Dogs and babies
Dogs are sensitive creatures, extremely connected with their owners and can feel that there is something different, and once you have a child, everything is different. Before bringing the newborn home you need to prepare your dog for the arrival of the baby, in order to minimize stress for the dog and reduce the chance of any accidents.
Before bringing the baby from the hospital, smart thing to do is to bring home a piece of baby's clothing with baby's smell on it. Let your dog smell it and get used to the new scent. Before bringing a baby home, make sure your dog went for a long walk or a run; this way the dog will have a lot less energy and will be calmer around the baby. When you arrive home with the newborn, first greet your dog alone so it doesn’t get excited and jump on the baby.
Once the baby is in the house, the dog will immediately detect new scent, and because you brought a piece of baby's clothing to it earlier, it will be familiar to the dog. Allow the dog to choose to interact with the baby. Don’t force interaction. If your dog shows that it is interested in the baby, the person holding the baby should be calm and let the dog sniff the baby from a distance. Don't let your dog get to close to the baby on their first encounter. Slowly, over time, allow the dog to come closer, but under your supervision. This way the dog will learn to respect a new member of the pack.
Allow your dog to become familiar with the baby equipment but don’t allow unsupervised access to the nursery. The dog needs to know that the nursery is the baby’s territory; otherwise it might chew on things, get into the diaper bin, or breach the crib. This rule applies for children, too. Don’t allowed children to invade the dog’s private space. Make sure your dog has a place it can goes to, when there is too much activity for it and don’t let children bother the dog.
Give your dog plenty of attention when the baby is around. You don’t want him to think good things only happen when the baby isn’t around. In order to avoid linking the baby to negative things in your dogs head, you should never punish or scold the dog in the presence of the baby. Use only positive reinforcement-based training methods with the dog.
Never leave even the most trusted dog alone with a baby or a small child!
Dogs can become agitated by the sounds and movements of a baby. Babies can provoke the dog by pulling its tail, grabbing it, etc. Dogs have been known to try to move a baby by carrying the baby in their mouths the way a mother dog might do with her puppies. If you have any concerns at all about your dog's behavior or attitude towards the baby, seek professional help right away.
Finally, the most important thing is not to neglect your first “baby”. Before the little human arrived, your dog was the center of attention, and it shouldn’t feel left out once the baby comes because, except for being unhappy, your dog might act out and put your baby in danger.
Your dog doesn't need new toys or more food in order not to feel neglected. Your dog needs you. Your dog needs its routine. Don't change the way you behave around your dog, take it to its regular walks, do together all the things you used to do before the baby arrived and make sure your dog knows who the leader of the pack is.
If you follow these tips your dog and your baby should quickly become friends and after that happens, you will be the happiest because you’ll know that your baby has a protector and a loyal friend.
USEFUL TIP: Play a tape recording of various baby sounds in your house for increasing lengths of time so your dog can adjust to the new sounds before you bring the baby home. You can also get a life-sized toy baby and carry it around, as you would a real baby. Start to use the lotions, powders and wipes that you'll use on the baby so that the new scents become familiar.
World Dog Finder team