Here are some tips to help your dog make the adjustment to your new baby. I started by choosing a breed of dog that is supposed to get along well with children. I chose the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel breed. Harrison has been very good around my tiny nephews when they came to visit, but was a little taken off guard by a friend’s infant baby and growled a little at her. Because of the minor growling, I am a little concerned about Harrison’s interaction with the new baby. I have done a ton of research about making the adjustment go smoothly. Below are some of the tips that I found helpful and will be using to help my baby and dog get along. I am not an expert and will update this post when I know more about how these tips worked out.
10 Tips for Dog Adjustment to Baby
- Start by desensitize your pet to the rough handling of young children. Touch your dog in places that small hands can go: ears, paws, underside, nose, and mouth. If your dog resists, feed him or her treats as you do it. Try to poke and treat your pet at least 5 times a day for a 2 to 5 minute period
- If you call your dog your baby, do not call your new baby, baby, instead call the new baby by his or her name.
- While at the hospital, have the new baby use a blanket and bring the used blanket home before you bring the baby home to allow the dog to smell it and get used to the smell of the new baby.
- When coming home the first time, come in without the baby first so that the dog can express his or her usual excitement to see his owners. You will probably be gone for several days at the hospital so the excitement will be high and your dog will need his or her own undivided attention.
- Once you bring the baby in, have a helper give the dog treats for good behavior around the baby. Also, stay calm as dogs pick up on your nervous energy. Avoid scolding your dog for bad behavior as you can never get a do-over for a first impression.
- The dog and baby should meet in a quiet and calm environment. Speak in a friendly voice and if the dog stance is friendly, let the dog sniff the babies feet and then praise the dog for a job well done. Always have a helper around to praise and give treats to the dog. Again, no scolding for bad behavior.
- Give the dog attention while the baby is awake so that your dog associates baby awake time with love, affection, and food. Feed the dog when you feed the baby. Walk the dog when you take the baby for a walk. When the baby is asleep or not around, try not to give the dog too much attention so that you are teaching the dog that things are more fun when the baby is around.
- If the babies noises upset the dog, associate the noises with treats. Put a doggie treat bag in the baby’s room.
- During baby feeding time, put a dog bed in the same room and give the dog something to chew on.
- If necessary, get professional help. If your dog has acted negatively around children or has been acting different toward the expecting mother, then you should probably bring your dog into a dog trainer for baby training.
Disclaimer: I am not a dog expert or trainer. I drafted this post based on research from experts. Feel free to leave your opinion based on your experience.