Introducing your dog to a new baby

Pets become a part of our families just like our parents, children and siblings. It is therefore important that when we bring a new arrival into the home that our pets are given the same time to readjust as everyone else. There are hundreds of videos of dog and baby relationships across the internet but that happy and adorable relationship doesn’t always come without any work. Here are a few tips and tricks to help your dog adjust to the new baby in their life.

  1. Start early

It’s important to start the process early, don’t wait until the baby has arrived. One of the major training areas to perfect is to make sure your dog knows not to jump up, ever. Your dog will also need to get used to being left in a room alone more frequently as you are out of the room with the baby, however the baby is not an excuse to pay less attention to your dog. Your dog should also be around cots, carriers and high chairs before the baby is using them to help them adjust and prevent safety issues later on.

a long/wire haired lurcher looks up at a someone sitting down

  1. Persistence

Ensuring your dog’s good behaviour around your new arrival involves consistent and persistent training from everyone in the household. Praising good behaviour will help your dog understand what they should be doing.

Discourage:

  • Licking of baby’s hands, face etc.
  • Jumping up
  • Sitting in front of the child as they eat etc.
  • Playing with the baby’s toys

Dog’s may also react to your baby’s cry as a sound of distress. Make sure your dog knows that they can look at the baby but must not touch or jump up at the baby’s cot, pram or highchair as this may be their immediate reaction to the sound of a cry.

  1. Understanding

It is important to consider your dog’s feelings too when bringing a new baby into the house. Whilst jealousy is uncommon if the correct introductions have been followed, your dog is unlikely to enjoy their tails or ears being pulled, and may often require some time away from the baby. Make sure the dog knows where they can go to be away from the baby and discourage your baby from agitating the dog if they are in their “safe space”. It is also advised to keep your new arrival away from the dog’s food and water bowls, especially at feeding times.

  1. Exercise

Exercise will always be an important part of keeping a happy and healthy dog. Exercise will help your dog to relax and mean that they won’t be prone to releasing all of their pent up energy in the house. If you have a large and energetic dog make sure that they have sufficient exercise as walking with a baby in a pushchair may not be enough (also note that it can be dangerous to tie your dog’s lead to a pushchair, dogs should always be held separately by an adult)

a large tan and white dog runs through long grass with a tennis ball in its mouth

  1. Best Practise

All being well your dog and baby should get on like a house on fire. However there are some situations where it is better to be safe than sorry. For example, never leave your dog and baby anywhere together unattended. Although they may get along fine day to day it is never worth tempting fate. The final note is to ensure that your dog is wormed following recommendations from your vet. Dogs and babies can be messy creatures and this will ensure they can have a happy life living side by side.

 

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