Preparing for the coming of a new baby is a joyous and wonderful time. It can also be nerve-wracking, especially if you are a first-time parent. However, you may even feel more anxious if you have a furbaby. Is it safe to have a newborn baby and a pet in your family? Do you have to give up your pet?
The good news is, no, you don’t need to give up your pet dog. Some families have successfully introduced their babies and pets to each other. With planning and some precautions, you can help your pet adjust from a baby-free home to one that is centered on a newborn.
You have to remember that bringing home a newborn can be an exciting time for you and your spouse, but may be confusing for your beloved furbaby. It can even be terrifying once the baby starts crying. The baby is nothing that your dog has smelled before. It is new, it is strange, therefore it is scary.
If you don’t know it yet, your beloved pet can get jealous. If your pet was the center of your world before, now, a small crying creature is taking its place as the center of your universe.
Enroll Your Dog in a Dog Academy
If you want your dog to be more obedient, enroll him or her in a dog training class. Professional dog trainers can help you address behavioral issues that your dog may have. It will be easier to tame and prepare your dog once the baby comes home.
Boot camps, private sessions, and dog training group classes are available for dogs of all ages. Obedience courses can help establish you as the pack leader of your household to encourage your pet dog’s obedient behavior. Having firm control over your dog’s behavior can make it easier for you to manage him once the baby is home.
Some important and basic skills that your dog should have include, but are not limited to:
- Stay and wait
- Leave it
- Drop it
- Go away
Prepare Your Dog
Dogs, even humans, experience anxiety when their lifestyle is changed all of a sudden. You can help minimize your dog’s anxiety by helping him get used to the new routines once the baby is out.
Plan your activities when the baby comes. You may not have it spot on, but you may have some fair ideas about how your schedule will be. You probably will move your walks in the afternoon since you will be staying up all night with the baby. If you are walking your dog in the mornings, you may want to start switching to your new schedule. If you cannot set a fixed walking schedule, get your dog used to spontaneous walks.
If there will be a change in who will walk the dog, you should slowly start now. If you want the dog to get used to just whoever walks him when the baby comes, slowly get him used to it. The same can be done if there will be a change in who will give him doggy care.
You should also prepare your dog for changes in his sleeping habits. If your dog is sleeping with you in the same bed, you may need to change this when the baby arrives. You can prepare and place a new bed for your pet. You can have your dog sleep in another room or a pen. If this is your plan, you should start as early as now. Any change of habit should be done gradually and slowly so as not to shock the dog.
Introduce Your Dog to the Idea of Having a Baby in the House
Another way to prepare your dog is to get him used to the idea of having a baby in the house. Bring in baby supplies in the house and introduce them to your dog. You can bring in some toys, a high chair, and a crib, among many others.
You should also get the dog used to a baby’s smell. You can start using the baby soap and shampoo that you plan to use for your baby. This way, your dog will associate the scent with a familiar person. If you have friends who have a baby, you can borrow an article of clothing with a baby’s smell and let your dog get used to the smell of an infant.
You can also play a movie with a baby and press repeat on the baby’s sounds. This will let your dog be familiar with baby sounds, so he will not get spooked when he hears the baby’s cries and coos for the first time.
You can always seek the help of professional trainers if you feel that you are beyond your element. Remember to never leave your baby alone with your dog, no matter how much you trust him. You should also avoid making the dog feel out of place when the baby is around. Give him attention, while making him used to the presence of your baby.