Dog and baby introductions

A little bit of preparation during your pregnancy will go a long way to having harmony at home for dog and baby, especially if your dog has been your “baby” till now!

Start early in your pregnancy and make sure your dog obeys at least basic commands like – Sit! Stay! Down! This will be invaluable when you are home and busy with baby but can still keep your dog under control from a distance.

If certain rooms will become off limit to your dog once baby is around for example a nursery – introduce these boundaries during pregnancy so he becomes use to the idea and there are not too many strange and new rules when baby arrives home. Even consider playing a cd of babies crying and laughing so he gets used to their sounds. Invite friends over who have babies and young children already. This will help him to get used to new sounds and smells. Use baby products in the home before baby arrives to let your dog get used to the new smells.

Have an area where your dog can escape from the over stimulation of having baby around – (crying, new smells etc). Place a food and water bowl and have a blanket for him to lie on as well as his favourite toys in a place that is quiet and secluded.

Once your baby is born, but before you bring him home, bring home a blanket that your baby has been wrapped in so he can be introduced to the new smell before he even meets your new baby. Let him sniff and explore this blanket at his own pace in his own time.

When you bring your baby home let dad give your dog a run in the garden before you or baby appear so you get rid of some of his exuberant energy. When mom and baby walk into the house, drop some treats on the floor while you walk in so his first introduction to the baby is one of pleasure. Tell your dog how you want him to behave by giving him a command of sit, down etc and reward him for his good behaviour with treats and lots of praise. Try to refrain from scolding your dog around the baby so he associates the baby with good feelings and pleasure. If your dog behaves well, reward him instantly so he learns what behaviour you want around baby.

Try to keep your dogs schedule the same as normal and disruptions to a minimum. If he gets taken for a walk every day, try to keep this constant, or keep his feeding times and bedtime routine the same. There is already so much change for him to deal with.

Never leave your baby with the dog unattended – it is better to be safe than sorry.

Enjoy both your dog and baby and shower them both with love and affection and they will soon be best of friends and playmates!

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