Bringing home a new baby rocks everyone’s world, including your dog’s. You want your first baby to love your new baby and not feel resentful of the family addition. Big changes are inevitable, but you can still make sure your dog feels loved and everyone gets along.
Here are a few strategies to make this transition smoother for you and your babies.
Prepare Before Baby’s Arrival
Work on any behavioral concerns with your dog before your baby arrives. Doggy School or even watching YouTube training videos can help you with any specific challenges. The more you practice the behavioral goal to prepare for your growing family, the smoother the transition will be. Consistency is always the key!
Here are some suggestions of focus areas:
- Basic commands: sit, stay, lay down, leave it
- Walking well on a leash so Fluffy can go on leisurely strolls with you and your baby
- Not jumping up on people- this is especially important during your pregnancy and when you have a baby in your arms
- Not barking on command so your little one can sleep through Amazon package deliveries
Remember that all baby related items will be new to your dog, such as your baby’s car seat, crib, and the new nursery. Anything you can do in advance will make your dog feel more comfortable with the changes. Even bringing an empty car seat through the front door several times or taking your dog on a walk with a stroller will be beneficial to you both.
Introduce Baby’s Smell First
After you’ve delivered (or adopted) your bundle of joy, send your partner or a family member home with a baby blanket, hat, or something that your newborn has worn. (Like those günamüna pjs that you couldn’t wait to snuggle your baby in!) The goal is that the item that goes home to your dog will smell like your baby. Give Fluffy a chance to smell the blanket or pjs and become familiar with the scent. This will help your dog adjust to the newcomer more calmly because the smell will
be old news.
Your dog will likely be very excited to see you after your stay at the hospital. It might be best for you to give your baby to your partner so you can have a chance to say hello before any introductions are made. Then, when everyone is calm, ASPCA advises that you put your dog on a leash so you have full control of the situation. Keeping your baby safe is priority number one, so make sure you have a plan and some assistance. Because you want Fluffy to have only positive associations with your baby, have some treats handy. Give your dog treats as he’s becoming aware of the new family member, dividing his attention between treats and baby. Avoid yelling, scolding, or any stressful behavior that might create tension. Keep everything calm, positive, and take it nice and slow.
Ask for Help
Your schedule will definitely change after you have a baby, but consider the routine your four legged friend is accustomed to: a daily walk? Breakfast and dinner at a specific time? The first few months of your baby’s life is special and full of new challenges; ask for help with these tasks. If your dog has a lot of energy and needs frequent exercise, plan for this in advance so you can focus on your baby and healing while a family member or hired dog walker wears out Fluffy. Once you’ve had time to recover, get the whole family out for a walk and enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and time together.
We know your dog is an important member of your family. The more prepared you are before you bring your baby home, the easier the transition will be for everyone. Some basic training, a lot of treats, and little love will help to create a lifelong bond for your babies.
Check out ASPCA for more information on how to make this crucial introduction and lifetime friendship a success.
Love, your günamüna team