Puppies and babies are two of the world’s cutest beings, but what happens when you mix them? Bringing home a new baby to meet your dog can end in harmony with a bit of preparation. Keep a few important pointers in mind and your lovable pair will enjoy a special bond and endless adorable moments.
Set Up The Scene
Dogs will do best with gradual change. It is wise to set up the baby’s nursery and other big items like a bouncer long before baby’s arrival. Get your puppy used to how the home will be set up with a baby ahead of time. Having a consistent environment will ease the transition.
Practice Stroller Walks
Dogs need to be walked and that won’t change after you have a baby. Most likely, you’ll need to walk your dog while pushing a stroller. This new way of walking can be a little rocky as you and your puppy adjust. The pup may also be frightened of the stroller. It will make a world of difference to practice stroller walks while you’re expecting. Teach your dog to stay on one side as you walk.
Play Crying Audio
Babies cry, which can’t be helped. The sound can be stressful to dogs, especially if they’ve never heard it before. It is smart to download some audio of crying babies and play it regularly throughout your pregnancy.
Scent Before Sight
Take something home from the hospital for the puppy to smell before bringing the baby home. Dogs identify people by their scent so this will help familiarize yours before he meets the real thing. A family member might bring the newborn’s hat or blanket home to the dog before mom and baby leave the hospital.
Greet, Then Meet
If possible, greet your dog before showing him the new baby. He will have missed you tremendously and will want to reconnect. After a minute or two, introduce the new family member.
Introduce on Neutral Ground
Dogs are territorial creatures, and they take it upon themselves to guard their homes. Consider putting the baby’s carrier down on the porch and bringing the puppy out to meet her there.
If you know which parent is your dog’s alpha (“leader of the pack”), have that person bring the baby in. This shows the puppy that the baby is trustable and a member of the pack.
Keep Your Puppy’s Routine
Try and keep your dog’s routine as much as you can. Make every attempt to minimize sudden changes to his life. Feeding, walks, and playtime should happen just as it had before the baby. The structure of the routine will comfort your pup. Obviously, you may need to put a few things on hold, but try your best to keep things consistent.
My Toys, Your Toys
Before a baby joins the family, your dog is probably the only one at home with toys. Puppies can easily get confused about which toys are theirs and which are the baby’s. Be consistent with rules for your dog’s contact with baby items and keep whatever you can out of reach.
Brand new parents are naturally anxious about safety hazards. Any little thing is worrisome, especially when it comes to animals. However, dogs pick up on their owners’ feelings. Make sure to use lots of positive reinforcement (read: treats) to help your puppy associate the new baby with good things. Never yell or act harshly with your dog for something with harmless intent, like sniffing the baby.
Puppies are cute and have pure intentions, but your baby’s safety is most important. Never, ever leave a dog and a baby together unsupervised. Stay on your guard when it comes to how close you allow them to get to one another, being especially cautious about the baby’s face. Don’t take any chances with safety.
The relationship between your dog and your child can grow into something unique and special for them both. Take the time and effort to set it up positively. You’ll be glad you did.