First off, congrats! Now you’re not only a fur baby mama, but a real mom, too!
Getting dogs ready for new baby is not something that happens in a day; it’s a process. But the results are rewarding!
If your dog is friendly, having a dog alongside your baby is a great idea and has numerous benefits.
- Babies who have dogs have a decreased risk of allergies and obesity than pet-less children.
- Dogs may also decrease the changes of a mother passing on a strep infection, according to the 2017 study.
- Kids that grow up with a dog or cat are less likely to get sick, according to a 2012 study.
Step 1: Prepare Dog for Baby
So, where do you start on getting dogs ready for a new baby?
First, it’s a good idea, even essential, that your dog knows basic commands such as
- Lay Down
- Leave it
All of these commands will help you once the baby comes. Instead of forcing your dog to do something or physically moving him, he can listen to your commands. It will be much less hassle to begin with. Teaching him the meaning of “leave it” will ensure you have a command to use when he’s trying to chew apart all the new baby toys.
If you haven’t already, check out obedience classes in your area. A cheaper option that may be more convenient is to teach your dog yourself. Here are a few resources that may help:
- Training the Best Dog Ever: A 5-Week Program Using the Power of Positive Reinforcement
- Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love
- Caesar Millan’s Guide to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond
- Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems
And if you’re DIY training, here’s some training essentials to get started:
Step 2: Give Doggy His Sacred Space
Your dog needs a space that is just his; somewhere he can run to when he’s feeling too overwhelmed at all the baby noises.
When you feel like your dog is hanging around your baby too much or simply wish him to get out of the way, you can teach him the command “your space” or “bed.” When he hears these words, he’ll know it’s time to settle down and go into his own place.
His own space can be:
- Spare room
- Laundry room
- Open closet
- Corner of a less popular room, out of the way
Wherever the space is, put all his essentials there:
- Water and food bowl
- Blankets or pillows (make it comfortable!)
Step 3: Let Him Know What Babies Are Like
Instead of springing a new baby on him all of the sudden, slowly get him used to the idea.
If you haven’t already, have him interact with young children. If that isn’t an option, get him used to baby noises. Play audio of babies crying and making their usual noises. Over time you can increase the volume to what a real baby would sound like. For more information about using sounds to ready your dog, check out this book for $1.
You should also get him ready for rough handling. Start to touch and poke him in places he’s not used to such as the ears, tail or paws. Remember to be gentle. After a session, reward his good behaviour.
Step 4: Do Your Research
The more research you do, the more comfortable you’ll feel about introducing your dog to your new baby. There’s a few books dedicated to this subject.
- Good Dog, Happy Baby: Preparing Your Dog for the Arrival of Your Child
- Childproofing Your Dog: A Complete Guide to Preparing Your Dog for the Children in Your Life
- Readying Riley: A Much Needed Guide to Preparing Your Fur Baby for Your Human One
If your dog is aggressive and you’re not sure if he’ll be safe around children, hire a professional dog trainer for private lessons. Some trainers do tests that will assess how your dog will act around a baby.
In the video below, dog trainer Zak George gives tips and shows canine owners on how to train their pets to accept their new child (or children).