3 S’s of Preparing your Dog for Your New Baby
Really, this should be “How I prepared my dog for our first baby”… I don’t know your dog. I only know mine. So this is what we did.
Support curiosity – Zora was very curious about the new baby things that started coming into our house. She wanted to smell everything. Every. Thing. And I wanted her to get used to the changes. I made sure she got the chance to do that. When I was organizing things in the baby-room-to-be, I’d invite Zora into the room with me. If I brought something home from a store, I let her sniff the bag and the items as I unpacked them.
Set limits – Unless you want your dog to think baby toys = dog toys, be sure to closely supervise everything. I let Zora sniff the baby toys, but if she tried to put her mouth on them, I would tell her not to (and redirect her to one of her own toys). If she tried to climb onto the baby’s bed, I told her to get off of it. Curiosity was fine and good, but I wanted her to know she wasn’t the owner of these new things.
Supervise – The dog is going to be curious about the baby once she arrives. (I say “she” because my first baby for the dog to get used to was a girl.) Again, you don’t want to make the baby a taboo off-limits person. After all, you don’t send your dog out of the room for trying to smell your shoes when you’ve been somewhere. The baby is another human in the house… just make sure encounters are supervised. Even “good” dogs can get a bit carried away when you least expect them to, so make sure you don’t leave the baby alone with the dog. LET the dog sniff the baby. Maybe even let the dog lick the baby a little if that doesn’t gross you out too much. Invite the dog to sit beside you when you’re holding the baby. Reward gentle, positive behavior, and correct/redirect the dog if things get a little too intense or exciting.
Soon your dog will view your new baby as another member of the family, another person to protect and love unconditionally.
Do you have any other tips for getting your “fur babies” ready for your human baby?
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Great article!! When I was pregnant with my first child, Sara I used a book called Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby. It was really helpful and came with a CD of sounds. Max (my fur child!) took some time to get used to the sounds but the book helped on how to do it. Maybe that will help someone else!