings of a baby crying and use baby lotion and powder on your skin, and have your friends with babies come to your home so you canĀ  start observing your dog's reactions to kids. Have treats ready to reward your pet and make every interaction with babies a fulfilling experience.

Another thing to do when preparing your dog for a new baby is get her used to seeing you with something in your arms, maybe a baby doll, and teach her that she cannot jump up on you. Whenever you lay the baby doll down on the sofa or the bed and the dog attempts to approach it, you need to calmly say "no", say the dog's name, and then say "baby". This will condition them to the fact that they are not allowed to touch the baby.

When you bring the infant home, you will need to know how to introduce the baby to your dog. First, try to have someone take the baby to another room or hold him or her, so you can greet your dog warmly. Later, while sitting down, hold the infant securely in your arms and call the dog to you, and when introducing them, make sure you speak in a calm and loving voice. If you sound excited, the animal will also become excited, so remain calm and allow the dog to smell the infant you are holding. Let him get familiarized with the baby's smell. Just control the interaction and see what the dog's reaction is to the new "creature".

Introducing dogs to babies is not hard to do because they will be naturally curious and will want to meet the new human in the house. The hard part of introducing a dog to a baby is when the dog has been the only baby in the household for a long time. They often become very jealous of the infant and they will act out to try and get your attention. They may try to take things they know belong to the infant and hide them or chew them up, and they may regress to relieving themselves indoors or doing other actions they have been trained not to do. Try to remain patient and realize it might take some time for the dog and the new baby to become friends.


Photos courtesy of:

Jacobim Mugatu