So, you have a dog and are expecting a new baby…
Congratulations, whether this child is to be your first or your third – there is no doubt your baby will be welcomed with open arms.
However, there may be one member of the family who has an objection…your dog.
We all love our furry friends and in most cases believe, they are not cable of harm. However, it is not safe to assume your dog will be respectful of your child as even the most resilient of family dogs have the potential to feel threatened by a new addition to their home.
The good news is…
with a bit of preparation, your dog will know just how to act around your young baby allowing you to prevent any problems before they occur.
Below is our Head Trainer, Daniel’s top tips to condition your dog for a baby to join the family.
1. Adopt new habits as soon as possible
Dogs are creatures of habit. Any change no matter how small can affect their attitude and behaviour. There will, of course, be plentiful changes to your home environment once you bring a baby home so changes to your dog’s structure must occur prior. A good place to start is by placing newborn items around the home.
2. Include the Dog in the preparation
Let your dog be part of the process. For example, If you are setting up a cot, get the dog involved, treat it like a training session and reward your dog for calm behaviour in the presence of the cot.
3. Habituate your Dog to the pram.
What was once a daily walk between you and your dog is soon likely to include a youngster and large pram. To ensure your dog is not overwhelmed by this large object start to bring it with you on walks before the baby arrives. It is also important to never tie your dog to your pram as this presents a danger for both the infant and dog.
5. Ensure Basic commands are mastered
Your dog’s ability to obey, sit, drop and place (go to your mat) will be a lifesaver once you have your newborn home. If your dog does not yet have an understanding of these commands, you will need to go back to basics.
7. Sleeping arrangements
There is no right or wrong when it comes to your dog’s sleeping arrangements pre-baby. However, post welcoming your newborn home, it is likely at some point your baby will most likely be on or in your bed with you. If your dog still considers your bed their sleeping place, this seemingly innocent act can cause a problem. Ensure your dog does not consider your bed theirs if you plan on to allowing your child to rest there.
And, once the baby arrives…
Supervision of your dog in the presence of your baby is vital. In the event that you cannot supervise your dog, you will need to be able to easily separate them. I strongly recommend crate training. Baby gates are also a very good management tool to a section of no go areas to your dog such as the baby’s bedroom.
Please note this is only a brief list of things that will help you prepare your dog for the arrival of your newborn child. Each dog will have its own set of needs and individualised training is strongly encouraged.