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How To Introduce Your Dog To A New Baby

Puppies and babies are natural friends. We’ve all seen that video of the puppy falling asleep on it’s miniature owner, right? Right. Of course we have. So there’s absolutely no need to be nervous about having two little ones in the same home (one hairy, one less so) – you just need to make sure their first meeting goes off without a hitch!

Before birth…

  • Reward calm behaviours.
    If you’ve got a misbehaved dog, now is the time to get serious about discipline. Reward calmness and be on high alert for any signs of aggression or hyperactivity. It may be the case that you just have to start taking your dog training more seriously, but if it doesn’t seem to be working or the behaviours are too ingrained, it’s a good idea to consult a professional.
  • Invest in a good pram.
    You’ll have to make sure that it’s possible to both push your pram and walk your dog at the same time, so bear that in mind when you go pram-shopping! Go on a few test drives with an empty pram and your dog on a lead to make sure that it’s comfortable, and that your dog doesn’t feel too alarmed by the pram presence once baby arrives.
  • If possible, familiarise your dog with children.
    Know any family members or friends with little ones? Provided they’re comfortable with it, try to let your dog socialise with toddlers or babies as much as possible. That was they can get accustomed to the smells, sights and sounds of children as much as possible before your new arrival.
  • Establish boundaries.
    No matter how sweet, kind, old or harmless your dog may be, it’s still a very good idea to keep the nursery out of bounds. After all, you can’t constantly have eyes in every room. So, when you’re putting together the nursery, make it very clear that this is no-dog zone. Don’t let them brings any toys or treats into the room, and keep the door firmly closed when you aren’t around.
  • Make any schedule changes now, not later.
    If you know that your way of life will be changing it’s a good idea to start mixing it up as soon as you can during your pregnancy. If your dog is used to a 4pm-like-clockwork walk, but that’s when your midwife appointments are scheduled to be, change it to a 5pm walk as soon as you can.

dog looking at baby

Whilst you’re in hospital…

  • Make sure the nursery is totally dog-free.
    If you’ve kept the nursery dog-free throughout pregnancy then this shouldn’t be an issue, but if your naughty pooch has snuck in on occasion then ask a friend or family member to ensure it’s a dog-free zone before you return. Nothing will stop your four-legged friend from sniffing out their favourite tennis ball – especially not a baby!
  • Leave some baby items in the home.
    Once you’ve had the baby you’ll likely remain in hospital for a few days, at which point your partner, friend or family member will have time to pop back and forth to your home. During these times, leave baby-scented items around the home, such as a blanket or small item of clothing. This will help the dog familiarise to the smell before the baby arrives.
  • Make sure dog is well exercised & calm.
    Definitely don’t neglect your dog whilst you’re away! Sure, they might not seem quite so important as usual, but there’s absolutely nothing worse to come back to than a stressed out and neglected dog. Ask your family members to help out or hire a professional so that your dog is well exercised and calm when you return.

When you bring the baby home…

  • Make sure you enter the home before your baby.
    Your dog will be over the moon to see you (and anyone else who’s been away), so make will likely be very excitable when you first get back. Head in before your baby and ask a helper to bring the baby in a few minutes later so that your dog can get all their excitement out of their system before the little one arrives.
  • Put your dog on their lead.
    Again, they might be the sweetest dog in the world, but it simply isn’t worth the risk – so make sure they’re on their lead when you do bring the baby into the house.
  • Stay calm & relaxed.
    Dogs are pack animals and will respond to the energy of their pack leader – which is you! So if you’re nervous and on edge, your dog inevitably will pick up on those vibes. Remain calm, relaxed and happy and continue to reassure your dog with a light tone of voice and lots of strokes.
  • Never leave them alone, especially when baby is on the floor.
    No matter how much you trust and love your dog, they’re still exactly that – a dog. And even the loveliest dog in the world will have a very different way of showing your baby his affection than you, so make sure they’re never left alone.
  • Don’t neglect your pup.
    They were there first, after all! It’s inevitable that you won’t be able to give your dog quite as much attention as you used to (at least, not straight away), but that doesn’t mean others can’t. Websites like BorrowMyDoggy are great for finding flexible dog sitters or walkers, making sure your dog continues to receive all the attention they deserve.

dog and child

Dogs and children are natural best friends, and if you keep everything careful and calm during those first few months there’s no reason why they can’t grow up together. They’re part of the same family, after all!

Do you have any tips and tricks for introducing a dog to a new arrival? We’d love to hear them! Send us your stories on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll be sure to share our favourites.

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