Our dogs are very in tune with us, so with an event as monumental as a pregnancy, your dog has already sensed that something is up. But just because your pup has picked up on the new feelings hanging in the air, doesn’t mean that they understand what it all means.
Here are a few tips for preparing your dog for a baby:
Keeping the Peace
Your babies (furry and not!) can live happily ever after, but it starts with you as owner and future parent. A pregnancy affects the entire household, so be aware of your energy. You may feel excited, anxious, or worried. Remember, your dog will mirror your emotions.
Establish boundaries starting with the nursery off-limits. Condition your dog to understand that there is an invisible barrier that she may not cross without your permission. Another option would be to install safety gates to designate some rooms as off-limits to your pooch. This way, your dog will get used to some rooms being restricted, allowing future baby to perfect all the rolling and crawling in the world.
Don’t forget the dog
A dog does not need toys or special attention to feel important; you simply need to maintain the routine, providing daily walks and consistent leadership. This will help your dog feel secure and allow him to relax about the new addition to the family.
Before the new arrival, stock up on play toys for your pup. If your pup has his own stuff, he’s less likely to chew on any cute baby toys you received as gifts.
Control the Introduction
Before the initial introduction, take your dog on a long walk to drain all of their energy. Make sure your dog is in a calm-submissive state prior to the introduction and make sure all present are calm. During the first meeting, do not bring the baby too close. Eventually the dog should be allowed to sniff the baby, but at a respectful distance, and later on the dog should slowly be allowed to get closer to the baby.
Never ever leave your child alone with your pet. Infant behavior such as squealing could unexpectedly irritate him. Watch for pacing or unusual eye contact, which could indicate your dog isn’t comfortable with the baby.
Teach Your Baby
Teach your tot to be gentle with your pup. As your tot begins exploring with their hands, they might grab for fur. Show your baby how to pet nicely, and your hound will thank you for it.
Your child’s safety comes first. If, after working with a professional and on your own, you are still not 100% confident about the safety of your baby with your dog, then finding your dog another home to protect the well-being of your child and pet is a step you may have to take.