For most families, dogs are not just pets. They’re fur babies that are loved and adored. So it’s not surprising that the addition of a new baby to a household can be very confusing for a dog. Suddenly, the pup is no longer the center of his family’s universe, and there’s a new noisy creature in his home. To help your dog welcome the new addition into your home, you’ll want to take the following steps.
Back to basics
A rambunctious and/or disobedient dog can pose a danger to your baby. Start now by reinforcing any training your dog may have had in the past or hire a trainer to teach your dog basic obedience.
Before the baby arrives
As you bring new items into the house for your baby — such as car seats and cribs — make sure to show them to your dog. It’s also a good idea to practice wheeling a stroller while walking your dog, so she can get used to being around it.
Some owners also like to play recordings of baby noises, such as crying or cooing, so the family pet can become familiar with these strange, new sounds that will soon be in the home.
How to introduce your dog to your baby
Before you bring the newborn baby into the house, you should:
Have a family member or friend bring an item that the baby has worn home for your dog to sniff.
Ask someone to take your dog on a long walk, so he will be tired and in a calm mood when you bring the baby into the house.
Have the dog on a leash, so if she gets overexcited or upset, she can be brought under control quickly.
Some experts suggest that the mom allow someone else to carry the baby into the house so that she can greet the dog first. Once this initial greeting is over, the mom can sit down with the baby and have someone bring the dog over to her for an introduction.
Every dog reacts differently to the arrival of a newborn. Some will get excited and want to sniff and lick the baby. Other dogs may be afraid or even growl at the baby. If your dog does not appear comfortable around the newborn, do not force the issue. Instead, give your pooch some time to adjust to the idea of having a baby in the house before trying another introduction.
Baby on board
Your dog and baby will probably end up being best friends. So you’ll want to make sure your canine lives as long as possible. That means feeding him well, making sure he gets enough exercise and having pet insurance for medical issues as he ages.
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.