Dogs and Babies: How to Prepare

Our dogs are very in tune with us, so with an event as monumental as a pregnancy, your dog has already sensed that something is up. Here are a few tips for preparing your dog for the new arrival.

  • For dogs who haven’t spent much time with them, babies can seem frightening. They make loud, screeching noises, they smell different, they definitely don’t look like grown-up humans, and they move in strange ways. It’s a good idea to introduce your dog to as many baby-like sights, sounds, smells and movements as possible so that some aspects of the baby are familiar when you bring him home. Life with a baby can be hectic and sometimes unpredictable. It may help to prepare your dog for a less consistent daily schedule
  • Teaching your dog some basic obedience skills will help you manage her behavior when the baby comes
  • When the baby comes home, some of your dogs privileges will likely change. It will be easiest for her to accept these change if you institute new rules in advance.
  • If you don’t want your dog on the furniture or the bed after the baby arrives, introduce that restriction now.
  • If you don’t want your dog to jump up on you when you’re carrying your new baby or holding him in your lap, start teaching her to keep all four of her paws on the floor.
  • As the baby settles in, continue to focus on associating him with good things for your dog. You may be tempted to give her plenty of attention when the baby’s asleep and then try to get her to lie down, be quiet and leave you alone while the baby’s awake. It’s actually much better to do the opposite. Try to give your dog lots of attention when the baby is present
  • If your dog is used to sleeping in bed with you and you want that to change with the baby’s arrival, provide a comfortable dog bed that she can use instead
  • Some people decide that they’d like their dog to wait outside the baby’s room unless invited in. The easiest way to accomplish this is to teach your dog to sit-stay or down-stay by the door.
  • As often as possible, reward your dog for behaving politely when she’s close to the baby. Encouraging calm, controlled behavior now will pay off in the weeks and months ahead—as your baby becomes more and more interesting and exciting to your dog
  • As your child develops, teach him to respect your dog’s body, safe zones and belongings. Always supervise interactions so that you can guide your child as he learns to communicate and play with your dog appropriately


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