Oh, Baby! Introducing Your Dog to a Newborn
For many couples, a dog may be their first child, but when it’s time to introduce a human baby into the equation, there can be concerns about how your dog will react. Don’t worry, you are not alone in this! It’s natural to have concerns when you arrive home with a newborn.
There are many things you can do to ease this transition. Let’s discuss tips on how to acquaint your furbaby with your new (significantly less furry) human baby.
Prepare Your Dog Without a proper introduction, your dog may become anxious around a new baby. You need to prepare your pet for these changes.
Before your baby’s triumphant arrival, consider playing a recording of a baby's crying and similar sounds around the house in an effort to help your dog get used to the new noises they will soon be hearing.
Place items such as baby lotion or baby powder in different places around the house so your dog can familiarize itself with some of the scents equated with newborns.
Train your dog to obey commands such as: "stay," "sit" and "down." You can also teach your dog to go to their favorite bed or train them to enter their crate upon command.
Similarly, train your dog not to jump on anyone while greeting. This is to prevent your dog from jumping on you when you are holding your baby. If you don't have time to train your dog, consider taking them to obedience classes.
The Big Introduction
When first bringing your baby home, a parent should enter the house and give the dog a lot of attention and love before bringing the baby through the door.
You can use a baby gate or place your dog in a cage so that your pet can feel the presence of the baby but cannot get close.
Start introducing them gradually and keep your dog on a leash and pet them frequently. As your dog gets used to your baby, start increasing the time they’re together, and then transition to off-leash time.
If your dog is not ready, do not force the meeting. Keep in mind that the introduction should be slow and peaceful. If you can train and help your dog, they will do better with the newborn.
Give your dog a safe space away from the action. Consider placing your dog in a room with a bed or comfortable pads — a special spot where the baby's voice cannot be heard.
Most importantly, don’t grow frustrated! It may take longer for your dog, but they should eventually adjust to the new baby.
Try to Avoid Jealousy Since you've given your dog your full attention previously, they may be feeling a bit jealous when suddenly they have to share.
Common signs that your dog is jealous of your newborn include: hissing, barking or showing their teeth to the baby.
The important thing is not to neglect your dog once your baby comes home. Make sure to continue with the previous routine as often as possible, including taking your dog for exercise, walks, playing and car rides.
Teach Your Child to Respect Your Dog
As your child grows, teach them to be good with dogs and to respect the dog's safe zone, body and its belongings.
When your child is learning to walk, teach them to communicate gently and supervise their interactions. If you play the role of anchor between your child and your dog, it will benefit everyone in the house.
Teach your child how to pet gently. Tell your child about your dog's favorite place to be scratched. Be sure to explain to your child that kicking, hitting, pinching, teasing, riding or scaring your dog is not OK. Structured games, such as fetch, hide-and-seek or tug-of-war, are fun for both your child and your pet!
Lastly, it’s important to train your dog to be comfortable around other children. If your dog is comfortable around your child but feels nervous around other children, seek help from professionals.
Keep Your House and Lawn Clean of Dog Waste
Babies and small children have very low immunity and can get diseases very easily from dog waste, so it’s necessary to clean your house and lawn where your baby plays or crawls.
If regular dog poop cleaning is difficult for you, then consider hiring a professional pooper scooper, like Poop Genie, and stay safe.
References and Further Reading