So, you’re having a baby, as well as all the excitement and anxiety that come along with the pregnancy. We’re sure you’ve read a library worth of baby books and have been baby-proofing your house non-stop. But, have you taken the time to baby-proof your dog? We don’t mean covering your pup in soft padding either. We’re talking about making sure your dog is ready for the arrival of a newborn.
Getting your dog used to the new dynamic in your household is important. You’re not the only one whose life is about to change forever. The sooner you start prepping your pup the better. If you do it right, you’ll have a YouTube worthy meet-cute that is sure to make everyone say “awwwww.”
Teaching New Skills and Commands
Your dog is probably already familiar with the basic set of commands, but it’s important they have them down pat as the due date approaches. Dedicate time to practicing these commands. Like every music teacher always says, “practice doesn’t make perfect. Only perfect practice makes permanent.”
While you don’t have to be a perfectionist, ensuring your dog is familiar with these commands will make him easier to handle when he’s near the fragile baby.
- Sit and Down
- Leave It and Drop It
- Properly Greeting People
- Crate Training
Preparing your Pup for Change
Obvious, the arrival of your baby will change a lot of things about your daily routine and your relationship dynamics. It’s important to think about how this will affect your dog. Changes in schedule can have a big impact on pets, especially dogs who become anxious at the slightest adjustment.
Instead of throwing your pup in the deep end and changing everything all at once, slowly introduce him to the new schedule gradually. You obviously won’t know your exact schedule before the baby arrives, but there are parts of your new daily routine that you can anticipate.
If you know you’re going to walk your dog at different hours of the day, nap in the afternoon when the baby is asleep or wake up earlier than usual, make sure to expose your dog to these changes now. This can at least make the change a lot less jarring.
Teaching Your Dog to Like Children
This seems like an obvious idea but introducing your dog to kids and socializing them with kids can help your dog recognize and establish a connection with the tiny humans. This can be a great way to see how your dog reacts to children and how to teach them to play nicely with kids. Be sure to reward your pup with plenty of treats before, after and during their playdate to positively reinforce the interaction. It might not have worked with your commitment-phobic ex, but it’ll definitely work with your dog.
Bringing the Baby Home and Introductions
After all the preparations, the next big step is introducing your OG baby (your dog) to the new baby (your actual baby). There are a series of ways you can introduce your baby to your dog but ultimately letting the dog approach when they’re ready is the best way to start. Forcing your dog to interact with the baby can create a negative headspace. Let the dog takes its time to examine, sniff and maybe even lick your baby. They won’t become BFFs immediately but hopefully it’ll be a start to their lifelong friendship.
Bringing a baby home is a major life change for you but it’s also a change for your dog, especially for a dog who has never seen a baby before. Listen up, Fido! Babies are just like regular humans but smaller and they can’t stand or walk or do any of the cool things regular-sized humans can!
The presence of the baby will befuddle your furry friend, but with proper preparations, training and treats your dog may soon love your bundle of joy as much as they love you (and it’ll be the cutest thing you’ve ever seen).