Bringing a new baby into your home is an exciting experience. It’s also a major change, and this can sometimes cause issues when you already have a dog in your home. Luckily, there are many ways that you can prepare your dog for the new baby’s arrival. These tips can help.
Focus on Training Well Before Baby Arrives
In order to smoothly introduce a baby to your home, you should focus on training your dog long before the baby is due to arrive. Voice training your dog to respond to commands can be very helpful when your hands are full with the baby. It’s best to focus on specific commands like Sit, Stay, and Down. You may wish to introduce the command of “Go Lie Down,” in order to train your dog to go and lie in his crate or another designated area.
It’s also a great idea to play videos of baby sounds. Reward your dog when he exhibits a calm, neutral reaction to the videos. This can help prepare your dog for some of the changes that a baby may bring to the household.
Create a Safe “Dog Area”
It’s important for your dog to have a “dog area” that’s just his own. This should be a place where he feels secure and comfortable. If your dog is already using a crate, then the crate can be his dog area. If you don’t use a crate, then consider putting your dog’s bed and some toys in a specific room or corner of a room to create this dog area.
Vary Your Dog’s Schedule
Bringing a baby into the home often means significant schedule changes. Start varying your dog’s schedule now to get him used to the flexibility that will soon be in your lives. If you always take your dog for a walk at 8:00 am, consider moving the times around a bit. You can do the same with feeding and playtimes.
Focus On the Attention You Give Your Dog
Try to reduce the temptation to lavish your dog with attention before the baby arrives, since this can lead to a large letdown for your dog when the baby arrives. In order to prepare your dog, set up short play sessions during the day. Then, don’t give your dog attention for time spans later in the day to help him get used to the change in attention and routine.
Introduce the Baby’s Smells
Introducing the smells of a baby is another way to prepare your dog for the change that will take place. Let your dog smell baby items such as ointments, diapers, and shampoos. Just make sure to supervise him closely so that he doesn’t chew on or consume any of these items.
Once your baby is born, bring home a used outfit or blanket to introduce to your dog. You may place this object in the space where your dog sleeps to help him get used to and accept your baby’s scent.
Never Leave Your Dog Alone with Your Baby
Once the baby arrives, never leave your dog alone with the baby. Dogs can become agitated by the sounds and movements of a baby, and have even been known to try to move a baby by carrying it in their mouths, the way a mother dog would move a puppy. A baby’s movement and sounds mimic a dog’s prey, and some dogs have hurt babies. Even if you just have to answer the phone or get a bottle, bring your baby with you or take your dog with you. You may also want to keep particular doors closed or use a gate to keep your dog separated from your baby. Even one second is too long to leave your dog alone with your baby.
Make Introductions Controlled and Safe
When it comes time to introduce your baby to your dog, make introductions slowly and safely. Have at least two people available so that one can focus on the dog and one can focus on the baby. Reward your dog for a calm, positive introduction. Keep initial meetings short and enjoyable for your dog.
Bringing a baby into your home is a big change for everyone. By properly preparing your dog for the new arrival, you can help to reduce his stress and make sure that the change is a positive one. If you need help with training your dog to be safe around your baby, consider bringing him in for dog training at Bed & Biscuit Austin.