Getting your dog ready for a newborn

Preparing a dog for the arrival of a newborn into the family is done with the same care and attention that a parent gives to help children understand that a new sibling will be joining the family. Bringing a newborn into the home will be a major change for your dog and can result in the dog becoming quite stressed if he is not well prepared.

Dogs that are have a free run of your house will need re-educating before your newborn comes home. Changing your dogs habits before your baby arrives will avoid hassles in the long term. You will need a few months to prepare your dog for your baby’s arrival so start as early as possible.

There are a number of ways to prepare your dog for your baby’s arrival. Most importantly deal with any training or behavior problems. You will not have time to do this once your new baby comes home and you want to ensure the safety of your child. Train your dog to obey commands such as sit, come and stay and address any issues of fear or anxiety that your dog exhibits. A good idea is to train your dog to sit calmly on the floor beside you until you invite him onto your lap.

To get your dog familiar with the sounds and smells of a baby try and borrow a baby or invite friends over with infants to accustom your dog to the real sounds and smells of a baby. Make this experience positive for your dog by offering a treat or playtime.

Gradually introduce more sounds and smells of a baby into your home on a regular basis. You can do this by playing recordings of a baby crying or gurgling. You could also put some baby powder or oil on your hands to accustom your dog to the new smells. Do this gradually and regularly in the months preceding your newborn’s arrival. You can also use a baby doll to help your dog get use to the real thing, carry it around, take it for a walk in a pram with your dog, pretend to change it and bath it.

Once the baby is born and before you bring the baby home, take home a blanket or clothing that the baby has been in for your dog to investigate. Try to speak positively to your dog when the baby is around, and avoid negative tones. This is to ensure that your dog connects happy feelings while being in the presence of the baby. Always supervise any interactions between your new baby and your dog.