Before your new baby is born, it is important to prepare your dog for your baby’s arrival.
Here are some tips for keeping a safe, low-stress home for both baby and dog after the baby arrives.
1. On the first day your baby comes home, make introductions.
It is important for your dog to “touch scent” the baby. This is how your dog will become familiar with what the baby is. To do this safely, one adult should calmly hold the dog on a loose leash while another adult calmly holds the new baby so that the dog can smell the baby’s feet and bottom. It is important to correct your dog at this point of she is too exuberant.
2. Provide frequent opportunities for supervised visits between your dog and baby.
The more that you, your baby, and your dog are relaxed in the same space together, the less stressed and better behaved your dog will be. Remember that newborns and toddlers should never be left alone with any dog, any time.
During these visits, here are a few things you can do:
1. Help your dog understand the difference between the baby’s things and the dog’s toys.
2. Should you happen to catch your dog chewing on something that belongs to the baby, stop the behaviour and provide the dog with one of his toys for chewing. Make sure to praise him when he starts chewing on the appropriate toy.
3. Keep in mind that dogs can be quite possessive about their space, their toys and their food. This is normal. However, it is never acceptable for your dog to snap or growl at you or your child. While your child does need to understand that your dog is a living creature that isn’t’ to be hurt or teased, if your is dog snapping or growling at your child, this is a warning and requires attention immediately.