When Dog, Owner & Baby make three!
If your first “child” was a comforting canine, then be thoughtful and take time to prepare your dog for the little, gurgling human that’s about to become your newest source of pride and joy.
A newborn needs a proper introduction especially in families where a dog, a four-legged baby, has been the glimmer in everyone’s eye for a couple of years. Petland recommends the introduction process begin way before the newborn arrives.
Obedience training given to your dog several months in advance can help a great deal. If your dog understands basic commands for sit, stay, come, and heel, then you can give some positive instructions to your pet when the baby also occupies the home.
A dog, living with little or no exposure to children, will need to be integrated. You can start the process by asking the children of friends and neighbors over to your home to play with Peppy. This way the dog will learn what to expect from children in the way of noise and actions.
Starting to withdraw attention from your pet three or four months before the baby is born will help your pet adapt to the fact that he will no longer be the center of all household activities. This will advert some attention and jealousy problems.
Just before the baby arrives home, it is recommended that some of the infant’s clothes, blankets, and toys be brought home from the hospital for a sniff preview. This will familiarize your pet with the baby.
When mother and child do arrive home, mother should not be carrying baby. In fact, having a grandparent do the carrying is probably best because the first “child” (dog) will want some attention after feeling a bit abandoned during the hospital stay. This also will protect the baby from the pogo stick-like bouncing of an excited, happy-to-see-you canine.
The first introduction between dog and baby should be guarded. One guardian should hold the baby and one, the dog. A dog collar and leash should be used for restraint. Your dog’s behavior should be monitored closely when introductions are made. Any growls or signs of dislike from the dog towards the baby should end the session, and a professional dog trainer in your area should be called for help. If the dog is just excited about the meeting, then work on calming him and try again later.
Above all, Petland pet counselors recommend not rushing the introduction. It is extremely important that you remain calm. Your dog will pick up on your tension. When you are finally able to get the dog near enough to smell the baby, then talk very sweetly, praising your dog. You should be letting your dog associate only good feelings with this new little being and repeat this often.
Although your dog may seem to love your newborn as much as you do, Peppy cannot be fully trusted. NEVER leave our dog and baby alone together even for a few seconds.