If you have a dog and are expecting the arrival of a new baby, it is important to take measures to prepare your dog in advance for when you actually bring your baby home.
The reality is that dogs can feel threatened and unsure. They can also become stressed and confused when their “mom and dad” shift their attention more to the baby and away from them. Dogs don’t understand why a baby would cause a shift in the attention and control of the pack. So, dogs may try to regain their control, and in doing so may begin to exhibit attention-seeking behaviours, including jumping up, chewing on baby things or barking when you attend to baby’s cries.
The tips below will help minimize bad behaviour, reduce stress, and keep your baby safe.
1. Before the baby arrives, set new rules.
If you decide, for example, that your dog will not go into the baby’s room, establish this rule long before baby comes home. This will help ensure that the dog does not become stressed and confused about being separated when baby arrives. Introducing a more erratic schedule that has unexpected times for walks, feeding and play will also prepare your dog for the surely erratic schedule that is to come.
2. Before you bring your baby home, prepare your dog for the grand arrival.
It is important to get your dog used to the new sights and smells he will soon come into contact with. Buying an inexpensive baby doll that makes baby sounds is one easy way to do this. You can wrap the doll in a blanket and hold it in your arms while you walk around the house. Use the same baby products, like shampoo, lotion and powder, as well. Bringing home your newborn’s blanket before the baby comes home will also allow your dog to get used to the smell of your new baby.
Discover how to help your dog and your baby get used to each other after the baby is home in our next blog.