There are so many articles written about how to bring home your new pet. How to dog proof your home is of huge concern if you’ve never had a dog at home before. Expanding your family by bringing a dog home is also a concern but is a great cause for joy.
But what about when you bring home a new baby? Many have wondered about how to introduce a dog to a baby, and rightly so. It may a new experience for many, especially if it is your first dog or your first child.
In this article, we discuss how to introduce your dog to a baby and steps you can take to make sure it goes well.
How to Introduce a Dog to a Baby: First Steps
Usually when you adopt a new dog, the breeder or adoption
center wants to meet everyone who lives in your home. They may also ask to be introduced to any other pets that are in the home. What they are doing is ensuring that all people can be trusted to ensure the well-being of the dog.
The reality is that you’ll never truly know how your dog can react in a certain situation. Your best option is to train your dog before introducing them to an unfamiliar situation so you can at least fall back on their training. If you’re expecting, or even beforehand, a basic obedience class might be order. This will help you and your dog gain a better understanding of each other and how you two will work as a team.
It might not be nice to think about, but you also must start giving your dog less attention. For about two or three weeks leading up to when your child is born, try to lessen the amount of time you spend playing with your dog. Many people have the tendency to give a lot of attention to their dogs before the big day because they know they’ll have less time for the dog when a child comes. Resist this urge, and your dog will thank you in the long run.
The last step to take before your new baby comes is to give your dog a “go to place.” By this, we mean to give your dog a place that is theirs, that they feel comfortable in. It can be a blanket for them, a crate or a bed. It’s just got to be their spot. It’s just got to be a spot that your dog knows is theirs and that they feel comfortable in. It will be their safe space and a place you can count on when the baby comes. You can train them to go there using positive reinforcement with treats.
Steps to Take After Baby Is Born
Once your baby is born, there are still a few things you can do to prepare your pooch for the new arrival. One thing is to let them sniff away at anything that is baby related. If you have baby lotions, powders or ointments, let your dog get a snout full of it. This will help acclimate your dog to the new smell that will be all around your home.
- If possible, try to bring a baby blanket home ahead of your child. A blanket with your child’s scent will help your dog get used to them before they even show up at home.
- Once your new child does come home, your first step is to greet your dog by yourself. You want your dog to be able to get its excitement out with you without the risk of jumping on your new child. In fact, you’ll most likely want your dog to avoid meeting your child for a few days. This will allow your dog to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of a new person in the home.
- When you are comfortable with your dog meeting your child, you can introduce them, but it is suggested that you do so with your dog on a leash. Let them sniff your baby and give them praise while doing so. Always try to frame your dog’s relationship with your baby in a positive way. Keeping things calm can go a long way in making sure your dog behaves how you want them to.
- This will go a long way as well when you let the dog off lease to engage with your child. Just make sure your baby is always with an adult and that they are elevated. A baby’s sudden movements or sounds can make a dog think the child wants to play. While you don’t want to discourage curiosity, you want to be sure there is an adult to maintain order if need be.
Building on a Dog and Baby Relationship
Dogs grow so much between birth and the age of one, and the same can be said about children. Watching your little one grows up is such an endearing experience, but it can be a confusing time for your dog. You’ll want to make sure your dog is always supervised around your child.
You must especially watch your child as they become mobile and start grabbing at things. A dog’s tail or ear is an enticing thing to pull, so you’ll want to be sure you don’t let your baby grab at your dog. Otherwise, a dog’s communicative growl can become a real bite. Every dog has a limit that needs to be respected, and even the best dogs get fed up.
When your dog does reach its limit, remember that they have their safe space and tell them to go there. Also always remember to give your dog reinforcement when they listen to your commands. You should also be sure your child gives your dog space when it seems like they need to.
With these tips, you should know how to introduce a dog to a baby. It’s really a joyous occasion that should stay that way.