A baby on the way? Worried about your dog?

kids parenting training

As new human parents,  we always worry about how things will be between our dogs & our human babies. Sadly we have seen several dogs change homes because of their inability to handle the churns they have to face with a new addition to the human family, but this need not be so. With the right steps, we can always prepare our canine baby to have a wonderful friend in their human sibling. If you are expecting a little one or are worried about how your canine baby will be with little ones, then read on…

Lets us first understand why many dogs react poorly to human babies:

  • Changing routines & schedules: human babies are on a different schedule altogether and this will throw the dog off at times, because dogs are primarily creatures of habit. Any change in their schedule throws them off their game and causes behavioural changes in the dogs 
  • New sounds & movements: Babies’ shrieks, wails are new sounds that might startle the dog. Add sudden movements, jerks, babies crawling into dog’s spaces that can simply make the dog uncomfortable & to react poorly to the baby’s advances 
  • Lack of human attention: Dogs will notice a difference in their humans’ behaviours as there maybe more rules enforced for the dogs, there will be a lack of attention from the humans, there maybe addition of new members into the family to care for the baby; altogether new experiences for the dog to get used to, quickly 

It’s best to be prepared when we are aware that we will have a new arrival into the family. So a few tips from us are:

  • Pre-baby rituals: 
    • Get the dog used to a space of its own a few months before delivery. This needs to be a happy place for the dog and a safe one too, wherein a dog can take refuge in times of immense activity or excitement/noise. 
    • Start working on training your dog not to jump on you when you have things in your hands. Imagine this could be a baby that the dog jumps on and topples over. Seek professional help if your dog lacks basic obedience skills
    • Get your dog used to a pet walker, pet sitter, boarder etc for times when you will not have time to care for the dog
    • If your dog has resource guarding issues, then work with a trainer in advance to ensure this behaviour is corrected as babies can easily take dog’s toys or the food without any thought
  • Soon after delivery: 
    • Before the baby arrives home, it is best to have the dog smell the baby’s outfit or blanket so the dog is aware of a new smell and is prepared for the arrival
  • Once the baby has arrived home:
    • Take turns greeting the dog without the baby, so he gets your attention once you arrive home. With such greetings, dogs generally calm down and will not vie for attention when you are trying to settle the baby down 
    • Train the dog to be comfortable when you are carrying the baby or tending to the little one. It is best to seek help from a trainer in advance to learn how to teach your dog the calm settle & to be comfortable when you are busy with other things 
    • Ensure the dog’s routine is not disturbed by planning in advance. As long as the dog is getting its daily dose of exercise & food in a timely manner, behavioural changes are not too severe, if any

Despite all this, it is critical we always supervise the kids and the dog at all times. No matter how docile the dog or how little the kids are, one can never be too careful to avoid accidents.

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