When you have a dog in the family for some time, you have already formed a mutual bond with it. So, when you are expecting the arrival of a new baby, you obviously want the dog to get along with the baby. You might have seen countless super cute videos of dogs and babies playing together, but a little nervousness around whether or not the dog will accept the presence of a new baby is natural. The dog has probably gotten used to being babied by the family for so long that you are worried about how it might react to the family suddenly focusing on someone else.
Here are a few tips to help you prepare your dog for the arrival of a new human in the family.
Before the arrival of the baby
- Establish your authority.
- Carefully assess your dog’s behavior. If it displays aggression, then it’s all the more necessary to let the dog know who is the boss around the house. Establish boundaries. Let the dog know that certain spaces around the house belong to you and it is up to you to decide when the dog is allowed to enter those spaces.
- Bring items with baby smells, like a blanket with baby lotion on it, and let the dog sniff it. Train the dog to move back when you ask it to. This way, when the baby comes, the dog would know that the baby in your arm is yours and it is allowed to look at it, or sniff it, only by your express permission.
- Get your pet’s health checkup done. It is a good idea to ensure that the dog is not suffering from any unknown medical condition.
- Remember that you might not be able to spend as much time with the dog when the baby comes. Prepare the dog for this by cutting down on the time you spend with it. Consider hiring a dog walker or even daycare.
- Introduce baby smells. You could put on baby lotion or baby powder on you so that the dog is somewhat familiar with these smells when the baby arrives. It is still going to notice the baby’s distinct smell, but knowing the other smells will quell its anxiety to some extent.
- Let the dog get used to seeing small children. Take him to the park where children play, or have small kids over.
When the baby is home
- On the day that the baby is due to arrive home, make sure your dog is tired after a rigorous play session. Hire someone or ask someone close to help you tire out the dog before you arrive with the baby.
- When the dog is exhausted and in a submissive state, let it enter.
- Make sure you hold the baby and are in a calm state. Let the dog sniff at the baby, but make sure it backs off when you ask it to.
- Take things slow. Keep interactions short.
- Make sure you always know where in the house the dog is. You do not want the dog paying surprise visits to the baby behind your back.
If all goes well, soon the dog will come to respect and care for the baby and the next cute video (like the one below) could be of your pet and your baby!