Dogs are a key member of the family but with a new baby in the post the sooner you start preparing your furry friend the better. With a bit of help and training your dog will be all set for the new arrival.
Don’t leave all your planning to the last few weeks because you’re going to be busy during this time. It’s important to try and lessen the disruptions as much as possible. Our dogs are very in tune with our own emotions, so the clever little fellow has probably already noticed something is up! However, just because they have felt a change it doesn’t mean they understand what’s happening.
Here’s a few things you can do to get ready dog baby ready…..
Make a Plan for Your Dog
A bit of training will go a long way! Teaching your dog some good obedience skills will help out when the baby arrives home from the hospital. Basic commands such as sit, stay, wait, leave it or drop it will be very useful. Always use positive training techniques and never reprimand your dog around the baby.
Gradually introduce your dog to some of the new experiences and sounds they will encounter. You could even play some baby noises, so they are familiar with what to expect.
Anticipate the changes that will happen to your daily routine (we know this is difficult!) and start to make those changes now.
The Big Hello!
The day of the big introduction make sure your dog has had plenty of exercise, so they are nice and relaxed and not full of energy.
If might be best if Dad goes in to the house first while Mom waits outside until your dog has calmed down a little.
If your dog does tend to be a little anxious at times keep them on a lead when you bring the baby in just in case something happens.
Let your dog sniff the feet of your new baby first and don’t allow face to face contact right away. If the baby happens to suddenly cry or scream it can scare the dog. Make small progressions from the feet so your dog gets used to things.
At the beginning it might be best to keep the nursery off limits. Train your pup so that they understand there is area they are not allowed enter unless you give them permission and only under your supervision. Over time as the baby grows and things start to settle down you can let them explore a little more freely so they can carry out their favourite pastime……sniffing!
“I remember my dog Kia being very disinterested with the new babies that came into the house. Very small babies are usually in arms, bouncer’s or cots and therefor are not given access to the dog and vice versa.” Even so Paul says, “never leave a baby unsupervised with a dog”.
“For me the challenge came at eight months when my daughter started to crawl. Despite all the toys the most fascinating thing in the house was Kia’s wagging tail and it was her mission to repeatedly go after it. Kia was plagued with this oncoming baby and so we found it beneficial to make sure Kia had time when she was left in peace and I would encourage all dog owners to be very vigilant when babies start to crawl.” Paul McCarthy – Ark Vet Dun Laoghaire.
Dogs Alone Time
If your dog is the only pet in the house, they are probably pretty used to getting your attention when they want it with a little throw of the eyes!
When the baby comes, they will have some healthy competition. You’ll be busy with your new baby so, to try and avoid an upset pooch, get them used to spending time alone each day, perhaps in their bed with one of their favourite toys.
Loose lead walking is a dream for any dog owner, but some dogs find it a bit difficult even with training. When you’re out on one of your favourite walks with the new buggy you’ll want your dog to be nice and calm and not pulling on the lead. Get in some practice in advance of the baby coming so your dog will be the best walker around!
Up Off the Ground
If possible, try and bring home an item of clothing that your baby has worn and let your dog get used to the smell. If they react well praise them with a treat.
“It’s a good idea to bring home some of the babies’ clothes from the hospital and let your pet sniff them, just for a few minutes. This should be done before the baby arrives into the home.
I think it really helped Goose, once we did get home from the hospital, he was already familiar with the baby’s scent. Thankfully he has been excellent and has adjusted really well to our little bundle of joy!” Louise Coffey – Ark Vet Kilmacud
As your child grows, they will want to pet the dog. Teach them to be gentle and how to handle the dog properly. Small babies often try and reach and grab at the dog’s ears, fur or tail, make sure to closely supervise any interactions.
Never ever leave any dog unattended with a baby.
Vaccinations and Worming
A new baby is a big event and if you have any concerns about your dog’s behaviour after the baby has arrived, please contact us as soon as possible, so that we can give you the correct advice.