In the days following the arrival of a new baby, there is likely to be a lot of excitement. With all the excitement, it may be easy to forget that there is also a dog at home waiting to meet his new brother or sister. As you begin to plan your return home, you might be feeling anxious about how your dog will respond to his new companion. Bringing home a new baby when you have a dog may be nerve wracking, but there are things you can do to make sure the introduction goes even better than planned.
Make gradual changes
Before the baby comes, make gradual changes to your dog’s routine. For example, change where he sleeps or when he gets walked. When things start to change more after the baby is home, the dog will not associate those changes with the baby. Additionally, spend a little less time giving direct attention to your dog in the weeks leading up. Rather than smothering him with some last-minute affection, it is best to help him adjust to the new routine. This doesn’t mean to forget about him, but rather adapt how you share time together.
Consider the new sounds and smells
If this is the first time your pet has been around a baby, he will likely be confused by his changing environment. Play a tape recording of various baby sounds in the house for increasing lengths of time so your dog can adjust to the new sounds. You can also acclimate your dog to new scents, such as baby powder, lotion, etc.
The initial introduction is important
Greet your dog alone before bringing the baby in. This will allow him to get all his excitement out and not jump around the baby. Once the baby is in the house, allow the dog to adjust to the smell, sight and sound of the baby before introducing them in closer proximity. After your dog has adjusted, allow him to sniff the baby while on a leash. Pet and praise him while he sniffs and allow the dog to choose to interact with the baby. Never force him to go near if he does not want to. After he is acclimated, you can remove the leash. Make sure you are close by whenever the dog and baby interact, because sudden screams and cries could startle your dog.
As the baby grows, expect more adjustments
Babies grow and change quickly, which can be confusing for some dogs. Once the baby starts crawling, make sure she doesn’t pull on the dog’s ears or tail, because even the best dogs can become frustrated. Make sure you never leave the baby alone with the dog either. Babies and dogs are both curious and sometimes that curiosity can lead to a tense situation. It is best to always be aware and understand when your dog may want to leave the room.
Have a safe space for the dog
Make sure there is somewhere for the dog to go when he is tired of playing with the baby. Another room or his crate can be great places to let your dog relax without making him feel punished or unwanted.