Babies vs. Dogs
A lot of expectant mothers are asking, what’s the proper way of introducing your newborn child to your dog? Of course, we want to make sure that they become friends and your child learn how to love a dog.
Our dogs are very observant with us, so with an event as enormous as a pregnancy, your dog has already sensed that something is up. But just because she has noticed some new feelings hanging in the air, doesn’t mean that she understands what they mean.
Here are a few tips for preparing your dog for the new arrival.
Focus on leadership.
Nine months is more than enough time for you and your pet to figure out most issues and smooth out any unwanted habits, and for you to build yourself as the unwavering pack leader. If necessary, hire a professional to work with you. You will appreciate the work you put in now when you bring your newborn home to a calm, well-behaved dog.
Be aware of your energy.
A pregnancy has an impact on the entire household. You may feel thrilled, nervous, or concerned. Remember, your dog will mirror your emotions.
Claim your baby’s scent.
Bring any item that contains your baby’s scent, such as a burp cloth, from the hospital before bringing your baby home. During this exercise, it is crucial that you set clear boundaries. Test the dog to sniff from a distance, while you are holding the item. By doing this, you are communicating to your dog that the item is yours and then giving permission for the dog to sniff. “This new item belongs to me, and you will need to follow my rules when around it.” This helps start the process of creating respect for the baby.
Establish boundaries around the nursery.
I recommend starting with the nursery off-limits. Condition your dog to recognize that there is an invisible barrier that she may not cross without your consent. Eventually, you can allow your dog to explore and sniff certain things in the room with your supervision. Then you can decide when she needs to leave. Repeat this activity a few times before the baby arrives. This will let your dog know that this room belongs to its pack leader and must be respected at all times.
Control the introduction.
Start by taking your dog on a long walk. Be sure to consume all of your dog’s energy. Before returning, wait at the door step; make sure your dog is in a calm-submissive state before inviting her in. Upon entering, your dog will immediately know there is a new scent in the house. If you have already introduced the scent, it will be somewhat familiar. The mother or father holding the baby must be in a completely calm state. The dog should be permitted to sniff the baby, but at in a respectful distance. During this first meeting, do not bring the baby too close to your dog. Eventually, the dog can be allowed to get closer and closer to the baby. By doing this, you are teaching the dog to respect the baby as another pack leader.
Teach your baby.
Once your child is in the exploratory state, it is important to manage all interactions between him or her and the dog. This is a big chance to teach your child not to bother the dog, yank her tail, etc. These lessons on mutual respect cannot begin early enough. Too many children have unintentionally aggravated an otherwise peaceful dog, simply because they were unsupervised or their parents had not given them proper instruction.
Don’t forget the dog.
A dog does not need toys or special attention to feel important; you simply need to continue the routine, providing daily walks and consistent leadership. This will help your dog feel safe and allow her to loosen up about the new addition to the family.
Your child’s safety comes first. If, after working with a professional and on your own, you are still not 100% certain about the safety of your baby with your dog, then finding a new home for your dog to protect the well-being of your child and pet is a step you may have to take.
Babies vs. dogs? It’s not a competition. Soon enough your baby will learn how to treat your dogs properly while your dogs will also learn to respect the newest addition to the pack leader.
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