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There is nothing better in life than the pitter-patter of teeny-tiny little feet, is there? Four welcoming eyes welcome the birth of a new baby, while two eyes peer over the couch, green with envy. It would be an underestimate if we were to say that preparing your dog for a new baby arriving is important. It is essential!
The thing you need to remember is that preparing your dog for a new baby is going to involve a whole host of things. There’s new smells. New faces. New noises. New people. A lot of people. A lot of mess. A lot of crying…You feel overwhelmed by the new gift that you’ve created. How on earth do you think your poor pup would feel?
There is a plan of action that you should put into place when you find out you are pregnant. The sooner you start preparing your furry friend, the easier life will be. Over the years we have spent looking after dogs, we’ve learnt a trick or two and we feel that it is only fair to share them with you.
Are you ready?
Step one: Teach your dog some basic obedience skills if you haven’t already done so.
Sit, stay, stop, go, fetch, lay, etc. These are all tricks that your dog will need to learn. If you don’t have the time to train him, take him to an obedience class or hire in a professional so that they can help you learn the basics…and fast.
This will establish yourself as the pack leader if you haven’t already done so, which will make some of the next steps much easier and more effective.
Step two: Create a special spot for your pet to go when you need him too. This should be an area that can easily have a crate placed there if necessary. The aim of the game is to get him as comfortable as possible with a particular spot – make it his spot.
Start putting some toys there, and adding treats when he goes there on your command.
Make this space out of bounds from your baby so that your dog can feel safe & secure there.
The space will serve two purposes – first of all, it gives you somewhere to ‘send’your pup if he is getting in the way a bit or is a bit over excited with the baby but secondly, and more importantly, it gives your pooch a space of his own where he can go and rest when the baby is making too much noise or pulling his/her hair!
Step three: Equally, make sure that the baby’s nursery is out of bounds to your dog so that your dog understands that they must not enter the nursery unless you allow them to do so. This can be a physical barrier to start with, but try and work towards an invisible barrier using commands and your assertion.
Step four: You dog is probably going to get pulled around, prodded and poked by the baby so it is best if you start preparing your dog for it now. You know that he doesn’t like his ears being touched but your baby, when it gets to two years old, won’t know this. The more conditioning of the dog you do now, the easier it will be when the baby comes and starts toddling around the house. Try to touch the pet in the places that it wouldn’t normally like being touched, and get it accustomed to how the child will end up handling it.
Step five:Bring home something with the baby’s scent on it and let your dog sniff it from a distance but make sure that they don’t get too close unless you allow them to do so. This will set some new boundaries for your dog. This will start to make it clear to your dog that they must only sniff and approach the baby with your permission.
Step six: When you bring your baby home for the first time, make sure that your dog has been on a nice long walk so that they aren’t too bouncy and energetic. It helps if your dog is out of the house when you bring your baby back, to help your dog understand that your baby is above him/her in the pack order. Let your dog sniff the baby from a distance, but make sure that you are controlling that distance so that your dog understands there is an invisible barrier there that they must not cross unless you allow them to do so.
Step seven: When your baby is crawling around and into everything, try and teach your baby that your dog has boundaries too. The odd game of horsey is inevitable but try and teach your baby that your dog needs his/her own space too, and that they shouldn’t treat them like one of their toys.
Step eight: Your dog may feel pushed out at first, so make sure that you find time for them too. Take them on lots of walks, or if you don’t have time then get in touch with us so that we can help you out. Your dog will have to get used to lots of changes, but dogs are very adaptable and this will happen in no time at all so follow our tips, and be patient. It is a testing time for all.
Good Luck, and let us know if you need any help!
Adam & Laura
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