For years it was three of you: you, your spouse, and your dog. Fluffy had all the love and treats and walks in the world. His life was pretty damn perfect. Until one day mom disappears for few days and comes back with a tiny screaming thing that all of a sudden takes all the attention and love and baby talk. This change is very confusing for your dog and it is up to you to make this transition as smooth as possible and make the baby-Fluffy relationship work from the start. And this transition should start well before the baby is here.
Sooner rather than later sign Fluffy up for some obedience training or get private lessons in your home with a dog trainer.
The last thing you want is your dog under your feet while you are carrying your baby around the house trying to rock him to sleep. A simple command like “go to your crate/place/mat” can save a trip to the ER for both of you.
Start teaching Fluffy to walk along with a stroller.
I bet you wouldn’t want your dog pulling and zigzagging while you are pushing a stroller down the street.
Slowly start to give Fluffy less attention and adjust walk schedule to what it might be after the baby is here.
I know it is hard to predict but you can talk to other families with dogs and see what was happening in the first weeks and months.
Bring a blanket with baby scent for your dog to sniff and get familiar with baby’s smell before you both come home from the hospital.
Dogs see the world through their noses. Knowing baby’s smell will make his arrival less stressful for Fluffy.
When coming home from the hospital, give lots of attention to your dog.
After all you were gone for couple days and he missed you so much! He deserves some love and treats for being a good boy.
Let Fluffy carefully sniff the baby.
He will remember the smell and associate it with your newborn.
Never leave your baby alone with a dog in places where Fluffy might be able to reach him.
Your bed seems like a perfectly safe place for a newborn for a couple of seconds, but what if Fluffy decides to jump up and unintentionally hurts the baby? The same goes for the couch. Dogs have no concept of how fragile newborns are.
Your dog should get the attention from visitors before your baby.
Have guests say hello to Fluffy first and after he calms down they can go see your little bundle of joy.
Is your dog becoming overprotective of the baby or the mother?
Here is where you might need some professional help. A professional dog trainer or an animal behaviorist can help you to nip this before it becomes a real problem.
And finally enjoy the growing bond between your babies.
Keep in mind, though, that when your infant becomes a toddler there are other factors to consider in the changing relationship between your dog and your child.
Vera is a new mom of a 2.5 months old baby girl Zoe, dog Bear, and cat Mishka. As a certified dog trainer she wants to help dog parents to understand their furry kids and make life for all of them happy and fun. Vera owns her business Dog Life Hoboken LLC since 2014.