There is nothing more exciting than bringing home a new baby and, if you are lucky enough to have a dog, you are doubly blessed. Dogs bond strongly with their humans and will often adopt a new baby with little hesitation. Some dogs, however, may have a bit of difficulty. In order to make the transition to family life as smooth as can be and help your dog adjust to having a baby around, consider the following tips.
Make it Clear that Baby’s Toys are Off-Limits
Since baby toys often look quite a lot like dog toys and vice versa, it is easy to understand how dogs could get the two confused. In order to nip potential problems in the bud, make it clear to your dog that Baby’s toys are off-limits.
Ensure your baby's toys are kept away from your dog and consider getting your dog some special new toys to keep him occupied.
A good exercise is to present a box of your baby's toys to your dog and repeat the "no" lesson by withdrawing the toys and then presenting one of his with praise. Eventually, your dog will understand which toys are dog toys and which toys are baby toys, which will make life easier for everyone.
Back To School
Newborn babies are fragile little creatures and an overly excited dog could easily harm a child without meaning to. In order to avoid potential mishaps, it is recommended that basic obedience skills are taught or re-enforced prior to the arrival of the baby. Your dog should be able to follow basic commands like “sit,” “stay” and “wait,” as well as a “place” command where you are able to send your dog to a specific place, like his bed.
When You Can't Pay Attention to Your Dog
A baby will take up most of your time and so it is important to make sure your dog is comfortable and occupied when you cannot be with him. Invest in a high quality bed for him and ensure he has plenty of rubber toys that can be stuffed with treats. These "keep him busy" toys are a great way to occupy him in a non-destructive way.
Provide Opportunities for Your Dog to Interact with Babies, if at all Possible
Do you have a friend with a brand new baby? Ask if you can bring your pooch over for a learning session. Although almost all dogs will adjust to a new baby without a problem, it is a great idea to give them a chance at a few trial runs if you can. Introduce your dog to the baby slowly and allow the dog to sniff and familiarize himself with the baby. These pre-baby encounters will go a long way toward ensuring your dog is on his best behavior when your little bundle of joy arrives.
It is also worth investing in a baby gate to use as a boundary during the initial phase of acquainting your dog with the noises and smells of your baby. He will be able to see what is going on and so will feel involved, without the risk of awkward encounters.
Also, don't forget to check that your dog’s flea and tick medication is safe for contact around newborns. It is always best to check with your veterinarian.
Generally, dogs love people and most of them will accept a new baby into the pack without hesitation. By providing the dog with plenty of attention post-baby and ensuring that you do your homework before baby arrives, it is easy to facilitate a smooth transition and ensure that family life is fun and comfortable for every member of the household.