You’re Ready For Your New Baby–But is Your Dog?

In many cases, fur babies become part of a family before a human baby enters the fold. Many people do not know how to introduce their pet to the new arrival, or the other way around. It leads many dog owners to rehome or even abandon their furry friends out of the fear of the unknown.

With a smidge of professional guidance and a dash of experienced advice, the addition of a newborn into a family unit can be less stressful and more exciting than you think.


Starting with Simple Steps

Before sending your pup to doggy boot camp, incorporating a few recommended steps into daily life might be enough to teach a dog of any age new tricks.

In most cases, there is a forewarning of a new addition, and you can use that time to ready your home and your four-legged kid for the future.

Obedience trainers and veterinarians tend to agree on the first step–a dog needs a “go-to place.” It is normal to give a dog free reign when it comes to furniture and space. But, having a baby changes the game.

“Dogs learn when their owners use repetitive and straightforward verbal cues, “Elsbeth Martin, a dog trainer explains. “The words ‘place’, ‘stay,’ ‘good,’ and ‘no’ is a good start when training a pet to follow orders. But, they only work when positive and negative reinforcement is part of the process. Pups need their own space, too. Yoga mats and mobile pet beds are great tools when teaching a dog.”

It begins with pointing to their designated spot in a room while using a command. When the fur kid follows directions, use treats as positive reinforcement. Sometimes, it requires tons of patience, but slowly they will learn which side of the room is theirs. Never hit or scream at a pup. It has the opposite effect and scares them. Instead, withhold a reward or take away their toy as negative reinforcement.

The next step is teaching them to stay. As you extend the time that the fur-friend remains on the placemat each time, give them a new chew toy or rawhide bone to focus attention.


Rounding Out Routine

Routines can’t change suddenly when it comes to our furry friends. They are routine by nature, and not likely on one that works when expecting a new baby.

In truth, it is almost as if you’re training yourself, too. For instance, it is best to change a dog’s sleeping schedule. It means keeping them up, teaching them to stay until they fall asleep, and monitoring their energy levels. You don’t want them zoom-zooming when you’re trying to rock your newborn to sleep.

Also, you might need to change what times you walk your four-legged kid. It helps them expel energy at the appropriate time, and it sets up a schedule that works for everyone when the tiny human arrives.

Once the furry one learns to obey, prepare them for what is coming. Venture into the nursery, rock in the rocking chair, even roll around an empty stroller so they learn how to react and where they can go when the time arrives.

Another way to prepare a pup is to play baby sounds, like gurgling, crying and whining. It aids them in getting used to the noises, so they don’t react when the real thing comes on the scene.

Lastly, smells are an important thing to remember. Pups are curious, and they tend to follow their noses. Baby lotions, powder, and blankets are all useful to help your pet adjust to new scents.

April A. talks about preparing her furry kiddo, Emma, in the months leading up to the big day, “I would walk around the house like the baby was already here. I used my phone to play baby sounds while I did dry runs through the nursery, the bedroom, and even outside. I wrapped a baby blanket with lavender lotion around my wrist. At first, she seemed drawn to it, but after a couple of weeks, she did not even sniff at it.”


Additional Attention

It is no secret that newborns are a lot to handle, and the last thing you need is a frightened or confused dog. But, following expert advice and tips from people who share the experience will make the transition easier.

About three weeks before the big day, it might be time to start paying less attention to the fur kid. It will be hard, but it will be worth it. Cutting the attention off suddenly from your dog leaves them bewildered and unpredictable.

At the same time, once the human babe becomes real, don’t forget to share the love with your little buddy. A balance exists, and it is different with every family.

But, here is the thing; there is no shame in taking your doggy to obedience classes. Tammy B. is thankful to the trainers at Camp Bow Wow. “Chi-Chi was not quite ready when I brought my baby home. We tried to prepare her, but her curiosity made it hard. The certified trainers did a great job, and when Chi got home, it was smooth sailing,” she says.

The truth is, no matter what we do, getting ready for a baby is nearly impossible. But, there is no need to rehome your firstborn fur-kid out of fear. Instead, a little time and a lot of love will keep your family happy and whole.