Your dog has probably already noticed a different atmosphere in your home during your pregnancy. So, it’s imperative to prepare your dog for the arrival of a newborn because they have the potential to be the best of friends! Below is a list of things you can do both during your pregnancy and after the birth, that will help your family function in harmony:
1. Change Your Dog’s Routine Before The New Baby Arrives
Bringing your newborn home can be a tiring and chaotic time. Initially, it won’t be possible to maintain a daily routine, so it’s a good idea to get your dog used to a bit less structure before your baby arrives. Feed your fur baby at random times and try to avoid having a precise schedule for walks and playtime. Establishing a looser schedule in advance will also stop your pup from feeling resentful towards your baby as they won’t necessarily associate the two things with each other.
2. Focus On Discipline
This may sound contradictory to what we were saying earlier but when we say discipline, we’re referring to your pup’s obedience and attention to commands. It is vital that, with a newborn around, your doggo is strictly following your commands to create a safe environment. Emphasise commands like ‘on your bed’ and establish strict boundaries around specific areas like the baby’s nursery or cot etc.
3. Introduce the New Baby’s Scent
While you are still in the hospital, have someone bring home an item that holds your baby’s scent, like a blanket or piece of swaddling material. This will help your fur baby understand that there is someone new in the home. This can also be a beneficial exercise in setting boundaries as you can challenge your pup to sniff the baby’s item from a distance and help them understand that they can only interact with it in ways that you give them permission to.
4. Play Baby Sounds
Before your baby is born, it’s essential that your dog adjusts to the sounds that he or she is going to be frequently hearing, like a baby crying. Play recordings or videos for your dog so that it isn’t a shock for them when they are exposed to a lot of new sounds. The sound of a baby crying can be quite jarring for animals when they’re unfamiliar with the sound, and an upset or agitated doggo will only increase your stress levels.
5. Have a Slow Introduction
Before introducing the baby to your dog, you should try to take your dog for a long walk and exhaust them to make sure they aren’t too excited. As soon as your dog enters the house, they will be immediately aware of the scent of a new human, so it’s crucial that everyone in the house remains completely calm. Allow your dog to sniff the baby from a respectful distance and don’t let them get close to your baby during the first encounter. With each interaction, let your dog get a little bit closer and instil a sense of respect in your pet.
6. Don’t Forget About Your Doggo
When you bring your newborn home, it is only right and natural that they will demand most of your time and attention. However, you have to ensure that you don’t neglect your fur baby. Dogs often don’t need special playtime or attention to feel valued, but they do need consistency in the style of leadership you show them, and to be taken for walks frequently. Neglecting your dog can result in your dog acting aggressively towards your baby as they develop a strong negative association.
7. Your Fur Baby and Human Baby Are BFFs in the Making
Encourage your pup to gently play and participate in activities while your baby is awake. When your bub is sleeping, teach your puppy that this is also their time to chill out and relax, but that the fun can start again when the baby wakes up. This will immediately begin to establish a bond between the two, and they will become best friends. Having both your baby and your pup on the same schedule will make your life much easier as you aren’t trying to deal with two opposing routines.
At Northshore pet resort, we are dedicated to the safety and welfare of your fur babies. If you need help training your pup before the arrival of your newborn, or if you want to book pet accommodation during your hospital stay, contact us today!