Bringing home a baby can be especially daunting when you have a pet. Once the object of your affection, a dog can be deeply unsettled by the arrival of a newborn who steals away your attention!
DO Prepare in advance
Start making changes in your dog’s routine when you’re pregnant, at least 6 months before the baby is due to arrive.
Change your routine – this means everything from the time of walks to feeding times.
Walk your dog erratically and feed your dog inside and outside.
Scatter food in the garden for him/her to find.
Your dog should not see his bowl as the only food source.
This prevents your dog getting defensive if your baby goes near its food bowl.
Stop hand feeding your dog if you’re guilty of this.
Your dog may try to take food from your baby’s hand.
Stop any excessive jumping well before the baby arrives.
Remember … Dogs learn by association and repetition.
DO set boundaries
- Ignore your dog at times and particularly – don’t respond to their attention seeking behaviours.
- They definitely won’t have your attention when you have a baby to look after!
- Praise and make a fuss of your dog when he/she isn’t making a noise or demanding anything.
- Play at your command – if your dog wants to play then don’t indulge him/her.
- Only instigate play when you have the time.
- Set boundaries – places like sofas should be off limits to your dog.
- You probably won’t want them jumping around places where your baby might be.
- Let the whole family know the rules and stick to them.
- Invest in a crate –it provides a comfortable place for your dog to sleep in and retreat to.
- It’s especially useful in the first few months when you will have constant visitors.
- The increase in activity can overwhelm many dogs.
- Secure your garden. Your dog can happily play in the garden when you have to deal with the baby.
The Baby’s Arrival
- Arrival – ideally have someone else carry the baby into the house.
- Remember, to your dog the size of his pack has just increased. To him the baby is like a new puppy arriving.
- The vast majority of dogs accept a new baby easily BUT your dog is not a little human and has canine instincts.
- NEVER bend down and let the dog sniff the baby.
- NEVER leave a baby and dog unattended.
- The shrill cry of a baby can over-excite a dog. Be ready to correct any unwanted behaviour.
- When you sit down with the baby make sure your dog is kept on the ground.
- This is not a time to have your dog up on the sofa with you.
- Introduce the two – proceed with caution and be wary of how your dog might act.