Baby & Dog Relationship Tips
Dogs and babies can make the best of friends, but little humans are still learning how to interact with their furry friends. From grabbing chunks of fur to high pitched shrieks, your growing baby will likely get on your dog’s nerves at some point. Luckily there are a few things you can do to help the relationship between your dog and your baby grow and thrive.
Emphasize Gentle Touch
As infants become mobile, their curiosity grows. They may begin to grab or pull on your dog. These unpredictable movements can frighten the dog, and they will probably not feel good.
From the start, model a gentle way to pet and touch your pup. It’s best to begin teaching a gentle touch before a problem occurs.
Babies need to learn in an explicit, hands-on way. Stick with a simple term, like “gentle touch” as you show your baby how you pet the dog. Let them have a chance to try, and praise their success.
Immediately separate whenever your child’s touch is too rough. Not only will this enforce what is right and what is wrong in the baby’s mind, but it also keeps the dog safe.
For smaller or more sensitive dogs, you may want to teach a two-finger pet. This way of petting is very light and it prevents any impulsive fur grabbing.
Keep Toys Separate
Both human babies and fur babies will have toys, and it’s important to establish whose are whose. This can cause conflict on both sides. Don’t assume that either the dog or the baby will know if a plaything belongs to them or not.
Keep baby toys and dog toys separate as much as possible. Be very consistent in your expectations in the case that one gets ahold of the other’s toy. The last thing you want is for your dog to destroy your baby’s favorite plaything. Neither do you want your dog in a state of stress because the baby has his toy.
Let The Pup Eat in Peace
Animals do not like to be disturbed while they are eating. What might be otherwise normal play is not necessarily ok during meal time. Dogs can become anxious and annoyed if a baby bothers them while they’re at their bowl.
For this reason, do your best to create a baby-free space for your pup to munch his grub. Even loud sounds can irritate the dog while he eats, so it’s ideal if you feed your dog while the baby is out of the room. Of course, you’ll also want to make sure your baby doesn’t try to eat the dog food!
Meet Your Dogs Need For Play and Attention
Do not neglect your dog’s needs because you are too busy caring for your baby. Dogs need more than just food and forgetting this can lead to behavior problems and conflicts.
Dogs need to exercise and play. Depending on the breed, your dog needs anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours of time for vigorous movement. They also need human engagement. This meets their need for relationships, attention, and comfort.
Anytime your baby and your dog are together, you or another adult needs to be there too. This is for obvious safety reasons, but it’s also so that you can see any conflicts between the two as soon as they arrive, and swiftly intervene. Always keep them both safe.
Not all dogs will get annoyed with their baby humans. Some pups are very laid back. If that’s the case, there’s no need to intervene. However, it’s important to remember that babies are developing at a crazy fast rate, and their behavior may change drastically over a short period. So be on the lookout for any issues with your dog. As long as you pay attention, you can help them get back on track as best friends forever.