So, a baby’s on the way! Congrats. The arrival of a new baby is a big deal. You’ve got a lot to do to prepare, and like any good dog parent, you want your fur baby to be ready too.
It’s important to make sure your dog is ready for what’s coming, they’ll need to learn to respect the baby’s space, adjust to a new schedule and get prepared for new smells and noises in the house.
Fortunately, we’re here to help you out. We’ve put together this handy guide that will walk you through the steps needed to prepare your dog for a new baby; so they are ready to welcome your bundle of joy into your home with open paws and wagging tails.
Where To Start
Your dog is the best pregnancy buddy you could ask for, so make sure they feel welcome from the very beginning.
One of the best ways to do that is to introduce them to each other early on in your pregnancy. Let them be close, let them investigate your growing belly, and make sure they are comfortable around you and your partner. You’ll be surprised at how much they learn from just sniffing around!
Train Them Up
When the world of dog and baby collide it’s important to know that you can keep your fur baby in line when needed. Do this by making sure they can follow some simple rules.
Whether your dog is still a puppy or needs to be reminded of some basic tricks, it’s not too late! We’ve got some helpful tips for helping you train up your pup in no time.
First, we recommend teaching them how to sit and stay. This will keep them from sticking their noses in at unwanted times (think nappy changing)
Second, teach them “down” for when they get excited or jump on visitors (especially those holding the baby!) who might not appreciate being pounced on by a canine!
Thirdly, we recommend teaching them “drop it” if they go after toys or other items belonging to the baby. This will help prevent any mishaps that could occur when trying to retrieve something from their mouth!
Take Baby Steps
Getting your home ready for a new baby can feel like a challenge as it is, let alone when there’s a dog involved too! You have to be careful about timing and keep things as positive as possible, but you also need to make sure that your dog is comfortable with all the changes so they’re prepared for a new arrival.
Luckily, there are a few simple steps that you can take to prepare your canine companion for the new baby coming.
-Start by making one small change at a time, so that your dog can get used to each piece of the puzzle without feeling overwhelmed by too much change all at once.
-Move things around the house beforehand so that your pup is already used to being in different places and can relax when there are new smells or sounds around them. If you’re planning on changing where your dog sleeps or rests, make sure you provide them with an alternative that’s really comfortable for them so they feel safe and secure during this time of change.
-Get the baby’s room ready. If you have any new things like a cot, pram, or highchair, get them out and put them in the baby’s room so your dog can get used to seeing them. They’ll be less likely to be scared of something they’ve already seen and smelled before.
-If there are any areas of your house that will be closed off like the baby room, it’s best if they’re prepared beforehand, so they don’t get upset when they’re suddenly unable to roam freely around their own home anymore! We highly recommend This Extra High Safety Gate as a means of preventing dogs from Accessing the Babies room.
-Play sounds of babies crying. Sounds crazy right? But here’s why; a lot of dogs are afraid of babies, especially if they’ve never been around them before. It can be a stressful experience for both people and their pets. But if you play the sounds of a baby crying, it will help your dog get used to the idea of having a little human in the house. They will learn that this is normal—and not something to be feared or avoided.
New Baby, New Routine
A new baby means a new daily routine, and that includes your dog, too.
If you can, get the new schedule in place before the due date so that the transition will be a little easier. For instance, if their number of walks is going to be reduced or if they’ll be getting taken out by a different person, gradually change this in the weeks leading up to the big day. You might even consider hiring a dog walker if their walks will be significantly reduced because bored dogs can become destructive.
Secure A Safe Space
Dogs are social creatures, but they do need their own space sometimes.
To prepare your dog for the madness of a new baby, create a safe space for your dog where they can retreat to when they need a break from all the new smells, sounds, and people. You may choose to crate train your dog or use a baby gate to block off an area in the house where they can rest undisturbed by the chaos around them. Whatever method you choose, make sure it is quiet, comfortable, and secure.
You will also want to teach your dog how to get into its safe place on its own so that it can go there whenever they feel overwhelmed by the new baby’s presence in the home.
When your child gets older and starts running around, make sure that your dog still has this safe place to retreat and relax without fear of being trampled by little feet or startled by loud noises. Products such as Adaptil can also be useful aids. You simply plug them in, and they will gradually release a Scentless Pheromone around your home, which will calm your dog, without affecting Humans or other pets.
