Dogs are GREAT in so many ways. They provide us companionship and a sense of security. They improve our health by giving us a reason to exercise and they simply add a sense of joy to our lives. As dog lovers, they accompany us through many of life’s transitions.
For many of us, dogs are companions we grew up with. We’re naturally excited when we arrive at that place in the world where we can get “our own dog.” And we spend a lot of time and lavish a significant amount of attention on “our dog”…because we have the time.
But then life evolves again and the next thing you know…you’re expecting a human baby!!
The excitement is high, but there is a little bit of apprehension…because let’s face it, Fido has gotten pretty used to being the center of attention. And now things will have to change.
The transition for your dog can go smoothly if you start early and prepare your dog for the arrival of your newborn.
Here are just a few tips from our Paws To Pacifiers clinic that will get you started on this next great adventure!
- Start implementing good leadership skills. This should include teaching your dog to defer space so they will be willing to move off of the couch or get out of the way of a wobbly toddler. Download this free guide to help you create daily routines that teach your dog better behavior.
- Redirect the demanding dog that likes to nudge, bark, or paw at you to gain your attention. The simple fact is, Fido is going to have to entertain himself a bit more because you will be busier giving some of your time to the needs of a newborn.
- Don’t skip out on your dog’s exercise needs. If your pooch does not walk nicely on a leash, get busy teaching that skill and be sure to add a stroller to your walks so your dog can get used to this new, somewhat intimidating, piece of machinery walking next to him. If there is no way you can devote the time to your dog’s exercise requirements, hire a dog walker or consider a good daycare environment so your dog can blow off some steam on a regular basis.
- Make sure your dog has decent manners and will follow through when you ask him to “leave it” or “stay”. A few solid obedience skills go a long way toward making your dog more manageable and your days more peaceful.
- Evaluate your dog’s toys and consider removing stuffed items. If you limit your dog to things that are primarily used for chewing, like hard rubber or nylon toys, there will be fewer tears down the road when your dog thinks the soft, stuffed Teddy Bear is his to dissect also!
Bringing a baby home is an exciting time. We want your child to grow up with many happy memories of their furry companion, just as you did. Always remember it is your responsibility to supervise interactions and make sure your child grows up with a healthy respect for the dog’s needs as well.
If you have difficulties or questions, please seek professional help so your child does not end up among the sad statistics of kids who get bit by the family dog.