A Guide for Introducing Your New Baby to Your Canine Companion
Helping your dog adjust to a new member of the family can be a daunting task. Everyone loves their pet like family- why else would we call them fur babies? Introducing a baby to the mix is a big deal. Although there are many factors to consider before bringing home a newborn, there are many ways to help make the change easier for everyone.
Try setting boundaries on the dog’s behavior. It is ideal to start working with your pet for a few weeks or even months before bringing home your child. The nursery is a great place to start. Make the nursery off-limits to the dog. This creates a space where the baby will be able to sleep peacefully, and the dog will understand that it is not another room to play in. This is also a great opportunity to teach your pup a new command- “out”. If the dog is taught to leave in a positive way, just like any other command they have learned getting space between them and the baby will be easy. Teaching an “out” or “away” command will reduce the chance that someone will have to yell at the dog when it’s time to have space between them and the baby. This command is also helpful when helping your dog adjust to having less attention. Gradually spending less time with the dog will help avoid shock when more of your time must be devoted to children. Of course, that doesn’t mean your dog should be spending all of their time alone, maybe invest in some sitting services to help compensate for the lack of attention they’ll be getting.
New people aren’t the only things your dog will need help getting used to. New equipment like car seats and strollers will be totally unfamiliar, possibly frightening, to your furry friend. If possible, try slowly introducing your dog to these contraptions slowly. If a baby swing will sit in the living room, put it there a few weeks in advance and turn it on occasionally. Bring the stroller along on walks. Helping your dog adjust to the new items before there is precious cargo inside is important.
Before bringing the baby home, it is a great idea to have someone bring home one of the baby’s outfits or toys to introduce the new scent. Leashing your pet for their first visit is also recommended. Should the dog get over excited, a leash serves as a reminder of limitations and a physical barrier between the dog and the baby. If needed, you might even have to have your dog spend some time away from home when the baby is most vulnerable. Bringing in someone to help regardless will have to come into play, as you might need to consider this when you’re at the hospital when you’ll need have someone help you walk and sit your dog. But hopefully, with enough preparation and care, your pooch will be as happy about the baby as you are.