They say a dogs a man’s best friend, but how about introducing a dog to your baby? Here’s our guide courtesy of TheBarkBuzz.com
Adding another member to your family is a joyous occasion, but have you thought about how you’re going to introduce him or her to your dog? You might be anxious about introducing your new baby to your dog, but this should be a calm and simple process where your dog recognises your baby as a new member of the pack.
Dogs get cues from their owners, so they will see you loving your baby and try to replicate that emotion. You just need to take the time to make them feel comfortable with the new family member. Let’s go over some steps you can take to make this introduction easy.
Does my dog know I’m pregnant?
Dogs have amazing senses, so during your pregnancy you might see your dog starting to act differently, almost as if they know a big change is coming. Your behaviour will change during pregnancy and your dog will pick up on this.
One of dogs best senses is their sense of smell. While it’s not perceivable to humans, your dog can pick up on changes in your smell due to hormones. This is another clue they will take to know that something is different.
Even if you go through all these steps to introduce your dog to your baby you might still find them not fully adjusted. You used to spend all your time and attention on your dog and now it’s going elsewhere – this might make your dog beg for your attention. They might scratch or nip at you when you’re not paying attention to them. Some dogs will even bark if they feel neglected. Don’t respond to this behaviour, but make sure you take the time to show your pooch some love.
How do I introduce my dog to my new baby?
First, you want to start by getting your dog used to the smell of your new baby. You can show them a piece of clothing that has your baby’s scent and let them sniff it. Don’t let them take it in their mouth or chew on it, keep it in your hands.
Next you want to establish some boundaries between your dog and baby. For the first few weeks that your baby is home you shouldn’t let them get too close to each other. You should also always be around whenever your dog and baby are in the same room together.
In addition to keeping a close eye on your dog, you need to make sure your baby isn’t doing anything that might provoke a negative reaction from your dog. Babies make noise and pull on things (a dog’s tail is a normal target) which might agitate your dog. Keeping space between them will decrease the chance of any negative interaction happening.
Some dogs might have a more difficult time adjusting to the new family member than others. Remember that you need to be patient and treat this just like you would any other training exercise. Encouraging or reacting to any of their bad behaviours will only make this more difficult.
This big change in you and your family’s life is an adjustment for everyone. If you’re patient and take the time to share your love and attention, you will end up with a loving family with plenty of cute dog and baby photos!