If you find out you are expecting and your first thought is “my dog is going to a problem” when your bring your baby home call Sit Happens RVA. In the meantime, here are some steps to take prior to introducing your fur baby to your new baby!
Consult with a professional dog trainer like Sit Happens RVA. They can help you determine what is causing your dog’s behavioral issues, and how to correct them before baby comes home.
Designate a spot where your dog is not allowed. We tend to spend time on the floor with babies, and your dog may struggle to understand this is no longer their space to hang out with you. It may be good to pick a spot in a bedroom, or room with a door so you can keep the dog away.
Introduce baby toys to your home and be sure your dog understands “leave it” and “drop it”. Your dog should understand what toys are theirs well before baby comes home. (Sit Happens RVA’s training packages can help you teach them!)
There are countless sound byte videos on youtube of babies crying. You can use these to help desensitize your dog to the sound. Hey, it might help desensitize you, too!
Have a trusted friend or family member bring clothes home that your baby has worn. Let your pup sniff these clothes and become familiar with baby’s scent.
Remember to have someone walk your dog and play with them while you are at the hospital. They will sense something is happening since their normal routine is disrupted. Making sure they get exercise and attention will help ease that stress.
The day baby is coming home have someone come and get your dog nice and tired. Tired pups are happy pups! And it gives you one less thing to do when you get home from the hospital.
Prior to arrival make sure your dog is in their kennel. You will be carrying not only a baby, but also bags, blankets, etc. Have one less thing to worry about by having your dog put away.
When you have a moment, have some one on one time with your dog. Baby should be with your partner, in their crib, or somewhere away from your dog. You have been away for some time and your dog will have missed you. Give them a chance to say hello and have your undivided attention.
Make sure you are completely comfortable and confident in your dog’s behavior prior to any introductions.
Have your dog on a leash. If you have multiple dogs, introduce one at a time. Have a second person (a relative or partner who is familiar with your dog) hold the dog and allow them to sniff a foot. Don’t allow the baby too close to the dog because maybe move much more sporadically than adults. You don’t want your dog to get spooked by the baby making noises or sudden movements so keep a safe distance. Gradually allow them to sniff and get closer. I would recommend not letting them lick the baby or come in too close of proximity until they have had time to get used to each other. Also you want to start slow in case your baby has a dog allergy.
NEVER leave your dog and baby unsupervised-no matter how well your dog is behaving. Don’t even turn your back for a second while they are in close proximity.
If you’re struggling with your dog’s behavior and need guidance before your new addition is born, call Sit Happens RVA!