6 Things to Remember When Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby
Most of us feel like our dogs are our babies. However, dogs are not humans and you need to do some prep work when you bring home your human baby.
Start preparing your dog before your baby comes home. Many dogs react in a lovely way to a new baby, but even the sweetest dog can have an unexpected reaction that may endanger your baby.
1. Train them well
You will likely be busy and overwhelmed when you bring your baby home so that is not the time to start training your dog. Take time during your pregnancy to work with your dog so your transition home with the baby is as smooth as possible. Work on basic obedience, house manners, and boundaries within the home so they're prepared for you bringing home a new person. If your dog tends to chase small animals you may also want to work on that, as your baby will quickly become a toddler and can become very “chasable” for some dogs.
2. Introduce your Baby’s Scent
Before introducing your baby to the dog, introduce your baby's scent to them first. You can use your baby's clothes or a burping cloth. Slowly raise the cloth to your dog's nose and let them smell it thoroughly. Familiarity with your baby’s scent can help a dog become more comfortable with your new addition.
3. Introduce the baby
Now, you can introduce the baby, but don't let your dog get too close. Hold your baby tight and bring them closer to your dog to let them smell. Let your dog do this for a few minutes to remember that they're familiar with your baby's scent. Notice how your dog reacts during the introduction. Beware if they show any signs of excitement or even aggression.
4. Don’t neglect your dog
Your baby will be taking a lot of your time and attention. It may be easy during this time to spend less time with your dog. Be sure you find quality time to spend with your dog so she doesn’t feel neglected or jealous of the baby. Lots of love and positive reinforcement will help. When possible and safe, include your dog in activities involving the baby. Continue taking her on regular walks and enjoy regular playtime. Use healthy treats to help your dog feel cherished and loved.
5. Establish Boundaries
Establish strict boundaries for your dog surrounding your child's room and things. Train your dog not to enter the nursery without your permission. Once you are there, they can enter and interact if you allow, but never without your permission and presence. Use a puppy or baby gate at the nursery door if necessary.
6. Teach your baby
Once your baby is older, you must teach them how to play with and interact appropriately and safely with your dog. Teasing the dog, yanking on his tail, or bothering him shouldn't be allowed. Your child should abide by some limitations to avoid a dangerous situation.