For most couples, their dog has been a part of the family for a few years before it is time to introduce a baby into the mix. Bringing a newborn baby home is a terrifyingly exciting experience on its own.
Add the anxiety that comes with wondering if your pup will accept this new pack member, and you have a recipe for worry.
The good news is that there are several things that new parents can do to help make this transition go smoothly for both their dog and their baby. Keep on reading below, if so you can introduce your pup to your newborn in a safe environment.
One of the most practical steps a dog owner can take before introducing him to a newborn is to invest in obedience training. Whether you choose to take your dog to an obedience class or to train him at home, the ability to give simple commands will be helpful when a baby is introduced to the family.
If you choose to train at home, consider dog treats to aid in rewarding your pup for a job well done. Avoid anything with onions as onions are one of the most dangerous human foods for dogs according to this piece from Spot and Tango.
In addition to commands such as “sit” and “stay,” you may find commands like “leave it” to be helpful. If your dog tries to play with a baby toy, then the “leave it” command could come in handy for redirecting that energy.
You might also find that your dog needs to understand some new boundaries with a new baby in the home. Obedience training can help transition your dog into the new rules and expectations that you have for him.
Babies come with a lot of new furniture, smells, sounds, and rules. All of these new things can lead to sensory overload for your dog. Introduce your dog to some of the things that he may regularly see or hear before your baby is born. For example, showing your dog the baby carrier before installing it in the car could reduce anxiety when the baby is actually riding in the carrier.
Have a Plan
It is a good idea to think about how you plan to introduce your dog to your newborn before the day arrives. Decide if you or your partner will be the one carrying the baby. Create a plan for conducting the slow introduction. Most importantly, do not force your dog to investigate your baby. It might take your dog a little while to get used to the idea, and pushing the issue will only increase anxiety in your pet.
Spend Time Together
Never forget to give your dog plenty of quality time and attention. It is still vital for your dog to get regular exercise. Whether you choose to bring the baby in a stroller or hire a babysitter, taking the time to make sure your dog’s routine is followed will benefit the transition in a number of ways.
Spending time with your dog doing routine things decreases the possibility of attention-seeking behavior. When your dog knows that he is still a valued member of the family, then he is much more likely to bond with the new baby.
Be sure to provide your dog with a high-quality diet to reduce negative behaviors as well. Find customized nutrition plans for your dog here.
Bringing a new member of the family home is going come with a certain level of uncertainty. However, by remaining proactive, you are paving the way for positive interactions with your dog and your new baby.
Before you know it, they will be partners in crime, and all of this uncertainty will be a distant memory.