Good news: the family will be growing soon! Of course you are in heaven… but how will your dog react to the arrival of the baby?
Right away, know that there is no reason for things to go wrong: dogs are usually not jealous, they just need to get used to the routine of their masters. So, if this is upset, they will need time to adapt to take the new place granted to them within the family. Of course, the better the animal is prepared, the smoother and smoother this adaptation period is.
Before baby arrives
You have everything to gain by preparing your dog before baby shows his pretty face. Thus, if you plan to add new prohibitions to the dog (not the right to enter the baby's room, for example), you should start telling him about them as soon as possible: this will prevent him from associating the arrival of the infant to these limitations.
Similarly, try to introduce him to new material as soon as possible:
- We prepare the room before the baby arrives, most of the time. That being said, if you prefer that your dog does not enter, forbid him immediately. Prioritize theno” and rewards, at a closed gate or door.
- Baby toys can be very tempting for your dog! Teach him right away that he shouldn't touch them, by making him smell them, and rewarding him when he doesn't lick them, or put them in his mouth.
- If you want your dog to walk with you and baby, get him used to the stroller, tucking it inside and letting him smell it. And when you all go for a walk together, remember that it is strongly advised not to attach the leash to the stroller.
- Once baby arrives, you will most likely have less time to spend with your dog. Without abandoning him, get him used to spending time alone and give him a little less attention. The shock will thus be less important.
Before making official introductions between your pet and baby, it is often advisable to smell a garment that the infant will have worn in the maternity ward, such as his first hat or a blanket. Also, have someone feed and walk your dog before you arrive. That way he will be calmer and more willing to meet the child.
Once the whole little family is together, let the dog come to the baby: don't force things. Introduce the infant gently and let the animal smell it: depending on your dog's reaction, let him smell the baby by approaching his legs or feet – never the face. During this time, pet the animal, talk to it and congratulate it: the context of the presentation must be pleasant. It is strongly recommended to put the dog on a leash during the first presentation, since you never know exactly what his reaction will be. This way, whoever is holding the leash can react if necessary.
- When both your child and your dog seem in good spirits (the child is not crying, the dog is calm), take your baby in your arms.
- Ask your dog first to keep a reasonable distance from you and to sit or lie down.
- Little by little, invite him to approach. Let him smell your child at a distance first and, if things are going well, lean towards him.
- If your dog gets excited, immediately ask him to sit or lie down. Your spouse can intervene, if the animal is on a leash.
- When he finally calms down, approach him, or invite him to come. Do not push your dog away when he smells the baby: this will create mistrust in him. So let him smell the baby, without letting him lick it.
A few basic rules
- Even if your dog is a friendly pooch, never leave a baby or young child in the company of an animal without constant adult supervision. An accident happened quickly.
- It is very important to provide good care for your pet. Indeed, if he eats enough and iswell treated, your dog will behave better.
- Keep playing with the animal: a dog needs to move and it is important that he expends his energy.
- If you are fearful, you can attend dog training classes.
- Your dog always needs your attention, otherwise he will feel rejected. Reassure him, taking advantage of your "baby breaks" to cuddle him, brush him… This will greatly contribute to the acceptance of the child by the dog. In addition, keeping the animal away could lead to behavioral problems.
- Reread basic safety rules.