8 tips for introducing your dog to baby

8 tips for introducing your dog to baby

Expecting a little bundle of joy soon and also a dog owner? You may be a little apprehensive about introducing your pet to your new baby, as they may be confused, but don’t worry, we have some tips to help prepare your dog for baby’s arrival, making sure everything is safe and as smooth as possible.

1. Create a calm, positive atmosphere

When bringing baby home, try to make the introduction as positive as possible for your dog. Before you come home arrange for your dog to be off his leash and get rid of some energy before putting his leash on when bringing him into the room to meet baby. Even if your dog is placid of nature and you have no reason to expect a bad reaction, it is best to keep them on their leash as excitement may take over and they may start to jump up and scare baby, and a baby’s cry could frighten the dog in turn.

2. Have someone with you

Whether it’s your partner, a neighbour or friend, have a helper with you whenever you are introducing your baby to your dog. They can hold the dog on their leash, give them demands such as sit and stay and help control their actions and offer treats to the dog when you are holding baby so attention is given equally.

3. Be calm

If you are calm, your dog will sense calmness and associate calmness and gentleness with baby. If you are nervous or too apprehensive, your dog may sense your fear and see baby as the cause of it, in turn making a negative connection.

4. Read your dogs body language

If your dog is calm and is reacting well to seeing baby for the first time, ask your helper to bring them closer on their leash. Make the meeting positive and calm and introduce the baby as a friend and not as a threat to the dog.

5. Never force the introduction

If your dog seems wary or uncertain about baby, do not force them to come over and be introduced, instead, leave it for a while, and let your dog see you go about normal daily life with baby. Seeing you carrying baby and caring for them daily will soon make them learn that this is now a normal fixed daily occurrence, and will remove uncertainty.

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6. Reward your dog’s good behaviour around  baby

Whenever your dog is calm and gentle around baby, praise them for their nurturing reaction. Giving them treats when baby is around will also help them associate baby’s presence as a good thing.

7. Allow your dog to interact with baby daily

You may be tempted to keep your dog out of the way during the day when you are looking after baby, preferring to give them attention alone when baby is in bed, however, this could distance your dog from your baby and in turn make your dog curious and see baby as something that is stopping him from spending time with his owner. When you take baby for a stroll, take your dog with you, when you are feeding baby, feed you dog at their bowl. Allowing your dog to see how baby is cared for will help them understand what is going on, and will teach them to love baby and understand their day-to-day needs.

8. Set boundaries

Although including your dog as much as possible in baby’s life will help them adjust, setting boundaries with your dog is also very important. When you need room to look after your baby and need your dog to stay out of the way, establish words that he will learn that means he needs to stay put for a while until you are ready for him to interract again. Basic training will benefit your dog now, and although its best to train your dog from day one, you can still teach him rules for when baby is born.

 What to do if your dog is aggressive?

Your dog may show signs of aggressive behaviour if they have not been well socialised with other children or people, and often young children do not heed the warning signs of a dogs bark or growl, not understanding what it means. If you think your dog is displaying signs of aggressive behaviour, keep them away from your child at all times and seek the advice of a professional, such as a professional dog trainer or an animal behaviourist straight away.

maternity & infant

Originally posted 2015-07-06 15:36:23.