How to prepare your dog for your baby’s arrival
Many expecting parents worry about the acceptance their dog is going to have towards their baby and they ask themselves ¿What should I do so that my dog welcomes my new baby? Most dogs welcome their owners new baby with curiosity and it is important to make this process as easy as possible. Here are some tips
Some dogs may perceive the new baby as an intruder, especially dogs that are not used to being around babies or do not get along with children. In this situation, it is better to work with an ethologist or dog trainer before the baby comes home.
The first thing you should do is find out if your dog has any aggressiveness towards children or adults he does not know. Your dog may be a little unfriendly towards people he does not know, but if he becomes aggressive you must work on his socialization skills as soon as possible to eliminate this conduct. Before the baby’s arrival you dog will start to notice that something is changing within the family, not only body changes, but changes in your conduct like the re-distribution of home items and addition of new ones like cribs. The worst thing you can do is not letting your dog participate in these changes, if you do he will start to reject the situation. Show him the crib, introduce him to the new items around the house and do it naturally.
With the baby’s arrival, the daily routine will change, which is why you should try to start incorporating small changes into the routine before the baby comes home. This way it will be much easier for the dog to adapt to the new routine and will not suffer all the changes at once. Do not stop paying attention to your dog drastically or pet him a lot, your behavior towards him should be normal so he does not feel jealous.
When the baby comes home, start introducing him to the baby slowly, trying to make it as natural as possible, do not make the first moment together too long. Make sure that your dog does not notice you are nervous or scared, try to make it a positive experience so he associates it with something positive. You can give your dog a treat or his favorite toy while you change, bathe or feed the baby. It is recommended to take your dog to the vet a few days before baby’s arrival to make sure he is in top health and to cut his nails. The interaction between the baby and the dog must not be forced, it must be as natural as possible. Make sure you don’t punish your dog for wanting to get close to the baby, it is normal for him to feel curious. It is okay to let your dog come closer to your baby, but make sure you never leave your baby alone with your dog, every interaction must be under supervision.
Remember to tell friends and family coming over to meet the baby to pay attention to your dog too, this way he will not feel left out and therefore jealous. If you only pay attention to your dog when your baby is not around he could start associating the baby being around as something negative, and that the baby is taking away what is most important to him: your love and attention. When the baby is not around it is important to start reducing the amount of attention the dog gets, so he does not notice the change.
The relationship between children and dogs is beneficial, it contributes to the child’s education, it makes him or her more social and responsible. Lastly, you should always control the interactions between your child and your dog. Children may not understand that if they act certain ways the dog may get angry, like hugging them too hard or sticking their finger in their eye by mistake.
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