Transitioning one's home to accommodate a dog and a baby can be overwhelming. Not only are new parents concerned about their baby's safety around their pet, but they also want to maintain a happy and healthy bond and environment for their dog. However, without the proper training and preparations, it's easy to feel like it's impossible to achieve both.
This is why working with your pet and preparing them for the addition of a baby before it arrives is crucial. Not only does this help to establish healthy boundaries between your dog and your child, but it also helps to make the transition period easier and less stressful. Your dog will also be able to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with you, its owner, and build a strong bond with your new baby.
Now, if you are preparing for the arrival of a child, you must spend the time to get your home and pet trained and start as soon as possible. While it will take some additional work initially, it will help prevent any accidents or mishaps down the line.
You should start working with and training your dog for your baby's arrival right from the beginning. This will help give your dog time to adjust to the increase in toys and noise that will be flowing throughout your house in no time. It will also allow your dog to get accustomed to the changes in their routine.
Before we dive into the fundamental changes and training that should occur, it's necessary to note that you must be aware of your dog's energy throughout the process and be patient with them. Their routines and habits may drastically change throughout the preparations. Reward them when applicable, and monitor their energy to ensure that no new behavioural issues, such as aggression or anxiety, occur throughout the process.
Here is how to get your dog ready for the arrival of a baby in your home:
Start Setting Boundaries; This is critical. Certain areas of your home will have new restrictions as your space changes to accommodate a baby. The baby's room and key items, such as their stroller, toys, and crib, should have strict boundaries.
Before the arrival, you must work with your pet to teach them that these new things are off-limits. Setting these boundaries in place before the arrival will help prevent any accidents.
Play Baby Noises Around the House; Your home will change in terms of the sounds and noises that flow through it, which can be difficult for your dog. This is why we recommend allowing your dog to adjust to these new noises ahead of time so it can feel comfortable. Start playing noises from baby toys or even the sound of a baby crying to help your pet adjust and understand the noise.
Take Your Dog for a Stroller Walk; A change in your dog's routine will be learning how to walk at a slower pace with a large object in front of them; the stroller. Rather than waiting until you're actually using the stroller, start going for "stroller walks." This will teach your pet to be comfortable and will continue to teach them that they need to walk beside you, the owner, rather than the stroller. Having your dog walk next to the stroller can be hazardous, so it’s important to teach them to stay by your side, preventing accidents.
Manage Door Greetings and Thresholds; A jumping dog with a baby is dangerous. If your dog gets excited when people enter the house or tend to jump up, you'll want to work on correcting this behaviour as quickly as possible. Work with them on thresholds and keeping all four paws on the ground at all times to ensure your dog is trained and ready.
When your baby finally arrives home, you may feel excited to introduce your pet to your newborn. However, it's recommended that you take small steps during the introduction phase. There could be a lot of nervous energy, and although you've trained your pet and your home to be ready for this moment, you can never be sure how they will react.
One thing that's recommended before introducing the two of them is getting your pet used to your newborn's scent. If you can, try bringing home a blanket or a piece of clothing from the hospital that smells like your baby a few days beforehand, allowing your dog to sniff and be curious. This will, again, allow your pet to get comfortable with the change in the environment and the new scent that will be present in their home. It is even recommended that you continue to introduce the scent of your child when the baby is home. Constantly allow your pet to sniff and get accustomed to your baby's smell before the initial introduction.
When it comes time to introduce your dog and child, it's important to remember to take it slow, consistently reading and monitoring your dog's energy. Here are some vital things you'll want to keep in mind at this stage;
Preparing your pet for the introduction of a baby is a serious task that should not be taken lightly. It's best to ensure that your dog and your household are prepared to prevent accidents and allow for a smooth transition during this exciting time.
If you need assistance with your dog and its training to meet and adjust to a newborn, our trainers can help. They are fully committed to working with them through behaviour, obedience training, and continued learning.
We do the hard work for you to attain a happy home and a healthy relationship with your pet.
Included in all of our programs are the following;