Introducing your dog to your newborn is an essential part of making sure that your family remains safe and happy. However, training your dog (much like preparing your other children) to handle a new baby in the home has to begin long before the baby is born. With careful preparation, specialized Orlando dog training, and diligence from the entire family, your furry friend will soon learn to be gentle and calm around the house and especially around your newborn.
Start Preparations Early
Preparing your dog for the newborn should begin as soon as you find out you are pregnant. These preparations should include:
- Gradually decrease the amount of attention you give your pup.
- Gradually adjust them to any schedule changes (different eating/walking times).
- Expose your dog to baby sounds and smells early, increasing the volume as the pup learns ways to cope and remain calm.
- Use a doll to set boundaries with the dog’s proximity and actions around baby.
- If you don’t have any children at home already, acclimate your dog to children by walking past a playground or school.
- Invest in dog training classes so your dog understands commands and can perform them under any circumstances .
- Teach your dog to stay off of furniture.
After Your Baby Is Born
Bringing a helper (like your spouse) with you to introduce your dog to the new baby will be an enormous help in case the situation gets out of hand. When bringing baby home, you should:
- Make sure to provide enough stimulating activities for your dog.
- If you can’t do that yourself, think about hiring a pet sitter or a dog walker.
- Allow the dog time to sniff and acknowledge you and any other person who lives in your home before introducing the newborn.
- If you have multiple pets, it’s a good idea for them to all meet the baby at the same time.
- Keep your pets on a leash while introducing them to the baby.
Watch for Signs of Stress
If your dog seems normal at first, they may develop signs of stress or needing attention later, so it is important for you to be conscious of how your pet is acting on average. If you notice any misbehavior, contact our professional dog trainers right away, and don’t punish your pup for them as this could make a stressful dog even more upset. Look for signs such as:
- Growling at strangers, or even members of your own family.
- Misbehaving for attention (getting into the trash, chewing shoes, digging in the yard, etc.).
- Other signs of aggression, particularly without warning.
- Tense body language.
- Frequent barking.
- Panting or freezing.
If your dog is properly trained, feels comfortable with the added member of the family, and you are careful to make sure they are receiving the attention and stimulation they need, you will find that your dog will form a beautiful bond with your new baby, one which will last a lifetime. However, it takes careful preparation and dedicated dog training to get there. We recommend starting your dog training classes in the fifth or sixth month of your pregnancy, so sign up today and see how we can help make your family safe, happy, and whole.