Preparing your dog for life with a newborn
When you’re expecting a new arrival in your household there can be a lot of preparation. This can include getting ready for life with a dog and a newborn. If you’re reading this you’re likely a bit nervous about the forthcoming changes in your home.
This article will give you several tips on how to introduce your dog to a new baby. The secret to making your dog feel included and not jealous when you have a baby is to make them feel included.
Before the baby arrives
Dogs are sensitive creatures and know when things are changing. This means your pet will pick up that something new is happening in the household, and they are likely to be wondering whether they will be included. If you’re asking yourself ‘how to get my dog ready for a new baby?’ it’s important to think about dog and new baby training well before the baby arrives.
It’s up to you to read up on how to prepare a dog for a new baby and do all you can to make sure your dog is comfortable around the baby (never leave them alone together). This way the two will form a lasting bond.
Dog and new baby training
If you have a well-trained dog who sits and stays on command, it will help immensely as they need to understand you’re the boss. If training has been a little lax in the past now is the time to reinforce it and ensure that your dog knows their place. Of course, you do this in a positive way by using treats and lots of cuddles as rewards, which will speed up the learning process.
Something very important is that a dog does not jump up, whether you have a baby or not. This can be dangerous if you or someone else is carrying the baby, especially if you have a large dog.
You should also introduce your dog to some of the baby equipment and new toys by letting them sniff the new smells. Your pet has to learn that these toys are for the baby, not them, so don´t leave them lying around.
Noise can be an issue, and we all know babies can be very vocal. Try playing recordings of a baby crying so your dog gets used to this new sound.
Do dogs get jealous of new babies?
One important thing to consider regarding dog behaviour with a new baby is that your dog may not be jealous. They could just be scared as a new baby, with all its disruption, can be intimidating for an animal that’s previously lived in a peaceful environment.
Yes, dogs do get jealous of babies, and it’s up to you as a pet owner to learn how to get dogs used to a new baby. If you have a reactive dog with a new baby (jumping up or barking) never shout or reprimand your dog in the presence of the baby as this could make things worse.
If you experience an aggressive dog and a new baby keep them separate for a while and try introducing them again later. Never assume that a dog won´t bite – all dogs can and some do.
Your dog was there first
How will my dog react to a new baby? It’s not your pet’s fault that there’s a new little human being in the house. The dog was there before the baby and may find it hard to adjust.
One of the key ways of introducing a new baby to a dog is to treat the dog the same as before and always give them plenty of praise.
Don´t let the baby play with the dog’s toys as they could get aggressive and growl or snap. Neither let them crawl into the dog’s bed when they’re on the move as the dog could become very territorial.
In addition, make sure you are always in the same room as the dog and baby and never leave them alone. Don´t allow the baby to grab the dog as the animal is just as fascinating for them and they don´t understand that Fido won’t like its ears being poked or its tail being pulled.
When you have a dog and a new baby, give the dog a safe place to retreat to when they’ve had enough of all the excitement, such as their bed or a covered cage. Fill it with their own toys and blankets so it smells familiar and keep this area in a quiet place.
How to get my dog ready for a new baby
While it will be hard to keep to your old routine at first, as new babies take a lot of time, try and stick to it as much as possible. Take the dog and new baby out for a walk together at least once a day so the dog sees they still have time for something fun.
If you live in the countryside walking with a baby carrier or backpack can be the ideal way for all of you to get some fresh air.
If you plan to walk your dog while pushing the pram you should practise this before the baby arrives. If you have a big, strong dog that pulls on the lead this may not be a good idea.
Something else to consider is the number of people that will be visiting your home to see the new baby. They may be ringing the doorbell, bringing presents, and generally filling up your house, which can also cause anxiety for your dog. If they’re used to being number one, maybe with just you and your partner, the sudden influx of visitors could be overwhelming.
Explain what you’re introducing your pet to the new baby and ask guests to bring a small dog treat with them to make a fuss of the dog. Try not to shut the dog out of the room when people come to see the baby but have their bed available so they can watch from the background and still feel part of things.
My dog seems depressed since the arrival of my baby
If your dog seems genuinely unhappy since you brought the new baby home they may be feeling depressed. They can´t understand that they are no longer number one and have to make way for a little person that makes a lot of noise.
The classic signs of dog depression are:
- stopping eating or drinking
- excessive barking
- chewing things when they didn´t before
If you have a new baby and your dog is depressed, it’s important to give your pet as much fuss and attention as you can as they may be feeling unwelcome in their own home. Who knows, one day your dog and toddler will be running round the garden together and be the best of friends.
You could also include Lactium® in your dog’s diet, which is known to have calming properties. A much gentler alternative to pet tranquilisers, this milk derivative is a natural way to treat your dog’s depression and can help them deal with the change in the situation. Lactium® is a natural solution that reduces stress in pets, contact us to find out more!