Preparing Your Dog for a Baby: What You Need to Know
As a parent I know that bringing a baby into your home is one of the most exciting times in your life. It is also one of the most amazing experiences, but it comes with a lot of work and responsibilities that are time consuming. So it’s important to make sure your dog is ready for this big change.
A well-prepared dog will be less likely to feel threatened or stressed with the new arrival and will be more likely to welcome the baby with unconditional doggy love. Having said that don’t take it for granted.
If you are a first time parent just know that everything is going to change. No matter your intentions and your good planning you are going to have less time for your dog. There’s no way around it.
What NOT to do.
A big mistake new parents make is to start spending more time with their dogs before the baby arrives. The thinking is to make up time now because they know they will be busy later with the baby. The problem with this is that when the baby comes the change from spending a lot of time to not spending barely any time is going to be more dramatic. This can lead to major behavioral issues.
Here are some tips to help you get your furry friend ready for the arrival of your little one.
- Gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends alone. This will help your dog get used to being alone, which will be important once the baby arrives and you have less time to spend with your pet. Start by leaving your dog alone for a few minutes at a time and gradually increase the length of the separation.
- Introduce your dog to baby sounds and smells. Play recordings of baby cries, laughter, and other sounds so your dog can get used to the new noises they will be hearing. Also, get a blanket or other item that smells like the baby and let your dog smell it so they can get used to the new scent.
- Train your dog self control and games where they learn to be calm around excitement. A well behave dog that trusts you and listens to you is going to learn to be at peace around the baby. Focus on commands like “place” and “ settle”.
- Create boundaries and rules for your dog. Decide where your dog is and is not allowed to be when the baby is around, such as in the nursery or on the furniture. Also, establish rules for how your dog should behave around the baby, such as not jumping or barking.
- Teach your dog to be calm on the leash indoors. Leash communication skills can help tremendously to create calmness and bonding. The leash is a tool that can let your dog and your baby share the same space in a safe and calm manner.
- Set up a safe space for your dog. Designate an area where your dog can retreat to if they become overwhelmed by the new arrival. This can be a crate or a special room where they feel safe and comfortable.
- Show your dog love and attention. Despite the new arrival, it’s important to continue to give your dog love and attention so they don’t feel neglected or pushed aside.
By following these tips, you can help your dog adjust to the new arrival and become a loving and supportive member of your family. Just remember to be patient, consistent, and positive in your training and interactions with your pet, and you’ll be sure to have a well-prepared dog who loves and welcomes your new baby.
© Gabriel Riesco, Pawmos Dog Training LLC | All Rights Reserved February 2023