Dogs are incredibly loyal, loving animals. Loyalty is one of the reasons that owning a dog is a richly rewarding experience. But when you have a new baby, some dogs can react negatively.That reaction may be due to a number of different factors, including:
- Your dog may not know that the baby is now a pack member
- Your dog may try to assert itself in the pack
- Your dog may be fighting for your attention
Dogs believe in social hierarchies and tight pack habits, so they are defensive when someone unfamiliar comes into the group, and may act out to determine where it now stands in the pack with the new, small, bald baby that howls a lot. These are important considerations for you as a dog owner, in order to make sure that both your pet and your baby get along from day one, and build a life long friendship.
Prepare Your Dog For the Baby
You can reduce stress on your dog by making sure everything in the house for your baby is set-up well in advance. Make sure that the room, the crib, the diapers – everything is in its proper place for weeks before the baby arrives.This allows your dog time to adjust to their environment, so that the only thing you’re adding is a new baby.
Introduce Your Dog Slowly
Put your dog in a different room when you bring your baby home and inside. Place the baby inside its own room or crib. Then let the dog smell the baby from under the door.You can also give your dog your baby’s dirty clothes to sniff.The more the dog gets used to your baby’s scent, the easier it will be for him or her to adjust to meeting them.
Keep it Calm and Friendly
Try not to excite your dog too much before he/she meets the baby. Simply walk your dog in (on a leash if you’re concerned), let him or her see you holding the baby, and start repeating “good boy” or “good girl” in a gentle voice to your dog. If your dog is more relaxed, they’ll be less stressed by the introduction and less confused about what is going on. After you’re done, you can give your dog a treat and walk him or her out.
Continue to Give Your Dog Structure
Neglect after the baby arrives can make dogs moody, leading to poor appetite, and they may even go through stages of withdrawal from human contact. It’s not uncommon to be overwhelmed by the demands of a new baby, but make sure you’re still giving your dog good, proper structure that allows them to feel like life hasn’t changed too much.
I know many success stories of parents who raise their offspring in the presence of pets and none have any horror stories to tell. In fact, most pets take well to the introduction of a new family member, and even go on to form meaningful human-animal relationships. Your pet will eventually become your child’s best playmate, and the relationship will cultivate your child’s social skills with people as they grow up!
Image Source : Corbis