Adding a new human member to your family? Here are some tips on how to make the transition as smooth as possible for your furry baby!
This one is tough. If you're pregnant and preparing to welcome a baby into your home, your dog is probably your best friend and snuggle buddy, keeping you company until the little one arrives. But keep in mind that when the time comes for you to have an infant constantly attached to you, your dog will need to take a back seat in terms of affection. The little one comes first! If you set the standard now, it will be a much easier transition for your dog, rather than trying to compensate by providing extra affection before the baby arrives.
Familiarize Your Dog
Play a few clips of babies crying on YouTube. Carry around a bundle of blankets or a baby doll and don't let your dog stick their nose in it when they're curious. Familiarize your dog with strollers, high chairs, and similar baby furniture that they will encounter on a regular basis. Try to bring home a blanket or piece of clothing that has the new baby scent on it from the hospital for your dog to keep in their crate or bed. All of these practices will help the dog see the baby as a familiar and welcome addition instead of resenting or being overly curious.
Never leave your child alone with your dog, and never let your dog get in the child's face. Create boundaries. Require that your dog respects the space of your child as much, if not more, than they respect your space. This can be done by utilizing a place command or a tether spot in the house or by simply asking the dog to give space with an "out" or "leave it" cue or spatial pressure. Children and dogs are both unpredictable creatures, and as much as your dog may seem to love the new addition, they are still animals and can act on instinct. Always err on the side of safety and keep a healthy distance between the dog and child.