Introducing Your Dog and New Baby
Dogs are wonderful companions. They bring so much light and love into your home. But if you’re expecting a new human member of your family, you might be a bit concerned about how your four-legged family member will react. That’s understandable. While bringing home a baby might be very exciting for you, for your dog, it might be a bit scary.
From a canine’s point of view, a baby looks like his human best friend; however, it acts, moves, smells, and makes sounds that are much different than anything he has experienced with you, your spouse, and other adults or even older children in your family. To add to the confusion, this strange little being is also taking up all of your time and energy. While you might try your best to offer your pooch the much-needed attention that he needs, desires, and deserves, the fact of the matter is that things are going to change A LOT once you bring home a baby. Babies can change the entire dynamic between a dog and his pet parents.
With all of that said, it’s pretty easy to see why canines can get a bit jealous and even aggressive toward newborns. After all, he’s no longer the center of your attention; the baby is. But, with proper planning, you can ensure that the transition will be a smooth one for your pet. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you are introducing the furriest member of your family to the tiniest member of your pack.
ESTABLISH YOUR DOMINANCE
While you might not like the sound of it, humans are supposed to be – and should be – the dominant members of the family. That doesn’t mean that you should treat your pooch harshly; however, it does mean that you should take the time to establish who is in charge. Doing so now, before the baby arrives, will help to make the transition a lot easier for everyone involved.
Work on teaching your dog vital commands, like sit, stay, heel, no, and lay down. If you’re struggling, you might want to consider enrolling in obedience classes. You have roughly 9 months, which is plenty of time to work out any behavioral issues that your dog may be having and to assert your dominance.
You certainly want your baby and your pup to develop a strong bond; however, you also want to ensure that you set boundaries. For example, your pet needs to know that it’s not OK to jump up on the baby or anyone who is holding him or her and that he needs to exercise care whenever he’s near the baby.
Work on setting limits well in advance of your newborn’s arrival. For example, it’s a wise idea to make the baby’s room a no-access area for your dog. Once your pooch understands that he shouldn’t be entering the space without your permission, you can allow him to enter, but only when you are in the room. Furthermore, he should only be allowed to go near certain areas (near the crib is off-limits, for instance), and teach him that he has to leave when you tell him to.
BE SMART WITH THE INTRODUCTION
Once the baby arrives, before you introduce her to your pup, introduce her scent to the pup. Present an article of the baby’s clothing, such as a onesie or a cap, and let your pooch sniff it. Doing so will allow your dog to familiarize himself with the new smell.
Once you’re ready to bring the baby into the situation, lay an article of your clothing across her. Your furry friend will associate the new scent with your scent, which will help him make the connection between the baby, you, and him.
By following these tips, you can ensure that the introduction between your newborn and your dog will go as smoothly as possible.