Up until now, the two of you have been inseparable. Your dog is also understandably territorial about her space and doesn’t take too kindly to strangers who tend to overstay their welcome. So, how can you adequately prepare her for a new and permanent family member in the form of your newborn baby? Here are some tips.
The earlier the better, in fact. Think about the various rules that you would like to enforce once the baby is here. Do you want to keep all animals out of baby’s room? Do you want to transition your dog out of your bed and into her basket so that you can get more uninterrupted sleep during those exhausting first few weeks? Regardless, now is the time to start putting the rules into practice. That way, they will already be firmly in place and well understood by the time your baby is ready to come home from the hospital.
Consider dog training
Does your dog have a few behavioural problems that may become even bigger issues when the baby arrives? Don’t stress. Most negative behaviors, such as excessive barking and jumping up, can be easily remedied with the help of a residential dog training professional. Dog trainers will teach your pet that acting like this will no longer be acceptable and will show you how to deal with them gently, but firmly. It usually won’t take more than a few weeks to get right, but it is always recommended to start a good few months ahead of your due date, just in case.
Introduce your dog to other babies
Pets that have never been exposed to babies and children may find them slightly scary and intimidating. This is why it is a great idea to introduce them to a few babies and kids before your own little bundle is born. The best way to do this is by inviting friends who have children over to your house so that the dog can get used to little people being in her space. Obviously, take the necessary safety precautions as you will not know how your dog will react.
YouTube is your friend
With new babies come new (often very loud) sounds. It is recommended that you do your best to get your dog used to these noises beforehand. YouTube has a number of audio videos of babies crying which can prove very useful for this task. Start off by playing them at a soft volume while she is eating or relaxing and gradually increase it over the next few weeks. Strive to play it once or twice a day so that it becomes a regular, expected part of her routine.
Bring home an item of baby’s clothing
Once your little one has made his or her big debut, get your partner to bring home an item of clothing that the baby has worn and allow the dog to smell it. You could even place it in her bed so that she is exposed to the smell when she is calm and quiet. This will make it much less startling for her when the baby comes home as she will already be familiar with his or her scent – which is a big deal in the dog world!
So, start early, conduct some training, and try not to stress about it. Most dogs adapt surprisingly well to the new addition. Who knows? They might even wind up being great friends a little further down the line!