Preparing Your Dog for Your New Baby

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little boy and his dogPreparing your dog for baby’s arrival is a great way to make the transition smoother for everyone. Below are some simple guidelines to help you take the proper precautions when you have a new addition to your family!

  • Know your dog’s temperament. If your dog has ever snapped at anyone, or if they have jealousy issues, you should probably consult a professional animal behaviorist for advice.
  • Make sure your dog knows the basics- sit, stay, no, lay down. These commands will allow you to be in control of your dog when your child is in the room. If they do not know these commands, you may consider a behavior class before it is time to bring baby home.
  • If your dog has never been around children, you may want to expose them to children before your baby comes. Invite some friends with children over. Most families with children and dogs at home will understand the importance of this step and will be happy to come over. Make sure it is a controlled environment and watch carefully for any aggressive reactions in your dog.
  • Adjust your dogs schedule before the baby comes home. Establish a routine that you can stick to. Dogs, like people, like to know what’s coming next. Also, if there are any rooms that are going to be off limits, establish these boundaries at least a month before your due date.
  • Role-play. Carry a doll around in a blanket to get your dog used to this and to curb any jumping problems that may exist. This is also an opportunity to practice sit/stay commands with your dog while you role play various parent/baby activities (i.e. on the changing table)
  • Introduce your dog to your baby’s scent as soon as possible. If possible, have someone bring home an unwashed piece of your child’s clothing before you come home from the hospital for your dog to smell.
  • Have a neutral person — grandpa or a neighbor — actually carry the new baby into the house to leave Mom and Dad free to greet the family dog. Remember Mom has been away for a few days and the dog will be happy and excited to see her. Once the excitement dies down, let your dog get acquainted with the baby. Sit in a comfortable chair and let your dog sniff the baby. Most people don’t want their dog to lick the baby, but this is a dog’s way of getting to know someone. The baby will come in contact with more germs from well-wishers than from your dog, so let your dog have a little taste. Of course, have another person nearby to redirect the dog’s behavior, should the licking get a little out of hand. Have a toy handy to distract the dog if the greeting is over-enthusiastic.
  • Keep one area of the house baby free. Your dog will really appreciate having a private area to retreat from all the ear and tail pulling.
  • Never leave your dog and your child unattended! This is important, no matter how much you trust you dog! If there is an accident, you will not be there to see what happened and you won’t be able to prevent it from happening in the future.

Congratulations, you are on your way to having one big happy family!

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12 comments

  1. Avatar of Emily Emily says:

    I like this article, but feel it should provide some more details on what could be a problem breed for new parents/baby. My husband, and I, have a high energy American Brittany. This dog requires a lot of time/attention, and we feel it may not be the best pet to have with a new baby on the way. We are still considering our options.

  2. Avatar of LIZ says:

    my brothers dog was living in the house with us while i was pregnant, when we bring baby home he love her so much , he didnt even want to go from her crib its amazing how pets have love instincs

  3. Avatar of Marlena AntonucciEDITOR Marlena Antonucci says:

    This article is full of helpful tips. Our biggest problem is jumping. We will definitely be doing some role-playing before baby comes home.

  4. Avatar of shantel shantel says:

    great tips for someone with 4 dogs

  5. Avatar of Dario Dario says:

    good tips to know

  6. We have cats but no dog. I feel like the cats are worse because they sneak around and do things even when they know they’re wrong. I’ll never trust them with my baby and I will probably get rid of them.

  7. Avatar of Sara Sara says:

    I am more worried about my 3yr old brother than our German Shepard..

  8. Avatar of Jeanetta Jeanetta says:

    My mom also has a dog and I think the big problem is the dog is a barker.

  9. Avatar of atothedbly atothedbly says:

    I have a very kid friendly husky, but I had been wondering about introducing a newborn to her as my son was two when we got her… I think its a great idea to bring something that smells like the baby home.. Im definitely gonna do it!

  10. Avatar of DH DH says:

    We have two mini pin toy terrier mixes and they can be a bit hyper, but have never been aggressive to any children or anyone at that. Just worried about them getting too excited and scratching baby. They are only 4 and 6 pounds, so they cant do that much damage, but they need some more training.

  11. Avatar of Miranda Miranda says:

    this was helpful although i know one of my dogs will need the training before my baby is due but one dog is deaf and 13 and the other is 10 wich i do not have too much to worry about them because they are tiny little calm dogs, my youngest dog is a beagle/pitbull so shes pretty big and has the hyperness and attention span of both the breeds. so my dog will be a big concern until i get her into training.

  12. Avatar of ImogenSteele ImogenSteele says:

    Great article – and cute photo!! When Thomas was on his way I used a book called Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby. It was really helpful and came with a CD of sounds. Max took some time to get used to the sounds but the book helped on how to do it. I think the website is http://www.babyandpet.com.au. Maybe that will help someone else!

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