Is Your Dog Ready For A Baby In The House?
I have two clients at the moment that are pregnant. I’ve asked both of them if their dog(s) are ready for the new baby and the responses I got were quite different. One client has involved her dog quite a bit in the preparation process, showing her the baby’s room and various gear the baby will need. The other client hasn’t involved her dogs as much, and her response indicated she hoped the dogs would be ok.
For many households, the dog has been like a child, sometimes for quite a long period of time. When a baby arrives, the family dynamic changes dramatically which may leave a dog feeling confused.
Here are a few suggestions to prepare your dog for the baby’s arrival:
Train the dog. Before the baby arrives, there are some commands your dog should know: stay, down; and no jump. These are basic commands all dogs should know, but with a baby in the house these commands can be critical for preventing accidents.
Set boundaries in the house for the dog. Your dog may be allowed to go in any room, to get up on furniture, or do other things without permission. When you have a baby in the house, these things can become dangerous. Start teaching your dog that he is not allowed in certain rooms or areas of the house, such as the nursery or other places where the baby will be. Use baby gates to keep your dog out of these areas.
Start walking your dog with an empty stroller. The stroller and some of the other equipment for the baby can seem strange to your dog. Get your dog used to these items before the baby is born. Start walking your dog with the empty stroller before the baby is born, for example.
Get your dog used to the smell of baby oil and other new scents. Babies mean there will be new scents in the home. Before the baby is born, let your dog get used to the scent of baby oil, baby powder, and other things you will be using for the baby. This will help your dog make the adjustment when you bring the baby home.
If mom usually takes care of the dog, have dad take over the responsibilities of walking and feeding. Dad can start taking care of the dog while mom is pregnant to help out. Mom should still spend some time with the dog. so he doesn’t feel neglected or left out.
Do the actual introduction slowly. Once you bring the baby home, introduce him to your dog slowly. Dog and baby can be in the same room together for an introduction. Everyone will be in love with the baby, but don’t forget or ignore your dog during this time.
NEVER leave the baby alone with the dog. Many dogs love babies but a dog who doesn’t understand or is jealous or frightened by a baby’s crying to cause a horrible accident. Do not leave a dog and baby alone together, not even for a moment.
Your dog and baby can live in harmony together but training for your dog is important, so get started before the baby gets here.