Preparing for a new baby is undoubtedly an exciting time. But it’s also a time that we can take a dog’s good behavior for granted. While we’re occupied with preparing the nursery room, planning a baby shower, or attending birthing classes, we can easily forget to address the role of the family pet. Here are a few new baby and dog precautions to take in order to make your dog a part of the excitement, yet minimize troubles that could occur after the baby is born.
1.Get a check up
This check-up isn’t for you, it’s for your dog! You’ll want to make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date and then set up an appointment to have it spayed or neutered (if it isn’t already). Vaccinations will reduce the spread of disease, and spaying or neutering will reduce aggressive behavior. In most cases, dogs are more curious towards newborns than aggressive, but you have to remember that sudden environmental changes can make even the most passive dog a little defensive.
2.Emphasize additional training
After you bring your new baby home, your dog must obey you when you command it to sit and stay since it will want to jump up and see what it is that you’re holding. It may even want to welcome your baby with a few friendly licks. That kind of behavior isn’t quite appropriate for a newborn, so you’ll need to enforce a “no touch” and “no kiss” policy when it comes to your dog’s interest in the baby.
3.Acclimate your dog to babies beforehand
A dog that’s already familiar with the newborn smell and sound won’t be as excited as a dog that hasn’t already encountered a baby. Take your dog to parks and let it absorb the behavior, sounds and smells of small children. With the permission of a parent, let a small child pet the dog. At home, introduce the smells of baby lotion and powders by using them on your own body. You can even carry around a doll for a while so your dog will get used to you toting a new bundle of life.
4.Plan time for the dog
When you bring your newborn home, you won’t be able to help the amount of time you spend with the baby. This could spur feelings of jealousy and misbehavior from your pet. Do your best to spend quality time with your dog when you aren’t caring for the child. If you feel overwhelmed, ask someone else to care for the baby while you assure your dog that it’s as important as ever. (You’re going to need several breaks from being a new parent anyway!)
5.Introduce the baby to the dog cautiously
Again, you want to acclimate your dog to the newborn smell before it encounters the real deal. A great way to do that is to let your dog smell the newborn’s blanket and then enforce appropriate behavior around that blanket. If your dog starts barking, running, or jumping after smelling the blanket for example, correct it with positive discipline. After a few practices, the dog will associate the newborn smell with accepted behavior, and act accordingly near the newborn.
6.Don’t abandon the dog
Although we don’t recommend that you let the dog lick the baby, we don’t recommend that you never let it see the child either. It’s OK to let your dog see the baby, sit next to the baby, and smell the baby. Your dog will often peek at you during this type of interaction as if it were trying to validate its behavior. Go ahead and acknowledge its efforts at being gentle with a reward of some sort.
7.ever leave the dog alone with the newborn
Despite all your efforts at creating a peaceful environment, you mustn’t open an opportunity for mishaps. The situation is just too new and it will remain so until the baby learns appropriate behavior around dogs. So gate off areas that your dog shouldn’t enter (nursery, etc.), and keep baby and dog accessories separate from each other. A baby’s smell on dog toys may give your pet the impression that aggression is okay around newborns.