Imagine this your a happy dog living with your happy owners. They play games with you and pet you. Then things start to change. You notice your owners are acting differently. Then one day, your owners come home with this little bundle. They seem scared they won’t let you sniff the bundle. What is it, why does it smell different and why is it makeing those noises? Everytime you try to see it your owners yell at you or chase you away. Maybe this thing is bad.
Bringing home a new baby can be a very stressful event for new parents, especially, if they have a dog. It can also be stressful for your dog if they are not trained to be prepared for the new arrival. There are many things you should do to help prepare your dog for their new pack member. Most dogs will love a new addition.
BEFORE baby is born
1. Your dog is used to a cetrtain level of attention from you. So you must sit down and decide how much attention you will be able to give the dog once the baby is born. BE REALISTIC if you think 45 minutes of playtime is affordable then begin slowly reducing your attention per day yo 45 minutes now so the dog will not notice a huge change in attention later.
2. Make sure your dog knows it’s basic commands. Mostly, sit, down, down/stay, and leave it. You will need to use these cues once the baby comes home.
3. Make sure your dog understands his place in your pack. This is pretty easy to do. Simple make your dog work for everything. Your dog wants to be pet he must sit, he wants his food he must sit, ect. This will teach your dog to look to you for guidance, instead of being pushy when he wants something.
4. Make sure your dog gets exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog. This doesnt nessesarily mean a walk, it could be playtime. A good 30 minutes of exercise everyday will help mellow out a dog.
5. Get your dog used to waling with a stroller or a baby. Do this by walking with the stroller and practicing basic cues. Also walk the dog while holding a baby doll.
6. Have a recording of a baby crying playing very softly. Then as each day goes by little by little turn up the volume. This way the dog gets used to hearing a baby crying.
ONCE the baby is born
1.Since the mother and baby won’t be home right away start bringing home peices of the babies dirty clothes dor the dog to sniff. DO NOT use a dirty diaper as this can confuse the dog about the babies scent. Praise the dog for sniffing the clothes.
2. When the mother comes home she should greet the dog without the baby. This way the dog can get the scent of the baby off the mother.
3. No the dog must understand the babies place in the pack is higher than it’s own. You do this by bringing in the baby, the dog should be on the leash held by another adult practicing basic cues. DO NOT make a big deal out of the meeting make sure to remain calm. Allow the dog to sniff the baby without touching the baby. After a few seconds reward the dog then have them lay down and stay. After a few minutes let the dog sniff the baby again, without touching, again reward the dog after a few seconds. Remember this has to be a positive experience, if the dog gets too excited simple lead him away and ask him to lay down. DO NOT scold the dog in any way.
4. Next step is to have the baby touch the dog. Simple hold the babies hand and pet the dog. Give the dog some treats as he is being petted. Once the hand goes away so do the treats. The treats come back when the baby pets the dog. This will teach the dog that letting the baby pet him is a very good thing.
If the baby is due to be born soon and you havn’t had a chance to practice the steps before hand. Make sure to start them right away. As always don’t be afraid to ask a trainer for help. This is a stressful situation for you and the dog but everyone can succeed as long as you are commited to it.
AS THE BABY GROWS
Too many times we see dogs that act aggresively towards children. However, it is not always the dogs fault. We as pet parents are responsible for our dogs safetly and happiness. This means teaching our children to respect dogs.
1. Do not let your child grab the dog forcefully. Or slap the dog when annoyed. Even if they are toddlers this can cause the dog to have negative associations towards children.
2. If you have an older dog children must respect to leave the dog alone.
3. Never scold a dog for growling. This is a warning and if the dog is growling for a certain reason then that reason must be addressed. Example: dog is sleeping and a child tries to hug the dog. The dog begins growling. The child must stop hugging the dog. Never force a dog into a situation it is uncomfortable in. If the dog is scolded for growling he may decide to stop growling and just bite next time.