Preparing Your Dog for the New Baby
Dogs that normally have free run of your house will need re-educating before your newborn comes home. Changing your dogs bad habits before your baby arrives will avoid any hassles. Ensure you allow yourself a few months to prepare your dog for your baby’s arrival.
Preparing a dog for the arrival of a newborn into the family is done with the same care and attention that a parent gives to help children understand that a new sibling will be joining the family. Bringing a newborn into the home will be a major change for your dog and can result in the dog becoming quite stressed if he is not well prepared.
There are a number of ways to prepare your dog. Most importantly deal with any training or behavior problems. You will not have time to do this once your new baby comes home and you want to ensure the safety of your child. Train your dog to obey commands such as sit, come and stay and address any issues of fear or anxiety that your dog exhibits. Train your dog to sit calmly on the floor beside you until you invite him onto your lap.
Gradually introduce the sounds and smells of a baby into your home. You can do this by playing recordings of a baby crying or gurgling. You could also put some baby powder or oil on your hands to accustom your dog to the new smells. Do this gradually and regularly in the months preceding your newborn’s arrival. Use a baby doll to help your dog get use to the real thing, carry it around, take it for a walk in a pram with your dog, pretend to change it and bath it.
If possible borrow a baby or invite friends over with infants to accustom your dog to the real sounds and smells of a baby. Make all these experiences positive ones for your dog by offering a treat or playtime.
Prepare the baby’s room and furniture before the baby comes home and discourage your dog from jumping on the furniture. A barrier gate to the baby’s room or screen door is a good idea to enable your dog to see what is happening in the room but not feel isolated from the family.
Once the baby is born and before you bring the baby home, take home a blanket or clothing that the baby has been in for your dog to investigate. Try to speak positively to your dog when the baby is around, and avoid negative tones. This is to ensure that your dog connects happy feelings while being in the presence of the baby. Always supervise any interactions between the new baby and your dog.
Find out more about how to train your dog for the arrival of your baby here.