You have a new baby on the way! What can you do to prepare your dog for the big day?
Things to consider to prepare your dog
1. Getting the dog trained. If you are expecting a new baby then there are some commands that it’s important for your dog to know: stay, down; and no jump. These are basic commands that all dogs should know but when you have a baby in the house these commands can be critical for preventing accidents.
2. Set boundaries in the house for the dog. Your dog may currently be allowed to go in any room, to get up on furniture, or do other things without permission. When you have a baby in the house, these things can become dangerous. It’s important for you to set boundaries in the house for your dog. Start teaching your dog that he is not allowed in certain rooms or areas of the house, such as the nursery or other places where the baby will be. Use baby gates to keep your dog out of these areas.
3. Start walking your dog with an empty stroller. The stroller and some of the other equipment for the baby can seem strange to your dog. Get your dog used to these items before the baby is born. Start walking your dog with the empty stroller before the baby is born, for example.
4. Get your dog used to the smell of baby oil and other new scents. Babies mean there will be new scents in the home. You can help your dog get used to some of these scents before the baby is born. Let your dog get used to the scent of baby oil, baby powder, and other things you will be using for the baby before the baby is born. This will help your dog make the adjustment when you bring the baby home.
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5. If mom usually takes care of the dog, have dad take over the responsibilities of walking and feeding. Mom is going to be busy. Obviously, mom is going to have her hands full with the baby, so dad can start taking care of the dog. Dad can start taking care of the dog while mom is pregnant to help out. But mom should still spend some time with the dog. Don’t let the dog feel neglected or left out.
6. Do the actual introduction slowly. Once the baby arrives and you bring him home, you should introduce him to your dog slowly. You don’t need to let your dog put his face up to the baby to smell him (your dog has a great nose), but your dog will be very curious. Dog and baby can be in the same room together for an introduction. Everyone will be in love with the baby, but don’t forget or ignore your dog during this time. Allow him to feel part of the family.
7. NEVER leave the baby alone with the dog. NEVER. Many dogs love babies and children but it just takes one dog who doesn’t understand or who is jealous or frightened by a baby’s crying to cause a horrible accident. Do not ever leave a dog and baby alone together, not even for a moment.
Your dog and baby can live in harmony together but training for your dog is important, so get started before the baby gets here.
Featured Image Copyright: Positively - Victoria Stilwell