Introducing your Dog and Baby

Your dog has watched and sniffed around curiously as you prep, paint and put together the baby’s nursery. Change is coming and your pup senses it. The newest addition to your family is on the way. What does that mean for your firstborn (your dog)?

Follow these tips for a smooth introduction between your pup and your infant.

Behavior adjustment.

While you nest, it’s also time to work out any behavioral kinks with your dog. It’s important that you are seen as the leader of the household and can maintain control of your pup. Hire a professional to help if needed.

Find a dog sitter.

You’ll probably be in the hospital for a couple of nights with your infant. Line up a sitter to watch your dog at home so your pup can stay comfortable and relaxed. Call in some favors if you have to — this is the time in your life when it’s important to lean on family and friends.

Take it easy.

If you are calm and relaxed, then your dog will be too. You won’t have to worry about the baby yanking on the dog’s ears or tail for at least a few months. This will give your pup plenty of time to warm up to the baby and for the two of them to build a tight relationship. As your baby grows, follow these guidelines to introducing dogs and kids.

Introduce through smell first.

Bring home the scent of your new baby on a gently worn onesie, burp cloth or blanket. Demonstrate that you are in charge of this new smell.  While maintaining control, slowly introduce the item for your dog to sniff.

A tired dog is a good dog.

Drain all of your pup’s energy before the big introduction. You’ll have a better handle on the situation if your dog is calm. Go for a long walk, run him or her in the backyard or play a game of fetch. This will ensure your pup is nice and mellow.

Purify the air.
Your infant’s little body is adjusting to a whole new world. Before your baby arrives, clean as much as possible to remove hair and pet dander. Consider purchasing an air purifier for the nursery.

Keep it status quo.
Don’t forget to show your dog that he or she is still an important part of the household. Maintain your routine of daily walks, feedings and close companionship.

If your dog becomes increasingly agitated because of the baby’s presence, and you don’t feel 100% comfortable with the new situation, you may need to consider that some dogs and babies don’t mix well. Listen to your gut. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to protect the well being of your newborn baby.



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Introducing your Dog and Baby

February 10, 2016