With the collaboration of: Dr. Valerio Paini, veterinary surgeon.
You will have a newborn baby. The happiness is unspeakable, but there is always a bit of worry when you know that you are going to have a baby and a dog that is beside you at all times.
How will the dog react to the arrival of the newborn? With frequent crying? Surely you will have less time and energy to devote to your dog. Will he suffer?
Fortunately, with a little planning, there will be no problems.
An important point to remember is this. The sooner you prepare your dog, the better.
Here are some tips.
- Prepare the dog for the arrival of the newborn already a few months before birth.
- If possible, as soon as you know a newborn is coming, do a brief basic dog training.
- Change habits gradually before baby arrives.
- Stroller Training
- Dog and baby-in-home. How to introduce him.
Prepare the dog for the arrival of the newborn already a few months before birth.
The dog will notice that something is changing.
For example, he sees that you are changing the arrangement of furniture in your rooms. You purchase materials or items that you and the future baby will need.
Such as a high chair, changing table, baby carriage. It is advisable to buy them well in advance, to let the dog get used to these objects.
It is not true that the dog “feels” the baby coming, but he notices the changes, both of the house and of your behavior, and this can disturb and alarm him.
You should make these changes gradually, not suddenly in a few days or weeks, so that the animal can gradually adapt.
To get him used to the “soundtrack” of the newborn, you could play him videos of babies crying, which you can find on the net.
Also, to accustom him to the smells of the baby, you can make him smell the products that you will use for his hygiene, such as cleansing creams, or lotions, or other. Same for the clothes that the newborn will use in the first weeks.
If possible, as soon as you know a newborn is coming, do a brief basic dog training.
The dog should learn basic commands, such as sitting, or lying down, or standing still for that period of time you might need to care for the baby, such as changing his diaper. Without him jumping on you all happy.
Make sure the dog is perfectly healthy and vaccinated.
To avoid the risk of transmitted diseases, it is important that your dog has completed his vaccinations, dewormed and treated to prevent fleas and ticks, as well as checked by your Vet.
Change habits gradually before baby arrives.
Since you will have less time to devote to the dog, it is better to habituate him before the birth.
Although it’s not easy to predict your new schedule, when your newborn arrives, try to plan your activities, and their duration, based on the new family organization. For example, if you used to take long walks, that you believe are difficult to maintain, you can already gradually reduce them.
Decide also the rooms of the house where the dog will not be allowed to go, for example the child’s room and start as soon as possible to close it with a door or a gate.
Another thing to avoid is to increase “cuddling” the days before the new baby arrives, in anticipation of when you won’t have time. Going from hours of extra cuddling to almost being ignored will not be very pleasant for your dog.
Sometimes the dog may be frightened when he first sees this strange cart with 3 or 4 wheels. He needs some time to get used to it.
So, then, before birth, you can go out with the dog and the empty stroller, to let him smell and explore it, so that he starts to get familiar with this object.
Dog and baby-in-home. How to introduce him.
The baby is born. You’re still in the hospital and you’re being discharged tomorrow. What to do about the dog?
Don’t expect him to instinctively accept the newborn as part of the family right away.
In fact, a newborn is just perfect for annoying and scaring the dog. It screams suddenly and often, with loud cries, it smells funny that the dog doesn’t know, and it’s always moving, with sudden jerks, if it’s not sleeping. And mom and dad rush in immediately, worrying, and ignoring the dog.
So what to do?
Start preparing the dog already after giving birth, before arriving home.
You can bring home a blanket or small dress impregnated with the newborn’s smells. Then have the dog sniff them.
As soon as you get home, cuddle and greet the dog quietly. Very carefully, always with you there, you can let the dog come up to sniff the newborn, always with you holding him and at a safe distance so that he doesn’t touch him.
If you notice that the dog is excited or barking, or wants to play intensely, take the baby away.
A key thing is to never scold or punish the dog in the presence of the child, otherwise it is possible that the dog will associate the baby with something negative and unpleasant.
What to watch out for.
Continuous and careful supervision of your dog is essential when he is in the house.
Never leave the dog and infant (or even older child) alone in the same room.
This is because animal behavior is unpredictable in any case, and the baby may make noises or gestures that can scare the dog.
But don’t forget to give the dog lots of compliments when he behaves appropriately, such as gently approaching the child and not jumping on him.