Welcome to the World, Baby! Meet Your Brother, Bowser.
Wet Nose Guide provided us with this great article on introducing your new baby to your pooch. How often do we see dogs abandoned at shelters because owners “had a baby”?
It’s a sad truth, and we hope to spread the word that babies DON’T mean you have to get rid of your dog – in fact, having a dog and a baby in the same family will help the child learn compassion, care, and responsibility. Studies also show that children’s exposure to pets will help lessen their chances of having allergies.
Five Tips on How to Introduce Your Dog and Baby
Many couples experience a range of emotions after discovering they are going to be new parents. Excitement, fear and stress can inundate the home as they prep for the arrival of their new baby. For new parents who are also dog owners, it is important to recognize the influences these changes may have on your first family member – your dog. Dogs are receptive to human emotion and changes within their environment. To ensure your dog is prepared for the arrival of your new child, follow these simple five tips.
Now is the time to work on breaking your dog’s habits that won’t be acceptable with a little one in the house. Behaviors such as jumping or stealing food should be addressed during the nine months you have before your baby’s arrival. This will instill a calmer house, and reaffirm your position as a leader to your dog.
Your baby’s nursery should be off limits for your dog unless you grant permission to enter. Set periods of time where your dog, under your watch, is invited to explore within the room. Then send him out. Repeat this exercise daily to teach your dog that the room does not belong to him, and he must always be respectful to those inside.
Introduce your baby’s scent.
Bring home an article from the hospital which holds your baby’s scent such as a blanket or hat. Establish limits before introducing the article to your dog. Hold it from a distance, challenging your dog to sniff from afar. Your dog learns that you are the owner of the item (and anything holding its scent), and you must give authority to get close.
Manage the introduction.
Exercise your dog before the initial meeting. Take him on a long walk, or allow him to run off energy. Before entering the house, ensure your dog is in a submissive state. Whoever is holding the child should remain calm and assertive and allow the dog to investigate the baby at a respectful distance. Over time, allow your dog to get closer to the baby. This shows your dog he is expected to treat your child with the same respect he gives to his owners.
Schedule “alone time.”
Babies may require a lot of care time, but your pet still needs the same undivided attention he received prior to your family’s expansion. Try to schedule at least 15 minutes of solo time with your dog each day. Activities such as playing in the yard or grooming are bonding experiences which demonstrate to your dog that he is an integral part of your family unit.
Justine Watts, founder of Wet Nose Guide, writes about dogs and the human/canine relationship every week with help, tips, advice, and techniques to maximize the health and happiness of you and your furry friend.