How to Prepare Your Dog for a New Baby
Are you going to have a baby soon? Obviously, the excitement of the experience is beyond words and you would be planning a number of things. However, one thing most mothers-to-be don’t consider is preparing their dog for the new baby. As you would know, dogs can be wary of new people in the house, and for a baby, this can be dangerous. Therefore, it is crucial that you prepare your dog for the change in the household. Here are a few tips you can follow to make the transition as smoothly as possible:
During the Pregnancy
You have to start the process from the time you get pregnant. Once you have had the baby, it will be difficult for you to take the time to train your dog accordingly. Therefore, you have to start a few months before the delivery date. The first step you have to take is evaluating your dog’s obedience skills. Your dog should be responsive towards you and adopt the behaviors that you are teaching. These include:
- Assume stances and positions you are likely to be in when you are holding a baby and give your dog the basic commands. The dog should respond even if you are not standing in front of him. Regardless of your location, you have to teach your dog to respond to your verbal cues.
- Teach your dog commands such as ‘drop it’ or ‘leave that alone’ so that your dog lets go of any baby stuff he gets his paws on.
- Practice walking your dog on a leash while you are pushing a stroller. This can be quite difficult to manage so practice is important.
- Get a doll and change its diapers in front of your dog. During this time, throw treats towards your dog. The idea is to ensure your dog doesn’t disturb you.
- Spend plenty of time with your dog so that he doesn’t crave your attention. If you spend quality time with your dog, he shouldn’t disturb you when you are spending time with your baby. Also, learn to ignore your dog when he tries to grab your attention when you are not free.
- Baby-proof your home so that your dog gets used to the new environment before the baby actually arrives.
- Ask any friends or relatives who have babies to visit your home and spend some time with their babies. This will get your dog used to watching you handle babies.
- The first step after delivery but before bringing the baby home is to send the blanket your baby was wrapped in home with your spouse. This way, the scent of your baby will be in the house and your dog will get used to it.
- Introduce your baby to the dog the moment you bring him/her home. Make sure you are alone with the dog at the time so that the dog realizes the baby is a friend and not a threat.
- Offer rewards to your dog each time he obeys your command or behaves properly when you are with the baby.
- As mentioned, spend plenty of time with your dog so that he doesn’t feel ignored.
Following these steps will allow you to prepare your dog for a new baby. That being said, regardless of how well prepared your dog is, make sure you don’t leave him alone with your baby.