Dogs are precious fur babies that easily become a member of the family and must take part or be considered in every family event, occasion or change. One of the most challenging things for most dogs to adjust to is change and it’s extremely important to train your dog to accept change, especially with a new baby.
Dogs are in tune with their owners and definitely notice the changes that occur with pregnancies. Although they may be aware of the change, this is no indication that the fur baby completely understands why this change has taken place and what it means for him. Owners should begin preparing their dogs for the new baby during the pregnancy for an easier transition.
Consider these suggestions to help prepare your dog to meet the newest addition to the family.
Leadership enforcement is important to instill in your dog during pregnancy. Nine months for most pregnant moms seem like a lifetime and is surely enough time to work with a pet to correct any issues that may exist. This is an ideal time to reinforce or establish the fact that you are indeed the leader of the pack. If this proves to be too challenging, bring in a professional to assist you. This will be greatly appreciated when it’s time to bring the little one home to introduce to your dog.
Introduce the scent of the baby by bringing an item that belongs to the bays, such as a cloth diaper or onesie before the baby is released to go home. This is the process that helps you to establish necessary boundaries. Insist the dog sniffs from a distance whenever the item is being held. This relays to the dog that the new item is yours and only to sniff with permission. This teaches the dog to understand that the new item is yours, and whenever he is around it, the rules must be followed. Your dog begins the process of respect for the baby before the baby comes home.
Create boundaries for the baby nursery. This is an essential part of the training process because you will likely spend a great deal of time in this room. If your dog is usually around you no matter where you are in the home, he will need to gain a clear understanding of the differences that exist now more than ever before. It is best to set the nursery as the off-limits area to your dog. Train your dog to understand and accept that this area has an invisible barrier that he is not allowed to compromise without your permission. After a while, it becomes okay to allow your fur baby to explore the nursery area and sniff out certain items in there but only with your permission. It is important that you decide and remain adamant about when it’s time for him to leave the nursery. This training method should be incorporated several times during the pregnancy, prior to the baby coming home. This teaches your dog that this room is the property of the pack leader and respect is due at all times, with no exceptions.
Carefully manage the introduction. You should consider having someone take your dog on a long walk or play time in the park to help him become fatigued prior to meeting the baby for the first time. This is a great way to deplete the dog of his energy before he returns home. Before allowing the dog to enter the doorway, make sure he is calm and relaxed. Once the door opens and the dog comes into the home, he will instantly notice that a new or unfamiliar scent is in the home. However, if you followed the above advice and introduced the scent earlier as suggested, it will be somewhat familiar to the dog. Mom or dad should be really relaxed and calm while holding the baby and allow the dog to sniff the baby, but from a comfortable distance. It is best to keep the baby at a reasonable distance from the dog during the first introduction. This is somewhat of a meet and greet for the two babies of the family. As time passes, the dog can be allowed to sniff the baby from a closer distance but with this approach, he is learning to respect the new baby aa another leader of the pack.
Teach the baby also. Once the baby reaches the stage of exploration, it is of great importance that all interactions between him and the dog are supervised. This is a teaching time for baby as it instructs him or her not to pull the dog’s tail, pull his ears or do other annoying things that may aggravate the dog. Mutual respect is a must and can never be taught too soon. In fact, the sooner the better. There have been many instances where peaceful dogs have been provoked by children who simply weren’t taught to respect the dog or because they were left unsupervised.
Don’t become consumed with the rules of breed. It is never safe to assume that any dog won’t pose a threat to a baby or anyone else simply based on their breed. Of course you hear the stories about babies being bitten by Rottweilers and other aggressive dogs but equally as many have been encountered by the cute little chows as well. The solution is to approach all breeds with a sincere level of training for meeting the new baby for the outcome to be more successful.
Remember the dog needs love too. There is not always a need to shower your dog with toys or excessive attention for him to feel special. Most dogs know exactly how much their owners love them, which is why they respect them in return. However, it is important for owners to maintain consistency in the routine with the dog, even after the baby arrives. Daily walks, occasional playtime and consistent leadership. This helps the fur baby to feel more comfortable with the change that has taken place and realize that although there is a new addition to the family, he is still a part of the family also.