‘The Big Meet’: How to introduce your dog to a new baby
With July to October the most popular months to have a baby, it might be that you’re expecting a new arrival very soon. But introducing a new baby to pets can be pretty daunting – especially with dogs.
There’s a lot to consider to ensure a canine is fully ready for a new screaming new-born – and all the other sensory experiences that come with them.
As a result, dog expert John Smith has provided some top tips to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible.
Preparing your pet in advance
Routines are thrown upside down when a new baby arrives – and this is likely to be the case for your dog, too. So getting your pooch ready for this in advance is essential.
‘Dogs tend to like a routine as it helps them to feel secure, so the best way to prevent them from feeling unsettled is by preparing them well in advance,’ says John.
Introduce new smells and objects
A new arrival brings all kinds of new smells. Plus, houses are packed with random baby objects that pets will have to get used to.
‘Your dog will have plenty of things to get used to before the arrival, including smells and sights. Start by introducing smells around the house, including shampoos, baby milk and baby powder – give your dog time to suss it all out,’ explains John.
Then, once your dog is fully familiar with the smells, it’s time to put the bigger items in place – like changing mats, highchairs, pushchairs, and cots. These should all slowly be introduced in the months and weeks leading up to the due date.
John adds: ‘Make sure your dog is allowed to approach and smell the new items as they wish, and each time they are gentle with the objectives, reward them – this will help to build up a positive association with being gentle.’
Slowly increase the volume on sounds
Crying is likely to feature a lot in your house when a new-born is around – but you can prepare a dog for this before it happens.
‘Playing recordings of a baby crying is one way to get your dog used to the new noises around the house, just remember that dogs are a lot more sensitive to sounds than we are, so it’s important you start off quiet with this one,’ John continues.
‘As the birth draws closer and your dog gets used to it, slowly increase the volume and duration (after all, it will help you get used to the sounds too).’
Establish ‘out of bounds’ areas
Depending on the nature of your dog, you may want to create ‘no-go’ zones.
‘For example, are they likely to get jealous when visitors come over to see the baby? If the answer to that question is yes, you may need to restrict your dog’s access to some areas in your home – which for some pups might come as a huge shock after having free reign of the whole house,’ John says.
Encourage calm behaviour
New babies tend to get a lot of fuss – so your dog may not get the same amount of attention as they did before.
‘The good news is, you don’t need to physically interact with your dog to give them attention, just talk to them and reward them for settling,’ John adds.
‘You could practice this by carrying and interacting with a doll so your dog can see you holding and talking to a baby – each time they are calm, reward them, and each time they jump on you, don’t.
‘They’ll soon learn to keep their paws on the ground.’
John’s tips for ‘the big meet’:
John explains that, when it comes to your dog and baby meeting for the first time, calmness is key.
He adds: ‘Introduce changes gradually, that way there will be no big surprises in store for your pup, and they’ll remain as happy as they were before.’
Here are his tips below:
- ‘If you’re mum, go in and greet your dog alone while your partner waits outside with the baby. If you’ve been away at the hospital for a few days, they’ll be excited to see you.
- ‘In a room that your dog isn’t territorial about (i.e. where they eat or sleep) and once your dog is calm, your partner should bring the baby in. Be gentle and show your dog their new brother/sister, let them sniff but not get too close to the baby.
- ‘Stay in the room together for a little while and continue to encourage calm behaviour. If your dog starts acting up, take your baby to another room while they calm down.
- ‘Remember to always supervise, at no point should your dog and baby be left alone together, as even though you know your dog better than anyone, it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the health and safety of your baby.’
(Article source: Metro)