Introducing a newborn to your pet may be challenging, especially if they have not been in contact with babies as a puppy. Your dog may go through a roller-coaster of emotions at the sight of the little one. This new arrival will change their daily routine, you will give your pet less of your time and maybe even less attention, which can affect them.
I guess you will want to protect your pet from feeling abandoned and depressed. You will need to take some time to prepare your furry friend for this new adventure. This process starts months before the birth of your baby. Start by introducing new family members to your kids so that they know how to interact with new people, then gradually begin to introduce them to toddlers (do not introduce them directly to a baby), start out slow…
Make little changes to their routine, here and there. Each week add a new change to their routine so that they are not used to a fixed one and won’t find it jarring when the baby arrives.
You will need a plan to know exactly where you are going. The first step is to teach your dog obedience, this is in general and not only when having a baby. An obedient dog comes with many advantages; they are easier to manage, they are friendly, and on top of that, a well-trained dog is safe and does not show unpredictable behaviour.
Around four to five months before the arrival of the baby, introduce your dog to new things. Things that your pet will encounter when the baby is around, for example, a comforter, baby stroller, and even the smell of the baby cologne. This allows them to know that this is a part of their environment and not an intruder. A tip is to get them used to a baby crying. Maybe you can buy a doll or put a sound effect on YouTube as dogs have highly sensitive hearing.
Two months before the baby’s arrival, start changing the dog’s routine in the way you will when the baby is here. Do not make abrupt changes, as your dog will probably suffer from anxiety. If you think that you will not be able to walk your dog as much as you did, consider hiring a dog walker.
One thing that dogs need is attention. Every dog craves attention and love, and they are literally babies covered in fur. If you are used to cuddling with your dog for long hours, I recommend giving them a minimum of attention. When your baby is here, you will have less time for your dog, which means less attention; allow your dogs to get used to this situation. Even if you want to shower them with love by cuddling for hours, you should shorten your cuddling time each day by at least 5 to 10 minutes.
As we explained, you should be able to switch their routine. Try to cuddle with them for a short period and at random moments so that they do not expect attention at a specific moment.
Here comes the moment of truth. You may introduce the baby to your dog right away or wait until your newborn is a few days old. During the presentation, choose a quiet place and hold your baby in your arm as you do when rocking the latter. Avoid abrupt and unexpected movements, keep the dog at a distance or with a leash accompanied by someone else. Repeat the exercise multiple times. Try to gauge how your dog reacts to the presence of the baby and act accordingly.
Let us know in the comments what do you think about having a dog and a baby…