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Introducing dogs to a baby, or training dogs for a new baby in the house, can be a tricky thing. Dog owners who are expecting to become parents soon must also consider the life transition their dog will go through once a new baby becomes a member of the house. Preparing your dog for the baby’s arrival and introducing your baby to your dog should therefore be a well thought out and planned activity.
Dogs have always cherished the position of being a man’s best friend. While dog owners cherish the presence of their dog in every aspect of their life, the arrival of a new born baby becomes a tricky aspect to handle for both the dog and the owner. New parents become overly insecure about their baby and tend to forget or ignore the needs of their pet. As a result, the dog often feels rejected, confused and resentful towards the new baby.
Training Dogs For Baby’s Arrival
- Start preparing your dog for a change in feeding schedule as once your baby will arrive, you will not be able to adhere to proper meal timings for him. Train your dog to be flexible so that once your baby arrives, your dog doesn’t become fussy about his food.
- Hire a dog walker or develop a walking schedule for your dog which would give you some breathing space once the baby arrives. You will be operating on very little sleep for quite some time after the baby is born. Your frustration should not be vented on your dog. So plan ahead and save yourself some trouble.
- Start training your dog to anticipate new smells and sounds around the house. Introduce him to smells of baby lotion, nappies and formula as well as sounds of nursery rhymes. A baby’s arrival can be a confusing phase for your dog. Make the transition smoother for him by training him in advance.
- Train your dog to become less vocal and more polite. A jumping dog when you have the baby in your arms can be annoying as well as dangerous. So train him now to remain on all fours. Also train him to bark less and be less vigilant. This will eventually help your create a more calm environment in the house which is suitable for your baby’s nap time.
- Your dog will have to learn to be more obedient once your baby is around. So start conditioning him to respond to instructions like sit, stay, down and go away. This will save you a lot of time and energy and keep both your baby and your dog happy and safe.
Introducing Dogs To Baby
Once your baby has arrived, plan the first interaction between your dog and your baby very carefully.
- Get a helper or your spouse to leash your dog when you bring your baby in his vicinity for the first time.
- It is normal to be nervous about this event, but instead of showing your unease, motivate your dog in a calm voice and keep giving him treats when he first gets introduced to the baby. This will help him relate to the baby in a positive manner.
- Don’t shout at your dog if he tries to show dangerous levels of excitement around the baby.
- Let your dog practice some hand target before you let him sniff your baby for a short while.
- Once the first introduction is over, distract your dog with a chew-toy or some treats and simply hang-out with him while you hold the baby calmly. This will help your dog understand the normalcy of the situation and accept the baby faster.
It may take some time for both you and your dog to adjust to this major family change. But if you make sure to shower some love on your dog every once in a while and keep things as normal as possible, your baby and your dog will soon learn to be the best of pals.