Bringing your baby home for the first time is exciting and the beginning of a new adventure, you don’t want to spend it worrying about your dog being an issue! You need to keep the baby safe and loved without neglecting your furry friend, here are a few ways you can do this.
Before the baby has arrived, there are a few things you can prepare to make the process as easy as possible:
1. Master the commands ‘stay’ and ‘leave it’- a well behaved dog who understands these words is going to be much safer around a baby
2. Set up the baby’s furniture- let your dog become familiar with these objects and the sounds they make before the baby arrives
3. Visit the vet- ensure your dog is in good health and up to date on all vaccinations, this way they won’t be a risk to the baby
4. Start setting boundaries early- if you don’t want your dog sleeping on the bed or jumping on the furniture, you must enforce these rules before the baby comes to prevent your dog associating the baby with these new rules
5. Buy a doll- this one may sound silly but it’s a good way to get your dog used to you carrying around a baby
6. Stop playing rough with your dog, no more tug-of-war or wrestling
7. Find a dedicated pet corner- this area is baby free and somewhere for your pet to relax and eat. According to Bluecross (2019), many accidents occur when babies approach a dog’s food bowl
8. Play recordings of babies crying- this noise can be very distressing for a dog so ensure they are used to the sound
When the baby has arrived, there are a few things you can do to help your dog get used to the new family member:
1. Start off small and put your dog on a leash, praise him if he is calm and well behaved
2. Walk into the house without your baby first, say hello to your dog and let him calm down
3. Give your dog the same amount of attention you have always given him (including one-on-one time) and include him when you’re around the baby
4. Bring home your baby’s blanket before the baby so your dog can familiarise himself with the baby’s scent
5. Make sure your dog is always clean and free from worms and fleas
6. Don’t leave dirty nappies out, always seal them away in dog-proof nappy bins
7. This one may be obvious but never leave your dog and baby alone!
Although there is a lot to think about when introducing your dog and baby, it is a very important process and hopefully the beginning of a great friendship!