There are several new PBF parents in the last couple months! Bringing a little one into your family can be a huge change in your dog’s life. So that this transition may be easier for anyone wishing to expand their family, this article is for you!
Plan before baby arrives
Many of us treat our pets as our children. We tend to give them tons of attention, whenever they are in our presence. This step can thus be difficult, but limit the amount of sporadic time you spend with your pooch. Instead, opt for longer periods of time with him, such as a long walk, outing or activity. After the activity is done, do not pay as much attention to him. When baby arrives, it won’t be such a surprise that he isn’t constantly your #1 focus.
Accustom your pooch to baby items
Babies can be incredibly strange-looking to animals. They are small, move & sound a lot different than adults! Familiarize your pooch with children. This can be done by allowing him to walk past children (at a safe distance!), purchasing a baby-sound cd and using baby lotion & shampoo so they are already normal scents in your home. If the baby room will be off-limits, set up a doorway gate now, and remove pet toys.
Make the first introduction positive
Before entering your home with the baby, prepare your pooch. Have a friend assist with managing the introductions. That person can get a bag of treats ready. It may also be best to leash your dog before the first greeting. Allow your excited dog to greet everyone who enters the home first. When he is settled and calm, allow him to approach the baby. It is so important to make sure this is a positive experience so refrain from any harsh tones or yelling. If his body language is still relaxed, and you feel comfortable, let him sniff the baby. Praise him for good behavior and give a treat. I reiterate, do not scold, or yell at your pooch during this time. You want him to correlate the baby with positive experiences.
Baby time = fun time for pooch!
Allow your pooch to relate baby time with fun time. So that your pooch does not become jealous of the time he now has to share with the baby, give him a lot of attention in the presence of your baby. Allow walks to include both baby in a stroller or pack, and pooch on a leash. When baby eats, give him treats. He’ll soon learn that when baby is present, times are fun! Separating baby time from your pet’s time may be easier on you, but can be counterproductive on allowing him to create the bond with your baby.
For more information on this topic, please refer to the following articles:
Humane Society: “Introducing Your Pet and New Baby” (www.humansociety.org)
ASPCA: “Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby” (www.aspca.org)
Victoria Stilwell: “How to Safely Introduce Your Dog To Your New Baby” (www.postively.com)