Dogs and children can live in harmony, especially if the right steps are taken BEFORE and AFTER baby arrives. Before baby arrives, a trip to the vet for a checkup is in order. Next, begin to get him used to the idea of a baby in the home. Set up the nursery as soon as possible so your dog can get used to all the new sights and sounds. Think about how you want your dog to behave once baby arrives, and begin reinforcing those behaviors now. For example, if you don’t want him on the bed once baby arrives, start now and be consistent with your expectation. If you haven’t been through an obedience class with your pet, now is a good time to get involved in one that uses positive reinforcement to help your dog achieve behaviors.
Once baby arrives, you want to make the transition of a new baby in your home a positive one for your dog. Before baby arrives home from the hospital, bring something home that has baby’s scent on it, and let your dog enjoy the smell of its new sibling! When mother and baby arrive home, allow mom to enter the home, without baby, to greet the dog as he will be excited to see her! When introducing baby excited to see her! When introducing baby and dog, do so in a calm, controlled environment. You may want to have your dog on leash, and allow him to “investigate” the new addition. Speak in happy, calm tones, as dogs sense nervousness in their owners. One of the most important things you can do to ensure success…pay attention to your dog WHEN baby is awake. Do not ignore him, as he may associate that baby awake equals no attention for him. To prevent this, give Fido a pat on the head, tell him what a good boy he is, reward him with a treat and his favorite toy or activity.when baby is around!
Compliments of Annette Scribner, new Mom & Trainer for C&C PALS 703-876-0284