I’m sure in your head you have this dream image. Your new child and the young dog will get along famously and be best buds. This is often the case but not without some adjustments.
You have to think of things from the perception of the dog. To the dog, the baby is this weird tiny thing that screams and gurgles. It might even smell a little weird to them. The baby might even be getting way more attention so the dog might even be a little jealous.
Some dog owners report their previously well-trained dog will start to act out. Suddenly they find destroyed pillows or chewed furniture. So there are these people trying to keep a tiny human alive.
They also have to manage this very stressed-out dog. The main thing here to avoid this from occurring is preparation. Start deciding ahead of time how your dog’s routine needs to change and be sure not to neglect the dog.
Even with a baby, the dog should still be given a normal exercise routine as well as dedicated playtime.
Several Weeks Before The Due Date
Some people start to train their dogs by getting the dog used to them holding a small babydoll. It doesn’t make noise and the use is to get the dog used to you holding something that looks like a small human. You might also opt to take your dogs for walks with a stroller. This way they get used to this change early.
During this time it might also be advisable to start looking for dog sitters so you can arrange for care. You might need someone who can adjust to your unknown needs. You will be busy with the hospital and the new baby. Sought early this is easy to figure out.
This is when you also start to draft up any dog care instructions for the dog sitter. Important things to add are emergency numbers or your vet’s name and number.
You may also opt to search for a dog walker. If you go on this path, then you will want to interview some candidates and plan your walking schedule.
They will also need any instructions you can think would be useful or appropriate as if you need to hide a spare set of house keys for them. It helps to get a couple of test runs in to see how things are without a baby involved.
Another change is you will start to put up baby gates in the house where needed as well as crate practice. Your dog needs to be trained for confinement where you supply the dog some form of desirable chew so he associates the confinement with an enjoyable activity.
This is also a good way to get your dog accustomed to getting less of your daily attention. The dog should not feel punished.
Questions About Baby And Dog
You will want to figure out how you feel about things ahead of time. Some people decide that with a baby they no longer want their dog sleeping in their bed or getting on their furniture.
They may also go a step further and want to completely exile them from certain rooms or even make them into outside dogs. Whatever your choice on the matter, you want to make changes before the baby arrives and train accordingly.
Where will your dog sleep? Also, consider where you are going to store your dog’s toys. Then think about when the baby arrives. Will your dog eat in the kitchen? Will you use gates to keep the dog away?
The one main guideline is to never leave a baby alone with the family dog. Babies are cute, but they can also be noisy and scary. They may even thrash and startle the dog. Even if it is the most mellow dog, it is advised not to leave babies and dogs alone together. It is advised to socialize them, however. You offer up the baby for the dog to investigate and make sure the baby isn’t in range to strike the dog or is well swaddled.
It also helps to give them both attention at the same time. Dogs notice when you aren’t giving them any attention. Be sure to feed the dog before you feed the baby. Praise the dog when logical to do so when holding the baby so the dog has no negative associations to the change.
How to Introduce Dogs to Toddlers
Toddlers are basically horrible in the eyes of a dog. They crawl around and walk. Toddlers throw their food everywhere and sometimes try to throw objects. If you have any markers around, they might mark up your walls. Toddlers are too young to understand polite behavior and they don’t know how to function around a pet.
The last thing you want is your toddler digging in sharp little nails and injuring delicate parts of your dog. Dogs as well can be a little clueless and don’t understand that they are throwing around too much weight or wagging their tail too hard, they don’t understand how little things they do can hurt.
As soon as the child is old enough to start mimicking you want to show the child gentle and slow ways to pet the dog. They also need to learn about basic behavior around an animal.
They shouldn’t shout at the dog, they shouldn’t be crowding the dog’s face, there should be no pulling of tails, no sticking things in their ears, they should learn to absolutely leave the dog’s behind alone and should be mindful of not harming the nose. Reinforce to the child that the dog needs to be respected and treated kindly.
Figuring these things out takes time. Young children like young animals don’t realize what they are doing and often don’t understand pain. Children also need to learn to leave a dog that is eating or sleeping alone.
It is very unfortunate when a dog and child encounter each other and because both are trained poorly for the interaction one or both get injured.
Even more unfortunate when it is the dog that injures a child because it felt the need to defend itself. People may often demand the dog be put down. I’m hoping by having more material out there to consider, these things will occur less often.
May we all have happy kids and happy dogs.