Like humans, dogs aren’t immune to jealousy. As carefree and fun-loving as they are, they are not beyond feeling bitterness or resentment. This can be the case when you welcome a newborn into the family who seems to compete with them for your attention and affection. At Smartly Pet, you can check out some signs your canine friend is none too pleased with the pack’s latest addition. Keep reading to find about Dog Jealousy when you have a baby.
Taking into account a dog’s need for socializing, going from the one everybody loves to cuddle to getting the occasional pat on the head can be tough. With the shifting family dynamic brought on by this new change, our four-legged companions need time and attention to adjust. Still, why do dogs get envious of newborns, and what can be done for them to be more welcoming?
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A Dog’s Inner Psyche
Animal psychologists reveal that dogs can experience jealousy when their parents show affection towards their partners, children, or other animals. Like a young child might get envious of a baby sibling, dogs can also go through that same emotion when they feel they have to compete for their owner’s attention.
It is also important to keep in mind that as domesticated as dogs are, they still possess that wild gene. That means when pushed to a certain point, they can revert to their feral ways. The cases documenting domesticated dogs attacking their owners or owner’s children are prime examples of what can happen when situations force that savage gene to resurface.
Even known friendly breeds can get territorial over toys, food, and their parent’s attention. This is why dog parents must never take dog jealousy for granted and put considerable effort to better inform themselves on the matter. That way, the necessary steps for ensuring the safe and harmonious coexistence between newborn and family dog are taken.
Dog jealousy can also stem from the animal’s inability to adjust to the “baby” situation. If your canine companion isn’t used to having a human sibling, then despite mirroring the rest of the family’s happy emotions, he or she might still feel left out.
Discouraging Dog Jealousy in Four Steps
Jealous behavior isn’t new to dog parents whether or not there’s a new baby involved. There are numerous situations that can give rise to this canine characteristic, which should be addressed and resolved before it gets out of hand.
It goes without saying that any form of jealousy should not be encouraged in our furry companions. Instead, such behavior should be addressed properly to ensure the family’s safety and happiness.
Step 1: Acknowledge the Dog Jealousy
It is important for any dog owner to acknowledge that no matter the size and breed of the dog, he or she can still get jealous when you bring a new baby home. Male dogs are also more likely to get jealous than females, particularly if they haven’t been neutered.
Step 2: Consult a Trainer
Once you have identified Dog Jealousy traits or habits that may pose a problem for the baby, consult a trainer, and have your dog trained prior to the little one’s birth. Also, any changes you plan to make to the home in preparation for the child’s homecoming should also be done in advance so that your dog has ample time to adjust.
Step 3: Take Precautions Prior to the Baby’s Arrival
Aside from hiring a trainer or rearranging furniture in advance, other precautions that prevent possible future conflict should also be taken.
You want to have your dog smell the baby’s items so that he or she can become familiar with the baby’s scent. You also want to make sure your canine companion’s favorite spots are kept free of any baby stuff. That way, your dog will still feel like he or she has a place in your home.
Step 4: Remain Calm During the Introduction
When introducing your new baby to your four-legged friend, remain calm. Your pet can sense your emotions keenly and may mirror them. You should then follow that up with an establishment of boundaries and ensure the dog is never left with the child unsupervised.
As mentioned, your dog is going to need a bit more time to adjust to his or her new family member. So, here’s what you want to do in those first few months to help get them to that place.
- Shower your dog with attention.
- When you take your child for a stroll, take your dog with you, too.
- When playing with your child, throw your dog a toy at the same time.
- Reward your dog with treats and praises.
The Best Way to Deal With Dog Jealousy
Whether it is a new baby, new dog, or new partner, their arrival can spark feelings of jealousy in your canine friend. So, it’s crucial to be well-prepared and -informed about your Dog Jealousy inclinations, as well as to take the necessary precautions to address and resolve them. Doing this will ensure a harmonious coexistence between your dog and everyone involved.