Bringing your firstborn into your dog’s world can be unnerving and potentially dangerous. Learning how to introduce your dog to your new family member takes planning and preparation well advance of that wonderful day when your baby comes home. Below, I’ve outlined some practical steps and advice to help you with preparing your dog to meet your newborn.
Please post your experiences and thoughts about this at the end of this post.
1. Start the preparation process early: You should start preparing your dog for the arrival of your newborn baby at least 3-4 months in advance to give them ample time to adjust to the new changes
2. Schedule a vet check-up: Make sure your dog is healthy and up-to-date with their vaccinations. Discuss any concerns or issues you might have about your dog’s behavior, and consider getting a behavioral evaluation.
3. Train your dog: Start training your dog to behave properly before the baby arrives. Basic obedience commands like sit, stay, come, and leave it will be very helpful. You can also consider enrolling your dog in a specialized training program that caters to preparing dogs for babies.
4. Introduce new sounds and smells: Start playing recordings of baby noises like crying, cooing, and laughing frequently while you are around your dog. This will help them get used to the new sounds the baby will make. You can also bring home baby items like diapers, lotions, powders, and blankets for your dog to sniff and get familiar with.
5. Adjust your dog’s routine: Gradually reduce the attention you give your dog, and make sure they understand that the new baby will require more of your time and attention.
6. Restrict access: Prepare an area where your dog can stay when you are busy attending to the baby. It could be a crate, a room or a designated area with a comfortable bed and chew toys.
7. Prepare for baby’s arrival: Start setting up the baby’s furniture and getting everything ready in the nursery (if applicable) at least a month before the due date so your dog has time to get used to the new changes in the house.
8. Introduce gradually: Introduce your dog to the baby gradually. Allow your dog to sniff the baby while being held and petted, and reward your dog with treats for good behavior.
9. Maintain routines & boundaries: Make sure you continue to maintain routines and boundaries for your dog even after the baby arrives to give them a sense of security and stability.
10. Supervision: Never leave your dog alone with your baby under any circumstances, always ensure there is proper supervision when your dog is around the baby.
There’s a lot of help available for you in this endeavor.
“Tell your dog you’re pregnant” by Lewis Kirkham