You have a dog… now you have a baby too. How do you ensure that they hit it off?
The first-time meeting is critical.
General Commands & Lessons
Teaching your dog some of the general commands, like sit and stay, will help tremendously. One tendency that dogs are prone to fall into is jumping. This is a big no-no, especially around babies. Giving your dog the proper training and lessons to learn before meeting the baby will make the interaction just what it needs to be to create a strong bond between the two.
Preparing for the big change is very crucial, so doing it the right way will make all the difference. You don’t want to leave your dog high and dry by not transitioning them into this new season of life, so learning how to train your dog will do wonders for everyone in the end.
The Perks of Dog & Baby Interactions
Pets are known to cause a large improvement on emotional health in many ways, so when debating whether or not your dog would be suitable to have a gentle and kind relationship with your baby, don’t worry one bit. Teaching your dog the proper etiquette of interacting with your baby can either really change the relationship.
Whether it’s finding a dog trainer to help you with the transition, or trying out some tips on your own, your dog will appreciate the time you spend on them to make everyone happy when the time comes.
Below, we have broken it down into what to do before the baby arrives, when the baby arrives and what to do as the baby gets older!
Before The Baby Arrives
1. Decrease the attention you give your dog in preparation for the baby.
Lessening the amount of play time with your dog will help him learn that there will be time you have to spend away with the baby. Whether this means only taking your dog on a walk once a day or a shorter session of fetch. He will learn that not all of your time is his. You can still spend some quality time with your dog, just not every waking minute of your day will be devoted to him.
2. Adjust your dog to the new smell.
Introducing your dog to scents like baby powder, baby lotion, or letting him smell a burp cloth will do the trick. The smell of a baby is like none other, so letting your dog have a little exposure to it will help him be comfortable and familiar before the baby comes.
3. Set your boundaries with baby gates.
This will be especially important in the nursery. While the baby is still young and naïve, it can be frightening to have your dog jump up on the side of the crib or run all around you when you are trying to change their diaper on the changing table.
This could also be applied for a playroom, where the child’s toys and swings are held, or any room you would like dedicated to just the baby and other humans.
Placing a baby gate in the doorway to those rooms and letting your dog know that the gate means to not enter will establish great boundaries for any dog who likes to put their nose in just about everything.
4. Find a spot for your dog to claim as his place.
Dedicate a spot in the house for play time and a time for relaxing. When the company or activities get to be too chaotic, this will give your dog an area in the house where he can go calm down and take a breather. This will also keep the stress away from you to refrain from the dog being caught under your feet whenever you are trying to walk around.
When The Baby Arrives
5. Approach the dog alone before bringing the baby.
When the newborn is brought into the house for the first time, all of the excitement can overwhelm the dog and cause him to get hyper. When entering the house with the baby, walk to the dog alone to let him know that he will get attention, but he also needs to be calm. This will set the right tone for the baby to come into a safe environment.
6. Keep the dog on a leash during the first-time encounter.
This will help make sure that in case of any random jumping, the baby will not be scratched. Once the dog is sitting and calm, the leash can be taken off.
7. Supervise your dog and baby’s interactions.
For everyone’s safety, keep an eye on both the baby and dog whenever they interact in the early stages. No matter if your dog is trained or not, it is a good idea to always watch the two interact to keep a safe environment.
8. Find ways to help release your dog’s energy.
Instead of letting your dog bounce off the walls around the baby, find other venues for him to let out all of his energy. This could be taking your dog to the park, going on a walk around the neighborhood, or playing fetch in the backyard. It’s better for your dog to learn that there is a time and a place for rough-housing, as well as taking it easy and calming down. Upon bringing your dog inside from playing and running around outside, show him that once he reaches the front door, he needs to settle down for the relaxing environment inside the home.
After The Baby Has Been Around For a Bit
9. Adjust the baby to the dog as they get older.
As babies grow up and begin to crawl, they will show fascination of dogs. They are realizing that dogs are not the same as humans, and they are actually comical. They have tails that wag, they walk on four legs, and they are covered in fur. But it is important to show your child that dogs are not to be treated wrongly, like pulling their tails or grabbing their necks and ears. If this happens, your dog could get upset and potentially snap at your baby.
10. Don’t forget about your dog.
While it is important to show your dog that there is a new child in the house that needs a great amount of attention, he should still be able to get some kind of love and affection. While the baby is taking a nap or in the care of your spouse, relative, or friend, make sure to show your dog that he is not forgotten. There area lot of new changes in the house, but your dog will always have someone to love him
Training Will Increase Your Dog Affection for Each Other
Showing your dog the appropriate measures when interacting with your little one will give him the obedience and understanding in the future when he meets another baby of yours or any other child he sees in passing.
Training is essential to the bond between your dog and your baby. It is also essential that you know that it takes time and effort for this bond to grow. As your child grows, they will need to learn new boundaries and rules when it comes to their interaction. As your dog grows, he will most likely become less and less energetic. The natural progression of growing up will benefit them both in the future, but taking these precautions in the beginning when thinking about having a dog and a baby together will ultimately create a safe and healthy environment for everyone. It will all be worth it.
If you are having a baby and needing help introducing your pup, give us a call and lets do a FREE consultation. Click Here to schedule your free consultation.