For many dogs, adding a human baby to the house is a major blow. Preparing your dog for the baby’s arrival in the early stages of your adoption or pregnancy can provide you with the support and training you need to be a model canine citizen. First thing is that It’s never too late to train your dog.

If you want to add a new baby to your family, it will certainly be a great transition for everyone in the house, especially if your dog is the only “kid” in the house. As it is necessary to share your attention, it is important to keep track of the dog’s training so that your puppy is also prepared for the new bundle of joy.

 The best time to train your puppy for the newborn child is at the beginning of pregnancy or when you are preparing for the arrival of your adopted baby. 

Train your Puppy for the arrival of the new baby

dog playing with baby

We were lucky, but it’s better not to dive unprepared. The more you do before your baby arrives, the more you can make the transition easier for everyone.

 Make a Plan

Whether your furry friend is a dog, cat, or any other animal, the first thing you need to do is make a plan. Therefore, you should take advantage of the period of pregnancy to prepare your cat or dog for the arrival of the baby. The ASPCA recommends enrolling your dog in basic obedience classes and moving your cat’s litter box to a more private area. You should also set up nursery furniture and toys as soon as possible, as this gives your cat several weeks to examine each surface before declaring it off-limits. 

Familiarize your pet with common sounds and smells of babies 

baby-puppy-fast-asleep

Newborns are noisy. After all, they can only transmit discomfort, hunger, uncomfortable, sadness, aggression, or exhaustion through crying. But the extra excitement can be overwhelming for small animals. Dogs and cats can be desperate, frustrated, and excited. To avoid this, the ASPCA recommends giving your pet common sounds and smells before the baby arrives. In fact, they suggest using recordings of baby sounds in combination with treats to help their animals create associations. 

Shift Routines and Pet Care Responsibility 

Everything will change when your child arrives, for you and your pets. The duration of daily walks can be shortened, it is almost certain that the routine will change and both feeding and playing time will be affected. The AKC recommends gradually changing schedules or caregivers before the newborn child so that your pet does not associate the changes with the new baby. Of course, there are more than just schedule changes along the way. 

You can experiment with taking the empty stroller out for a walk so that your dog gets used to the new system right from the start. This allows you to overcome challenges without the stress of a newborn child in the mix. You can also hire a dog sitter or walker to stay and ease some of the burdens on you. 

Establish new rules

 It is important to set boundaries before the child is born. Otherwise, your pet may be upset about his new bundle of joy. It’s also easier to enforce these rules ahead of time if you’re not living in bad and an emotional haze and insomniac. The same goes for sleeping arrangements, if your pet is used to sleeping in your bed or room and you want that to change, it’s important that you make these changes as soon as possible. 

Bring home blankets or rompers that your baby wore before discharge. One of the most popular and well-known ways to introduce your furry baby to your newborn child is to bring home your child’s blanket or first outfit. This allows your pet to become familiar with the scent of the baby before the first introduction. You’ve done the prep work, you feel ready, but what if you really bring your new baby home for the first time.

Make an introduction to your newborn on your pet’s terms

baby

Once you and the baby are back home, you’ll want to officially introduce your dog or cat to the newest member of your family. When you get home from the hospital first, greet your cat or dog the same way you always do. This prevents dogs from jumping and calming their nerves. Once you have had your meeting quiet, you can welcome family and friends who may be visiting. It’s better to wait until things relax and take some time so that your pet can get to know your baby.

Supervise all interactions

You should never leave your child or toddler unattended with a pet, regardless of their temperament or behavior as many things can go wrong. Your new baby or furry baby could be injured and feel nervous. So monitor every interaction. If necessary, step in and give your cat or dog space. Forced gatherings can be harmful and result in scratches and bites. The AKC also recommends keeping your dog on a short leash for at least a few days when you first become familiar with the new baby. Behaviorist says that taking care of your new baby and your furry baby can be overwhelming, at least in the early days. But with a little preparation and a lot of patience, you’ll find space in your home (and in your heart) for your four-legged friend and your new little companion. 

Socializing Your Dogs to Babies and Kids

poppy

Many young couples acquire a puppy early in the relationship, long before the appearance of the first baby. The puppy is a rented child, and the couple goes with him, takes him anywhere, allows him to sleep on the furniture, and even shares the double bed. For several years now, the dog has enjoyed its status as an only child. The couple tends to socialize with other childless adults and the dog rarely sees human babies. Then, the couple decides it’s time to have a baby. Now they have a problem. 

Puppies go through a critical phase of learning during their first months of life. During this time, usually between four weeks and four months of age, they learn what things are safe and rewarding in the world, that they are painful and dangerous and should be avoided and that they have no consequences. 

Anything that is not experienced during this critical phase automatically falls into the category of “dangerous”. If they don’t know for sure that something is harmless, they’re more likely to act like it isn’t. That’s the problem. If a puppy doesn’t learn that children are “safe and rewarding” during these critical months, they probably assume they pose a threat. 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/before-you-bring-home-baby-heres-how-to-prep-your-pets

https://www.rover.com/blog/how-to-really-introduce-dogs-baby-myths-reality-in/

https://www.caninejournal.com/dogs-and-newborns/

Further Reading: 

Sam Hall, Introducing Your Dog To The New Baby: Illustrated, helpful parenting advice for nurturing your baby or child by Ideal Parent Kindle Edition