Dog moms, say hey. Since the day they were adopted, your pooch has been the center of attention, the star of the show, the, dare we say, love of your life. The changes in routine and the introduction of a new tiny human can be confusing for your fur friend if they’ve never lived with a baby before. Dogs can get a bad rep when it comes to sharing the spotlight with a baby, but with the right preparation and training, baby and pup can grow up as the best of friends.
Take Them to Obedience Class
If your pup hasn’t gone through obedience school, sign them up before baby arrives. You don’t want an untrained dog trying to show their love by jumping on you while you’re holding your newborn or sniffing around in off-limits rooms.
Introduce the Idea of Children
Let’s face it: Babies squirm and cry – a lot. Dogs who haven’t spent a lot of time around children might get spooked by their unpredictable movements and sudden loud noises. Slowly acclimate your pup to the sights, sounds, and smells associated with babies well in advance of their arrival – walk them past a playground or introduce them to friend’s or family’s small children (at a distance and leashed, of course).
Shift Their Routine Early
Give your dog time to adjust to all the changes that will happen in their day-to-day schedule once baby is home – that means feedings, walks, rooms they can or can’t enter. Start 2-3 months before your due date to give them time to adjust and to ensure they won’t associate the change in routine with the arrival of your baby.
Set Up All the Gear
Let your pooch get to know all the baby gear you’ll be using – bassinet, stroller, rocker, – before there’s an actual baby in them. Give them the time to perform a full scent investigation so it’s not a whole new experience plus baby.
The Main Event
When you first come home from the hospital, greet your pup for the first time without baby. You’ve been away for a while and your tail-wagger will want to shower you with love. Allow your pup to get used to the new sights, scents, and sounds before bringing them in for a close encounter. When they’re ready, let them come close and sniff baby, while leashed, and make sure to give them heaps of praise and pets when they’re doing well. Eventually, your dog can graduate to off-leash interactions, but never leave baby unattended with your dog, no matter how much you trust them.
If your doggo is having a hard time, stay patient and consistent. Pretty soon, your fur baby and your human baby will love each other just as much as you love the both of them.