When Your Dog Meets the New Baby for the First Time…
Party Marty here! I am still getting used to life without Jessie. It’s not fun. I have all this sarcasm in me just dying to be tossed in her general direction, but she is not here to catch it. She always tried to be the boss of me and would treat me like a baby every chance she got. I hated it. Now, I miss it. We were partners in crime for quite a while and were a well-oiled machine. She bossed. I ignored her. She ordered me around. I laughed at her. It was the perfect balance. It took a while for us to get used to one another initially, what with all of my fabulousness taking up all the space in the house and all. That was a tricky introduction back then, but she warmed up to the idea that I was one amazing cat. It’s not any fun bragging about it now, though.
Speaking of introductions, I came across this cool article online about how to introduce your dog to the new baby in the family. While the ceremonial greeting would be far different than the one used when Jessie and I first met, there are still some similarities.
If you have a pet and just found out you are pregnant, take advantage of the nine months to work with your pet on any issues he might have and any unwanted habits that need to be addressed. This might even be a good time to hire a professional to step in and work with you and your dog so that your newborn can be introduced to a calm and well-behaved canine.
And remember that pregnancy comes with a cornucopia of emotions – excitement, anxiety, worry – and your dog will pick up on those emotions. Be aware of how you are feeling and of what your dog is mirroring in you.
Prior to introducing your dog to the baby, claim your baby’s scent. How do you do that? Well, bring a burp cloth or clothing item of the baby’s and let the dog sniff it…initially from a distance while you are holding the item. This tells the dog that the item belongs to you and that you are merely giving him permission to sniff it. That is also code for “This belongs to me and you need to follow my rules around it.” This should create a sense of respect in the dog for the baby.
You may want to establish certain boundaries at home and leave the nursery off-limits to the dog. Over time, you may allow him to sniff and explore in that room, but that is at your discretion. As the pack leader, you must be respected at all times.
Before introducing your dog to the new baby, take him for a walk. This will create a sense of calm in him and settle him down, draining his energy. The dog will notice a new scent in the house when he returns from his walk, but if you introduced it to him before with the burp cloth, it will be a familiar scent.
At all times, however, make sure your baby’s safety comes first. Leadership is the key and you must be confident that you can control your dog at all times.
Thanks to cesarsway.com for this great information. Hmmmm…I wonder how one would prepare a cat to meet a new baby. New discussion topic! On to more research….but first…I must nap!