Are you and your partner about to have a baby? Congratulations! Undoubtedly, there’s a lot to prepare before your newborn arrives. However, it’s important to make sure your dog is ready too, and ensuring that the first meeting goes smoothly is key. Here’s some advice to help you prime your pooch for the newest family member, courtesy of your friends at Chico!
Correct any bad behaviour
Is your dog in the habit of jumping on guests to greet them? Or does he pull on the leash during walks? Before the baby arrives, take the time to address these kinds of behaviour problems. And be sure that your dog can follow basic commands like “sit” and “lie down.”
Establish new rules
Do you want to prevent your dog from entering the baby’s room? If so, start enforcing this rule as soon as you’ve set up the space. This way, your pup will be used to the new system before the baby arrives and won’t associate the ban with the newborn’s arrival. Similarly, teach your dog not to touch the baby’s toys and other items or pieces of furniture that are off limits.
Prepare your dog for less attention
When your newborn arrives, you may not be able to give your fur baby quite as much attention as before. Start habituating him to this change gradually. However, don’t neglect your pet. Always set aside several moments during the day to groom him, play with him and engage with him in other ways.
Arrange a gentle introduction
Before bringing the baby home from the hospital, you or your partner should take home a blanket or piece of clothing belonging to the baby. This way your dog can get used to the baby’s scent.
When your canine companion first meets the baby, don’t force anything. Let the dog approach the baby on his own. At first, only present your dog with the baby’s legs — never the face! — so that your pup can smell his new pal. Then reward him for his good behaviour. You should also keep your dog on a leash during this meeting so that you can quickly react should anything go wrong.
Praise good behaviour
Reward and praise your pup when he behaves well around the baby. This will serve as positive reinforcement. You may also want to give your dog a fun kibble dispenser or treat to chew on when you feed, change or lay down the baby.
When babies get a little older, involving them in the care of a dog is a good way to teach them about responsibility. This is something you may want to think about early on.