After welcoming a baby in to the world you are probably concerned about how your dog is going to react to him or her. Many people surrender their pets to shelters because of exhibited jealousy from their dog after a new baby’s arrival and fear of the infant being harmed by the animal. Yet many families have been successful in introducing their dogs to the new baby.

“DSC_9289” by gomagoti is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Introducing your dog to you baby is a process that needs time and the utmost of care to ensure a happy and safe welcoming process! The steps to ensuring your dog acts appropriately around the baby when he or she is finally taken back to your home are twofold usually – preparing your dog for the infants arrival and introducing your dog to your infant.

Preparing your dog

Preparing your dog for the baby’s arrival in advance is one of the best ways to help avoid friction and jealousy between your baby and your dog. Your dog is used to your attention and pampering, some jealousy will naturally surface when your new baby becomes the center of attention.

Taking some precautions, a few minutes of quality time and some extra treats can go a long way! Be sure to:
 • Take your dog to your local Veterinarian for a complete checkup a few months before the baby arrives.

• Worms and parasites can be harmful to your baby so be sure to worm your dog before the baby arrives and at the normal intervals to keep on top of this problem. If your dog is not spayed or neutered, this is also the time to get it done.

• Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your pet to babies. Supervise all pet and infant interactions.

• Allow your dog to explore the baby’s sleeping, diaper changing areas, and related items such as baby powder, lotions, and diapers to become familiar with the new smells and objects. Apply baby lotion or powder to your hands, for example, and allow your dog to sniff the new smell. Dogs rely on their sense of smell, so familiarity with the new baby smells will help him or her recognize the baby as a part of the family. If possible, allow your dog to smell clothing that your baby has used before you bring the baby home.

• Accustom your pet to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. For example, play recordings of a baby crying (there are CDs out now for this exact training purpose – (see for CDs with baby noises), turn on the mechanical infant swing, and use the rocking chair. Make these positive experiences for your pet by offering a treat or playtime.

• Do not allow your dog to sleep on the baby’s furniture or play with the baby’s toys. Your dog should know that the furniture is not for him or her and should treat it as such. Provide toys for the dog that do not resemble baby toys. A dog may take the toy from the baby’s hand and unintentionally injure the infant.

• If the baby’s room will be off-limits to your pet, install a sturdy barrier such as a removable gate (available at pet or baby supply stores) or, for jumpers, even a screen door. Because these barriers still allow your dog to see and hear what’s happening in the room, your dog will feel less isolated from the family and more comfortable with the new baby noises.

• Use a baby doll to help your pet get used to the real thing. Carry around a swaddled baby doll, take the doll in the stroller when you walk your dog, and use the doll to get your pet used to routine baby activities, such as bathing and diaper changing.

• Finally and very importantly, be sure that your dog knows that you and your family are alpha over him or her – this is crucial to ensure you can reprimand your dog should any jealous signs show when the baby is brought home.




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