It would be great if preparing your dog for the arrival of a new infant was as easy as giving them a book to read!
But there are many things you can do to get your dog adjusted to the idea of a new human addition.
Before Baby Arrives:
- Make sure your dog has basic training. Learning Sit, Down, Come, and Stay will be helpful. Take a class with your dog. It is also a great way to bond and spend time with your canine buddy.
- Bring home a life-size baby doll that cries and moves and carry it around,
- Purchase a CD with the sounds of infants crying on it and play it occasionally to de-sensitize the dog to that new noise in the house
- If possible, bring home one of the baby’s blankets from the hospital before the baby comes home and let the dog smell it to get used to the new smell
- Go ahead and establish the rules for the nursery. If the dog will not be allowed in the room, begin teaching that in a positive manner before the baby comes home. Perhaps install a baby gait in the door way. Always reward and praise the dog for staying outside the room.
When You Bring Baby Home:
- Make sure the dog still gets plenty of attention and exercise once the baby comes home. Try to be inclusive with dog and baby instead of keeping the dog separate from the baby. Make the dog think the baby is a great addition. Toss the dog treats when you are changing or holding the baby.
- When Mom first arrives home from the hospital, the dog will probably be very excited to see her and may jump – so make sure you have help and someone else should probably carry the baby for safety purposes. Mom should give the dog a warm welcome to let him or her know she missed them too.
- Never leave baby alone and unsupervised with the dog