We love our four-legged babies as much as our two-legged babies. Today I have an awesome guest post from Doug at herepup.com for those of you who are bringing a new baby home soon!
Things were good. Your four-legged ‘baby’ was king, and ruled the kingdom with a mix of playfulness and determination. It was just the three of you, until now.
Suddenly, the dog’s “room” is being turned into central staging for an event that seems (to the dog) very exciting and new. Strange new furniture is coming into the house, an abundance of tiny clothes are showing up everywhere and the couch has been taken over by a woman who gets larger every day. The dog doesn’t realize it yet, but things are about to get a whole lot worse.
What can you do to prepare Fido for the imminent arrival of a new baby and the sudden ejection from the throne he once had?
Teach expectations early
Don’t wait for baby to come home from the hospital before the lessons begin. Start training your dog to stay out of the baby’s room, leave baby toys alone and stay off of furniture long before the baby is born. If you want to keep the dog from going in the baby’s room, introduce the use of baby gates or other barrier methods to keep the dog out.
Introduce the new smells
Baby powder, diapers, baby oil – the nursery is full of new and interesting scents. Let the dog get used to the smells before the baby arrives. Once baby is born, send home a blanket or shirt from the hospital to help acclimate him to the particular smell of the new baby.
Include Baby and Doggie in plans
If your dog is used to heading to the park for some weekend fun, don’t be afraid to include baby in those plans. Load up a stroller and take both babies to the park for some outdoor relaxation. Find ways to include the dog in plans so he doesn’t start to feel left out and get into trouble.
Use baby noise
During the days before the baby is born, turn on baby noises to help the dog get over any anxiety or fear that they may exhibit with strange sounds. Recordings of crying babies can prevent the dog from barking when they hear it live the first time.
Set up a schedule
Establish a definite feeding schedule for your dog: after you’ve eaten. Once the baby is at home, your first priority in the morning will be feeding the baby. Get the dog used to eating after everyone else has had breakfast. It will prevent stress for everyone! When the dog is finished eating, pick up the food bowl – even if there is food still left in it. It’s tempting to feed the dog leftovers when there is so much going on, but a new baby doesn’t change the dietary needs of the dog, no matter how cute those pumpkin doggie treats are. Make sure you know and understand what dogs can and can’t eat.
Practice dog safety
Use a life-size baby doll to teach the dog good baby manners and behavior. Once the baby is home, make sure you are following dog safety rules. Never allow the dog to sit in baby equipment, such as swings and slings. Never leave the dog alone with the baby.
Bringing home a baby can be an exciting time for everyone – including the dog. A few simple changes to the routine can have the dog ready to meet baby and start a life-long bond.
Doug is a lifelong dog lover and has a Border Collie named Brodie. When Doug isn't out with Brodie looking for squirrels, he writes at herepup.com.