Visit The Vet
We get it. You have a lot on your plate right now planning for the arrival of your new baby, but don’t let that stop you from preparing your dog too.
To ensure that your pup stays in tip-top shape while you prepare for another little person, schedule a vet visit. Make sure they’re up to date with their vaccinations and that all their flea and worm medication is up-to-date. This way you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that anything out of whack will be treated. So that when your baby arrives you won’t be caught off guard in an already chaotic time.
The Big Day
Here are some tips for making sure your furry best friend has a positive experience during this important first meeting:
- The best way to carry out this first introduction is when the dog is tired after a long walk and play session. This will help you avoid any high-energy behaviour that could scare or overwhelm the baby.
- Consider keeping them on a leash. This will give the dog a chance to see that things are different in the house but not allow them to “barrel in” and investigate excitedly, which could cause injury or upset if done too quickly (or not at all).
- Allow your dog to sniff the baby, but at a respectful distance. During this first meeting, do not bring the baby too close, just let your pooch get acquainted with his new friend from afar! Eventually, though, you’ll be able to let them get closer and closer until they’re friends for life!
- Make sure you give your dog plenty of freedom when introducing this new tiny family member into their life. If they want to leave the situation that’s fine, it’s not always love at first sight or smell.
The Settling In Period
So the big introduction is over and done with. Now what? How can you help your dog get used to the new baby in the house?
Here are some great tips to help you out:
Give him a treat when the baby cries!
It’s not always easy to get a dog to associate something positive with an unpleasant sound, but it can work. If he gets used to getting praised for behaving well in response to the baby’s cry, he’ll start learning that it’s not so scary after all.
Praise good behaviour
If your dog is behaving himself around the baby and not trying to take away any toys or food (and we hope he isn’t), then make sure that he knows that he did something right! Tell him how much you appreciate his calmness by petting him and praising him with words like “good boy” or “yes!”. This way, he’ll know what behaviour gets rewarded by getting attention from you, which means he’ll keep doing it!
Keep Things Consistent
Stick to the routine you set in place when pregnant. Dogs need consistency if they’re going to adjust easily.
Life Isn’t Always Smooth Sailing
Your dog can be a great source of comfort and support as you navigate the challenges of new parenthood. However, sometimes things don’t go to plan, and when the baby comes home. Your dog may feel threatened or jealous and react in ways that are not typical for him or her.
Here are 3 ways to tell if your dog is jealous of the new baby:
- They get more aggressive and misbehave. If your dog has always been well-behaved, but suddenly starts snapping at people or chewing on furniture, there’s a good chance they’re jealous of your new baby. To help them adjust, consider bringing in the pros. Professional dog trainers can be an invaluable asset when things have got off to a rocky start. Training will be especially important for dogs with a history of anxiety or aggression.
- They want more attention than usual! If your dog is being extra pushy for attention from you or anybody else in the house, they might be feeling neglected by the addition of the baby to the family dynamic. Make sure to spend time with them every day so they don’t feel left out!
- They show signs of depression such as; a change in eating habits, lethargy, overgrooming, and accidents around the house. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog after bringing home a new baby, take them to see a vet.
Dogs that Are Great with Babies
If you have just added a baby to your family, and you want a four-legged friend to keep you company, choosing the right dog breed is essential.
There are plenty of breeds whose personalities are best suited for families with young children. Here are 10 of the best that have passed our test of being both baby-friendly and great loyal companions. Thus making the whole first introduction step a whole lot easier:
1. Golden Retrievers
Golden retrievers are reliable and friendly dogs. They are good with kids, other dogs, cats, and strangers.
Golden retrievers have a gentle temperament that makes them good companions for children of all ages. Their soft coats make them ideal for cuddling on the couch or snuggling up in bed at night.
Labradors are very friendly, intelligent, easy to train, and patient. They love being around people and will often be a child’s best friend. They are also one of the most popular breeds in the world because of their affectionate personalities and easy-going nature.
Bulldogs are patient and friendly, which makes them great with kids. They don’t need a lot of exercise and they’re low-energy dogs that can spend the day snoozing in a sunny spot or curled up on your lap. Bulldogs are stubborn but they’re easy to train and they love to snuggle. So if you’re looking for a cuddle buddy this may be your best bet!
