Bringing a new baby into the world changes yours completely. What a lot of dog owners forget is that it also completely changes the pack dynamic of your household.
This can lead to tension and boundary issues if not great problems with your dog if it is not tackled up front.
Preparing Your Dog Ready For Your Baby’s Arrival
Sad to say, but dogs can become jealous of any new arrival, so it is vital to let them know something is about to happen. Here’s a few tips on how to do prepare to introduce your baby to your dog.
1. Seek Specialist Help: Behavioural specialists know how dogs tick, so they can meet your dog and offer expert advice on what to do next.
2. Establish New Boundaries: This means creating no-go zones like the nursery and other areas you want your baby to be but not your dog. Ensure your dog knows they cannot enter without permission.
3. Get Them Used to Your Baby’s Smell: The best way to achieve this is to bring home a burp cloth or other baby item and make the dog come to you to smell it – establish your control over this.
4. Reinforce the Rules: This is a good time to make sure your dog is submissive and behaving well. Practice and correct any small misdemeanours, establish firm leaderships, and rewarding only submissive behaviour.
5. Create a New Schedule: This incorporates new times for walks and other activities which take into account your baby’s routine even before the baby has arrived. This is something you can begin to do long before birth, so when the baby does arrive it slots into what your dog thinks is the schedule and they are not put out of place.
6. Socialise Your Dog: If it is possible to do controlled introductions of your dog to other babies and children, under strict supervision of course, do it.
Quickly, it is worth noting that whenever you are working with a dog for training or preparing for a new baby, it is vital to establish your leadership and ownership of any situation.
7. The First Introduction: Taking control of this situation means a well-timed operation designed to maximise the ability of your dog or dogs to accept the new addition to the pack. Here’s the recommended steps.
1. Tire your dog out with a long walk.
2. Meanwhile, others bring the baby into the home.
3. Pause at the door and ensure your dog is calm and submissive.
4. Also ensure whoever holds the baby is also calm and relaxed.
5. Keep the dog at a respectful distance – let them sniff, but not too close.
6. Slowly let them get closer over time – establish the baby as a pack leader.
8. Keeping it Safe: First and foremost comes the safety of your child. A well-trained dog may be very trustworthy and may respect boundaries, but it is also a good idea to ensure they cannot access the crib; both by making sure it’s safe and having a barrier in the doorway.
The child’s safety is paramount, so if your dog is not reacting well to your baby and shows no signs of improvement, or is aggressive in any way, it is sadly time to find a new home for your dog no matter how beloved he or she may be.