To many pet parents, our dogs are our babies and we would give anything for them to be happy and healthy!
Our dogs recognize this, which is why they look to us humans with adoration and loyalty in return. However, it can be overwhelming for them when we bring home another baby- especially if it’s a human baby.
Bringing a new baby home is one of the most exciting moments as a human and one of the most stressful as a dog. When a new baby enters the household, your dog will immediately be exposed to a variety of new sounds, smells, and routines.
This blog will talk about everything you can do to make introducing your pet and your baby easy.
10 Tips For Introducing Your Dog To Your Baby
Review the Basics With Your Dog
Training your dog basic commands is something all dog owners should do, regardless of their dog’s age, size, or breed. When a new baby is expected, it’s extra important to solidify commands such as sit, stay, down, leave it, and place.
It’s also a good idea to crate train your dog since this will establish a safe space and allow them to calmly separate from the baby when needed. Do this by giving your dog special treats and chews specifically for the crate and establishing a positive relationship with it.
Teaching your dog basic manners, like not to jump on guests, can be highly beneficial as well, keeping your baby safe from falling or being scratched by an excited pup.
Show Your Pup What to Expect
Babies undoubtedly change people’s lives, requiring loads of attention, care, and affection. Your dog will lose a lot of playtime and attention when a new baby enters the scene, which can be frustrating for them. Introducing your dog to their new routine early on can help to ease their frustration.
Start by carrying a doll around with you and talking to it, pretending that it’s a baby. Set up playpens and swings for your baby and place the doll on it, allowing your dog to become familiar with these items and actions.
You can also bring home a blanket from the nursery carrying the baby’s scent. Presenting it to your dog will give them a small introduction to the baby without directly coming into contact with them.
Set a Good First Impression
Your dog will be keeping track of everything that happens when they are introduced to the new baby, so be sure to create positive energy. If your pup gets scolded for getting too close during their introduction with a baby, a negative association will be created. This is why having a positive and understanding attitude toward your pup is key.
Giving your dog treats, attention, and positive reinforcement is a great way to create a positive association with the new baby. While you let your dog meet the new baby, have someone else help by feeding your dog their favorite treats during the encounter. Do this every time your dog meets your baby to assure the energy stays positive.
When feeding your dog treats, we recommend feeding them 100% natural and single-ingredient treats!
Control the Environment
Introducing your dog and baby in a controlled, neutral environment is the best way to set up a good encounter. Plan the meetup in neutral territory, like in a park or outside on the sidewalk. During the meetup, assure that the dog is on a leash and the baby is in their mother’s arms.
Make sure that at all times, safety is prioritized. By taking it slow and at your pet’s pace, the meetup will remain controlled, calm, and positive. Be sure to watch your dog for warning signs, such as excessive panting, piloerection, shivering, and more.
Dogs, also known as a man’s best friend, are keen on sensing their owner’s emotions and energy. When their human is nervous, they quickly pick up on that energy and become nervous as well.
When introducing your pup to your new baby, stay calm and happy. Your dog will notice your emotions and ditto them, making for a relaxed and regulated meetup!
Establishing boundaries for both your dog and baby is a great way to allow the two their own space when it’s needed. Making sure that the dog doesn’t go into the baby’s nursery and making sure the baby doesn’t go into the dog’s crate is a way to leave them both their own private areas.
It’s also a good idea to establish boundaries with what your dog can and cannot do. This ties in with training; disallowing your dog to jump or nip is one of the most important boundaries to establish with your dog before the baby arrives.
Positively Reinforce Your Dog
Like all training, positive reinforcement is the best way to generate stability and success when introducing your dog to a new family member. Giving your dog healthy treats when they’re calm around the baby is extremely effective in positively reinforcing them.
When your baby is older, you can also teach them to feed your dog treats to encourage positive reinforcement even more! Have your toddler hold out treats to feed your dog (as long as they’re a gentle eater) after your dog becomes more comfortable being around the new baby.
Teach Your Baby To Be Gentle With Your Dog
Teaching your child to respect your dog is just as important as teaching your dog to respect them. Dogs are oftentimes intimidated by children because they haven’t yet learned how to handle a dog.
Show your child that petting, instead of hitting or pulling, is the proper way to greet a dog. Don’t allow your child to pull your dog’s tail, attempt to ride them, or invade their personal space. Like humans, dogs can get annoyed and snap every once and a while- which is why it’s so important to prevent any bad interactions.
Always Supervise Interactions Between Your Dog And Baby
Always monitor your dog and baby when they are in the same room- no exceptions. Babies are unpredictable and can agitate a dog with their sudden movements and noises. Leaving your dog and baby alone for even a second can be hazardous to both parties.
Be sure to be constantly supervising and reinforcing good behavior when your dog and baby are together. Creating good experiences and encouraging gentle interactions are essential to your dog and baby’s relationship in the future.
This will set a good foundation as your baby and dog grow up together. Dog’s can be extremely beneficial and have a positive impact on your child, teaching them responsibility and unconditional love!
Give Extra Love to Your Pets
Your dog will undoubtedly go through a phase of getting used to a new baby. Now that most of their attention has been taken away from them, they may feel left out, depressed, and even jealous of the new baby.
Make sure to be giving your dog as many cuddles, treats, and affection as you can when the new baby arrives. It is also a good idea to have a family member or friend watch your baby for a day while you designate some time for just you and your dog.