Bulldogs also make good guard dogs because they tend to be protective of their family members (especially children).
Beagles are known for their loud bark, but don’t let that deter you from adopting one. If you have children in the house and are looking for a loving companion who will follow your child around and make sure nothing happens to them, then a beagle might be a good choice.
Beagles love people and get along well with other animals as well as other dogs (though they may try to chase cats). They are very loyal animals and will bark when they hear something unusual going on outside the home, but just because they’re protective doesn’t mean they aren’t affectionate!
Poodles are intelligent and trainable, plus they get bonus points for the fact they don’t shed. They are very loyal to their owners and make excellent family pets. They play well with children and other dogs but can be protective of their families if there is a threat from outside sources.
Pugs are affectionate, playful, and energetic little dogs who love to snuggle with everyone. They’re also very intelligent and easy to train – and don’t shed or bark much. So if you’re looking for a dog that’s good with kids but won’t annoy the neighbours, pugs are an excellent choice!
7. Bull terriers
If you’re looking for a dog that will be your child’s best friend, look no further than the bull terrier. Bull terriers are loyal, playful, and protective of the ones they love. They have a ton of energy when it comes to playing with children, but they also love snuggling up next to them on the couch or bed for some naps. They are generally very intelligent dogs who are easy to train if done from an early age.
8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
These dogs are calm, sweet, and gentle, which makes them the perfect companion for a baby. They’re also extremely loyal and affectionate, which is exactly what you want from a dog when your little one is around.
Their small size makes them easy to handle and carry around with you. And all that love they have to share? It’s just waiting to be spread around!
9. Alaskan malamutes
Alaskan malamutes are great with children. They love to play and are very protective of their family. They require tons of playtime outdoors but still like to cuddle up when it’s time for rest. These dogs also make good watchdogs because they’re naturally protective.
Alaskan malamutes have lots of energy, so if you have an active family that likes to go on walks or hikes this might be the perfect match for you!
Newfoundlands AKA gentle giants are big dogs, but they have a gentle temperament and make excellent companions for children. They’re also great with other pets and people, making them an ideal family dog.
Adult Dog VS Puppy?
Dogs are one of the best pets in the world, and they’re great for kids. They’re loving, loyal, and smart, but which is better for babies? An adult dog or a puppy?
Well, the answer to that question depends on your needs and your personality.
Puppies, aside from being incredibly cute are also inquisitive and fun-loving, and they’ll be able to keep up with your baby for years to come.
So, if you have the time and energy to give your new puppy all the attention it needs while also caring for your new-born, then by all means go ahead! However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with sleepless nights and a crying infant, then it’s probably best not to add an energetic puppy into the mix.
If you’re looking for a more chill and laid-back family member, an adult dog might be the way to go. An adult dog has most likely already learned how to be part of a household and will be better prepared to adjust to life with your new baby.
Plus, they’ve probably already learned all the training basics, so are ready to join your family right away!
Ultimately, it’s up to you what kind of dog fits into your lifestyle best!
No matter the age or breed of the dog, keep safety in mind when introducing a new pooch to your baby.
Although some breeds are calmer than others and better with kids, no dog is guaranteed to be safe around children. Every dog has its own unique temperament.
Most importantly, whether your dog is a long time family member or a new adoptee:
Never leave your baby alone with your dog!
No matter how much you prepare your dog for a new baby, dogs are curious and playful by nature, and often don’t understand that babies are fragile. They may take things too far and cause serious injury to your baby.
If you can’t supervise your dog around your baby, make sure baby is in a safe space, like behind a closed door or gate that the dog isn’t able to access.
Don’t take any chances, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
And there you have it!
Now that you know how to prepare your dog for your new baby, it’s time to put those tips into action. With a little training and a whole lot of love, your dog will be the perfect companion for your new bundle of joy!
Remember, this is a process and to take it slow, do what feels right for your family.
As long as your furry family member is comfortable with the changes and excited about welcoming their new sibling into the world, then you’ve done everything you can!
Be sure to keep in mind. If your dog is showing any signs of jealousy it’s best to get help straight away before things get more severe.
Thanks for reading and we wish you all the best for a paw-sitive introduction!