How To Prepare Your Dog for the New Baby

9 Dec

Bringing home a new baby is a major life event for not only expectant parents, but their pets as well, especially dogs. No matter the breed you own, it will be important to help your dog get accustomed to having a newborn in the home. However, this can be tough for dogs who have not been fully prepared. This is why you should start the transition process early on to set your dog’s expectations. Here are a few must-do tips on how to prepare your dog for the arrival of your new baby.

Prepare your family dog for the new baby with Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

# 1 Pre-Preparation

If you are thinking of becoming pregnant you should begin preparing your dog well in advance. Such proactive positive parenting skills are essential for both your dog and your new baby. This will give you ample time to get your dog ready for the baby’s arrival. One great way to do this is to address any existing concerns about your dog’s behavior that you may have. For instance, do they show any aggressive or territorial behaviors like guarding their food bowl? Do they play aggressively with their squeak toys or do you notice any other sensitivities when they are around other children? You should also pay attention to places on their body that they do not like being touch such as their tails or ears. These are important areas of concern that you should discuss with a veterinarian early on to best address these behaviors. Furthermore, if your dog has noise anxiety you may want to speak to your vet as a crying baby could make things worse.

#2 Home Training

Also consider improving upon your dog’s obedience training at home. You may want to train your dog and address manners such as jumping unexpectedly on furniture, playful biting or excessive barking. These are all areas of concern that could negatively impact the new baby. For instance, a dog that jumps on furniture without notice could harm a baby who is laying on your lap. To remedy this, teach the dog how to follow simple commands like sit, no and stay to ensure they do not pose a safety hazard for the newborn. Also make sure your dog is fully housebroken. In a few months your baby will be more curious and crawling around. Accidents around the home could pose health and sanitation issues for your little one.

 

#3 Mimic the Experience

For dogs who have never been around a new baby it will be important to simulate having a baby in the home. This will include creating experiences that include the sights, sounds and smells of a new baby. For instance, purchase a life-like baby doll to expose your dog to having a baby in the home. Do standard things with the doll such as cradling it in your arms, changing its diaper and feeding it. Practice commands with the dog when they get too curious about what you’re doing. Also, practice walking your dog with a stroller before the baby comes so they can learn how to walk calmly and not pull you while you are pushing the stroller. Over time, your dog will become accustomed to such activities and will learn how to behave when you are giving the baby attention. You can even give your dog treats as a reward for such good behavior!

#4 Teach Your Dog Independence

It will also be important to teach your dog independence skills. Remember, a new baby will change your dog’s normal routine. As such, you may need to adjust their daily walks or the amount of play time they receive each day. Therefore, work on your dog’s independence level early on for the best results. Do this by gradually spending less and less time with them. To keep the dog from feeling lonely, purchase plenty of toys to keep them occupied. You can also consider hiring a new pet sitter or dog walker so that your dog has one-on-one time with someone else who can give them the love and attention they need when you are busy with the baby. Remember, when the baby arrives inevitably you will be spending more time caring for their needs and less time with your pet. Therefore, teach your dog skills that will ensure they are less reliant on you for attention.

Prepare your dog for the new baby with Helicopter Mom and Just Plane Dad

#5 Create a Respite Area

Lastly, consider creating a separate area in the home that is your dog’s own space. The baby may have many items around the home that your dog may confuse with their own toys. Therefore, practice the l leave it and drop it commands when it comes to separating the baby’s toys from the dog’s and keep the dog’s items in their designated area. Also consider the dog’s sleeping arrangements. Often dogs have previously slept with their owners either in the bedroom or in the bed itself. This may be a good time to transition the dog to their own crate for those late nights and early mornings when baby is in an adjacent bassinet or crib so that the dog does not disturb their sleep.

Furthermore, a crawling baby may be curious about the dog may want to climb on him, pull their tail or grab their mouth. The baby may also want to try and pick up the dog in strange positions. Keep in mind that your dog may need a break every now. Therefore, create a separate area in the home that your dog can call his very own so that he has space from your child when he needs it.

While bringing your baby home is an exciting time for the entire family, preparing your dog in advance can ensure the smoothest transition for everyone. Try any of these strategies to help your pet become comfortable around your baby to ensure both your baby and your dog’s well-being.

Guest Post: Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance Hilary Smithjournalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics and wishes to help parents raise their children to be the best they can be.  Follow her on Twitter!

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