You have a new baby on the way and you’re super excited. But there’s one thing that you’re a little nervous about – you also have a dog. You’re worried that your dog and your baby aren’t going to get along.
Well, this is a valid concern. Bringing in a new household member can be very disorienting for a dog, regardless of how well they’re trained. And babies are new to the world, which means that a big barking ball of fur can be very scary!
So, how do you make sure the introduction goes smoothly and everyone gets along?
Check out this guide to learn how to introduce your dog to your baby.
Start Before the Baby Even Arrives
The process of introducing your dog to your baby should start even before your baby arrives.
About 3 months before your baby is due, change where the dog sleeps and when you take the dog out for a walk. This way, the dog won’t associate these changes with the baby, and they won’t be resentful towards the baby because of them.
Also, it may sound a bit loony, but it can help a ton to buy a baby doll and start treating it as if it were your baby so your dog can get acclimated. Coo it, carry it around your house, and tote it around in a baby carrier.
Also, practice walking your dog while pushing a stroller.
Doing all of this will help your dog get used to the baby items and new routines in the home before your baby arrives.
Teach Your Dog to “Go to Place”
When the new baby arrives, there’s no doubt that your dog is going to be all over you, trying to get a peek at this new creature.
That’s why before the baby arrives, it’s very important to teach your dog to “go to place.”
In order to teach this behavior, you can use a mat, bed, or just a defined area in your home. As soon as your dog is in their designated place, be sure to reward them with a treat.
Then, use a release command such as “okay” to signal that they can leave the mat. It can also help to throw the dog a toy. If you need toy ideas, check out My Pet Child.
Acclimate It to the Baby’s Smell
As you already know, dogs are all about smells.
Therefore, it’s very important to familiarize your dog with your new baby’s smell. The more familiar your dog is with the smell, the more comfortable they will be around your baby.
When you first bring your baby home, greet your dog alone so it doesn’t get too excited and try to jump on the baby.
Then, for the first few days, bring an article of clothing from the baby to the dog so the dog can sniff it and get used to the baby’s scent.
After that, for the next few days, allow your dog to see and smell the baby from a distance. After a few days, allow your dog to sniff your baby at closer proximity, but keep them on a leash. Most dogs adapt to a new baby fairly easily, but it is always smart to take precautions. If the dog remains controlled around the baby, be sure to pet him and give him praise.
Once your dog is used to the smell of the baby, allow your dog to sniff your baby off-leash. Also, be sure to give your dog plenty of attention when the baby is around. Otherwise, they will think good things only happen when the baby is not around.
And there you have it, that’s how you introduce your dog to your baby! Comment below if you have any questions.