How to Safely Introduce Your Dog to Your New Baby
If you’re like many couples, then your dog was your first beloved baby who you spoiled shamelessly and showered with attention. Now that you have a real baby due to become another member of your home, it’s time to prepare your dog for such a big change.
Why prepare your pup specifically for your new baby’s arrival? A newborn will undoubtedly completely transform your home—from your daily routine and number of visitors to sights, sounds, and smells. Since your canine thrives on predictability, so many changes have the potential to spark bad behavior. Some dogs adjust better than others, but preparation is always a smart idea.
Prepare Before the Baby is Born
To limit the number of changes your dog will endure after your baby’s birth, set up baby items throughout your pregnancy. This will give your dog plenty of time to adjust to the baby carrier, swing, and toys at his own pace.
It’s also a great idea to introduce your pup to common baby smells like diapers, lotions, and powders. If your dog can accept these new household additions without considering them a threat, it will make the ultimate baby introduction far easier.
Coming Home from the Hospital
Dog experts recommend letting your spouse hold the baby as you enter your house for the first time. This gives your pet the chance to say an enthusiastic hello and enjoy 100 percent of your attention.
Once your pup has calmed down, gently and slowly introduce him to your precious newborn. Begin at a distance so that he understands boundaries, and gradually let him inch closer. Supervise as your dog sniffs the baby out and acclimates to this new, strange presence in your home.
During the first week or two, give your dog small treats while you nurse or give your baby a bottle. Dogs can sense the intimacy of the act of feeding, so your furry friend will be more likely to remain tranquil and associate feedings with positivity if rewarded with treats.
Despite all of your precautions and preparations, your dog might still feel confused by all of the changes occurring, and confusion often presents itself with bad behavior. Rather than constantly punishing your pup, redirect him to a different activity. If he jumps up on your visitors, bring him back to his new chew toy.
With just a few simple measures of care and preparation, you can ensure that your dog and baby forge a bond of friendship.