Preparing Your Dog for a New Baby and Fostering Their Friendship
Most people who own dogs consider them a big part of their families; often times, owners call their pets their “children”; so what should you do when preparing a dog for a new baby, and then how can you foster their friendship?
Bringing a newborn into the family can unfortunately at times present a problem because a dog could become jealous or depressed when all of the attention isn’t on him anymore; a dog could also feel scared of a new baby; it’s almost like how an older child can feel when a new baby is brought into the family. Nevertheless, you can prepare your dog so that the transition of bringing baby home goes safely and smoothly.
The first step should begin before your baby is even born. Building a strong bond with your dog will cause him to feel confident about his place in the family, as well as listen to you better which makes for more control on your part. You can build a strong bond with your dog by spending lots of time with him, you don’t need to spoil him, just make sure he is loved a lot AND trained well. Also, once baby is born, or even beforehand, bring some of her items or blankets to the dog. The dog will familiarize himself with the baby’s smell, and make a connection to the child before their first face to face meeting.
When it comes time to introduce your dog to your new baby, it needs to be done slowly and carefully. It should be done in an area of the home that is shared by the whole family, such as the living room. Make sure the area is clean and does not contain any food or toys (the dog’s or the child’s). Keep the two a safe distance away from each other at first and limit the meeting to a short amount of time. Keep it a comfortable environment by providing your dog and baby with plenty of positive attention.
The next step is to introduce the dog to the baby's bedroom. Some families are uncomfortable with this at first, but it needs to be done to create a safe environment. Then, when the child is old enough, allow him to play with your dog in there using one of the dog’s toys and the dog will begin to understand that the child is his friend.
After you notice that the dog and child are really comfortable around each other and there are no problems, you can allow the child to venture near the dog’s eating or sleeping area, however be sure to provide supervision when this happens. Both your dog and child need to learn to understand and respect each other’s boundaries.
Through preparation, supervision adn training, your dog should be ready to be your child's buddy in no time. If your situation is the other way around and you are bringing home a new furry family member where there are already children living in the house, there are different steps you can take to get the children and dog used to each other.