Your dog knows something is cooking right from the very start of your pregnancy! You may have already noticed that your dog is very aware of the changes occurring in your mood and chemical balance! No worries though, this will be an easy task to accomplish with a little patience from your side as a pack leader!
When it comes to bringing a new baby to life, the family as a whole must shift gears and make changes, here and there! Understandably, also the individuals alone must undergo through personal changes and improvement! Also, further house re-arrangements and adjustments may be required!
Therefore, the great thing to do is to start quite early on with preparations so that the changes settle in one at a time, at their best pace!
Keep in mind: your dog will only mirror your emotions and feelings. So, let them understand gradually about the new beginnings.
Preparing your dog for the baby
First off, reduce the amount of time and attention you give to your dog systematically! Start slow so that it does not come out as a huge, drastic change to the dog. You do not want to mess your dog up! They are still the ’first baby’ in the house and they are used to being the center of all attention! So make it gradual!
Teach him important skills
Teaching your dog on basic obedience skills will get you a long way when the baby comes! If you feel like you do not completely own these commands, make sure to put an effort on:
- ‘Sit’ and ‘down’ commands
- ‘Stay’, ‘wait’ at doors and ’settle’ commands
- ‘Leave it’ and ‘drop it’ commands
- Polite greetings
- Relaxing on the crate
- The ‘come’ command (when called upon)
Special but useful skills:
- Hand targeting
- Please, go away
- Playing fetch
Other important limitations for your dog to respect:
- Provide boundaries around the nursery
- Get your dog used at being around other babies and children
- Get your dog accustomed to baby’s cry and sounds
- Claim your baby’s areas
- Reinforce rules, boundaries, and limitations in your house
- Make it a priority to get your dog’s energy drained before starting with other daily chores
- Seek professional help for any serious behavior problems
It is important to do these so that your dog does not develop any anxieties or link his anxieties with the new baby’s arrival! Make it a positive sibling relationship instead, not a jealous or envious one!
Another very important thing to do is to keep the daily routine walk and leadership consistent, when it comes to your relationship with your dog!
We will take you through some additional chronological steps, down below:
Before the baby arrives
Nine months is a great time period to prepare every detail about your new life! You can work on any issue or habits and become the pack leader you always had in mind! Additionally, it is never wrong to get a professional dog trainer to help you in getting there!
Do not forget to do a thorough health check for your pet. Make sure there are no infections or other health problems present before bringing your baby home!
A few months before the baby arrives
Beware of your energy during these times! As your body is experiencing changes, so will your energy show! Keep this in mind and check out your emotions, whether that be anxiety, excitement, or worry! Your dog will project and mirror your energy!
Allow your dog to smell items that will belong to your baby such as powders and other similar belongings. You will have to show these things to your dog from a distance at first and then gradually allowing them to sniff. In this way, you make sure that your dog understands these items belong to you and your dog must follow the rules you set when around them!
- Around 4 months prior to baby’s arrival, introduce your loving dog to the new experiences, like sights, sounds and smells that they will encounter as soon as the baby is home
- Constantly remind yourself to reward your dog, so that they associate the experience with positivity and love
- Around 2 months before the baby arrives, introduce to your dog to the changes (that will have to come with your baby’s arrival) in his daily routine and start applying these changes from now
- Practice with a doll
Control the introduction
On the day of the introduction, it is important to take your dog out for a long walk and exercises in order for them to release a good amount of energy. Make sure to drain them out!
Before entering the house, check whether your dog is in a calm-submissive state.
Enter the house. At this point your dog will automatically know that there is something different in the house because of the new smell. Although by now, this new smell is somewhat familiar for your dog.
At first, allow your dog to sniff the baby, but from a decent, respectful distance.
The mother or the father, depending on who is holding the baby, should also be in a very calm emotional state.
Do not bring the baby close to the dog, or somewhat up the dog’s head! Allow the dog to slowly come closer to the baby! In this way the dog will respect the baby as just another pack leader!
When baby arrives
- Your dog may also be nervous around the baby so start making it easy on both
- Teach your dog to move away when you ask for it, like when you need to handle the baby
When the baby is now a toddler
After a while, your baby will start to explore and communicate! At this point, you should also start teaching your baby to respect the dog, although it will be quite hard to do so! Therefore, you should always supervise their interactions!
The most important lessons for your baby are to respect the dog’s space when he’s having food or toys around at a close proximity! Teach your child to not bother the dog by pulling their ears or tails!
Many times bad interactions between babies and dogs have occurred because the baby would somehow provoke the dog!
The worst thing to do is to let their interactions unsupervised! When an adult is present, everything goes smoother – at least until the baby is old enough to truly understand the lessons you try to teach them! Afterwards, with proper instructions, everything will be just fine!
- If the dog is scared, aggressive, or overexcited – always take the time to bring back to a calm-submissive state of mind!
A good dog and baby relationship has nothing to do with the dog’s breed! The most relying factor is in the great supervision the adults provide as well as the adult’s strength to remain the pack leader at all circumstances!
Otherwise, problems may arise. Even professional trainers will not be able to fix this, if you, as an adult do not place all your energy and focus on achieving and maintaining great leadership skills!
Do not neglect or ignore your dog so much as to not spend quality time together! They need you, too! They used to be your first baby in the house!