BRINGING A BABY INTO A HOME WITH A DOG
Bringing a baby into a home with a dog can be a concern. The best time to start preparing not only your home but especially your dog for an imminent new resident baby, is long before the baby arrives. We want to begin to desensitize your dog to not just the baby but all of the other changes that will come when the baby arrives.
START THE PROCESS EARLY
As you start setting your baby room up let your dog be a part of it and see what’s going on. Once the room is set up, it’s a good idea to get a baby doll; one that’s as realistic as possible and one that will make baby sounds if possible. You want to begin to act as if the baby is already here by starting to get your dog into the new routine before the baby actually arrives. We want to avoid the shock factor of one day everything is normal and the next day everything dramatically changes. Begin talking to the baby, putting the baby in the crib, even sitting in the rocking chair with the baby doll and a bottle. Sit in other ares of the house with the baby doll allowing your dog to look, maybe sniff a little while hearing soft praises from you. Get out the stroller and let your dog get used to the sight of it and then start moving it around slowly, always praising your dog if he’s acting appropriately. Put the baby doll in there and push it around. If your dog knows his basic manners start having him do down stays by your side in the baby room or next to the couch or chair you will be using. Set the high chair up and start teaching your dog that it’s not a buffet table. Basically act as if the baby is there a few months before she gets there.
ALLOW THE DOG TO BE PART OF BRINGING THE BABY HOME
When you bring the baby home allow your dog to be part of the experience. Your dog will be very curious of this new thing and will want to examine her. Let your dog get used to the scent and sound of your baby for a while and depending upon your dogs age, breed, and temperament you decide when to introduce them. If you have a very mild mannered older dog that has been around kids or babies you might make the introduction more quickly than if your dog is a 6 month old very excited retriever. Knowing your dog and how your dog reacts to new things, people, other animals, children etc. will help you know when to introduce the dog. I highly recommend hiring a professional to assess your dog if you have any question as to how your dog may react and respond. Try and spend some special time with your dog each day, as many dogs feel abandoned when a baby takes up all of everyone’s attention and can begin to start acting out.
Whether we’re talking about babies or small children; NEVER leave a dog and a baby or a child unattended. You will need to protect your dog’s space from a crawling baby or toddler which in essence will protect your child.