Kids who get to grow up with a dog, grow up experiencing the unconditional love and loyalty of a canine companion. Ensuring your dog and children have a good relationship starts from day one. This article shares tips for bringing a new baby into a home with a dog.
Smooth out unwanted behaviors
As soon as your family is expecting an infant, begin to smooth out any unwanted habits your dog has and establish yourself as the unwavering pack leader. This way, you can bring your newborn home to a calm, well-behaved best friend.
Slowly introduce your dog to the new normal
A newborn changes the dynamic of a household. You trade morning routines for a middle-of-the-night routine, and you may trade your daily run for a daily stroller walk. Start making small changes to your dog’s normal routine before the baby arrives. For example:
- A few times a week, change the time of day you go for your normal walk.
- Introduce your dog to the sounds of a baby with recordings.
- Have your dog smell you with baby lotion and baby powder on your skin.
- Teach your dog to rest somewhere quiet such as their designated safe space — to give them a break from where you plan to spend time with the baby. Use treats as a reward!
A few weeks before
This is the toughest part. A few weeks before the baby’s arrival, start monitoring the amount of time you play, and cuddle with your dog. Give them more independent play opportunities and put treats in their toys as a reward for them to discover on their own. This increased independence will help you and your dog feel better when you’re inevitably preoccupied with your newborn.
The big introduction
When the baby arrives, your dog should be well prepared. Follow these final steps for a smooth transition:
- Bring home a blanket that smells like a new baby for them to investigate and get familiar.
- Make sure your dog is on a leash for the initial meeting, just in case they get excited.
- The first few times you feed your baby, have somebody else give your dog treats.
- Remember to give your dog their well-deserved attention and a lot of exercise. Tip: ask a friend or a neighbor to take them out for a long walk for you.
- Include your dog in baby-related activities. Eventually, the baby will go from being a stranger to being a favorite playmate and lifelong pal.
- Finally, always supervise interactions.
Few things in life are cuter than a dog with a baby. And as an important member of your family, setting your dog up for success with a newborn is key.