Since, let's face it, dogs are often a family's ORIGINAL baby, preparing your dog for a new baby in the household can seem daunting. It's completely normal to have a million different thoughts running through your head before the big meet & greet. Here are some tips on how to best prepare.
Start preparing early
Get your dog used to changes before they even happen. Begin to transition your dog's walks to a new schedule or have your dog become familiar with a new nursury room or living-space layout. If you're planning on transitioning to a drinking fountain or an automatic feeder, do so ahead of time, so your dog is already used to these new accessories before the baby arrives. If you're planning on introducing your pup to a dog walker, try to do so ahead of time so again - your dog is not faced with the stress of being introduced to too many people at once.
Did someone say: walk?
Taking walks with your newborn and your dog is an excellent way to get outside, get some fresh air, tire out your pup, and sometimes even encourage sleep for your baby! To make it as stress-free as possible, practice walking your dog with a stroller before the baby arrives! Avoid tying your dog directly to your stroller and practice having them walk by your side. A hands-free leash around your waist can be a great way to free up your hands and you can hook a dog poop bag dispenser directly to the stroller, so you're always prepared.
Getting off on the right foot
First impressions are everything. When it comes to bringing the baby home for the first time, dogs feed off energy. That's why it's important, as much as possible to keep calm. Have treats handy, and a helper who can distract or intervene. Keep a close watch on your dog's body language. If they become agitated, take a break and try again later. If your dog will be in close proximity to your new baby, make sure they're kept nice and clean. Earth Rated pet grooming wipes are hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested. They're made with soothing ingredients like aloe vera, shea butter, chamomile and cucumber – perfect for daily use.
Give them space
Create a child-free safe space that your dog can use to escape the hustle and bustle of a newborn baby. Whether it's their crate, a little haven under a desk or a corner in a lesser-used room, your dog should have a place of their own, where they know they can go if they need to decompress and relax.
Dog + baby? We can't think of a cuter duo! As you prepare, keep safety top of mind, always make sure to reward good behavior, and enjoy watching a beautiful friendship develop.
Need more tips?
We asked Certified Professional Dog Trainer Jennifer Gailis for her tips and tricks for how to prepare your dog for a new baby before it arrives. Here’s what she had to say:
First, plan for those busy early weeks with extra chews, puzzle toys and treat toys and try to organize having someone on hand who can step in to help with daily walks and play dates.
Learn to read your dog's body language so you can gauge their discomfort level. Ideally, your dog should be relaxed and happy. Anything that changes your dog's body language from happy to on edge, should be noted. If you don't know what a head turn, lip lick or hard stare is, it is important to learn more about dog body language to keep both your dog and baby safe.
Cultivate good experiences and protect against negative ones like the baby grabbing the dog's ear. They don't need to meet face to face early on. Good experiences don't mean they need to be touching each other.
And finally, if you can, work with a positive reinforcement trainer to learn how to create positive associations around the new baby.