Bringing home your new baby introduces many changes to your household. If you’ll soon be bringing home your first child and you’re wondering how the dog will react, good.
Now is the time to get your pup used to the idea that changes are brewing. Just like people, your dog has a routine, familiarity, and comfort level within your home. Helping to prepare your dog for the upcoming changes will facilitate a smooth transition.
Here are some steps to get the pup ready for a new little brother or sister:
Neuter or spay your pet. According to the Humane Society of the United States, pets that are “fixed” are calmer and less likely to bite.
Sign-up for an obedience class. Enrolling in a training program with your dog will teach you to better control your pup’s behavior and it will help remind Fido that you are the boss.
Accustom your pet to being around babies. Babies smell, look, and sound different than adults. Increasing your dog’s exposure to babies will increase his familiarity with the small, strange beings. Take a trip to the park or bring your pup to family gatherings with young children.
Set limits. If your baby’s room is going to be a no-go-zone, make sure your dog knows this before the baby arrives. Placing a gate at your baby’s door will keep your dog out of the room.
Desensitize your dog. Babies can handle dogs roughly. Even young babies can accidentally pull long fur. Your baby may stick her fingers in your dog’s ears and pull his tail. Nikole Gipps, an animal behaviorist, suggested in a BabyCenter column that dog owners get them used to rough handling by gently touching them in the ears and mouth, on the tail and on the top and bottom of their paws where babies are likely to touch them.
Bring something home with your baby’s scent. Before you bring your baby home, have someone bring a blanket, hat, or other garment with your baby’s scent on it home so that your dog can investigate it and become familiar with it.
Play recordings of babies crying and talking to help your dog become familiar with baby noises.
When you bring your baby home, take a moment to greet your pet so he feels included and doesn’t act out for your attention.
Never leave your dog alone with your baby. Dog and baby should be supervised constantly when they’re together.