I’ve been a dog mom for a long time and love my Gino and Duncan to the moon! So of course, I think a lot about what an adjustment it will be for them when we bring home our baby boy this winter.
Welcoming a baby into your family is a huge and exciting change for everyone, even your dog. Do what you can to make it a positive transition with these tips for preparing your dog for baby!
When you imagine the day your dog meets your baby, are you picturing your dog giving them sweet little toe licks and gently sniffing them, with a happily wagging tail?
That very well may be what happens. But the reality is, your dog might not be thrilled about a baby at first. Some people aren’t baby people, and some dogs don’t warm up to a new, precious presence in their home right away.
That’s why one of the best things you can do when it comes to preparing your dog for baby is to have realistic expectations. Maybe your dog(s) will immediately love their little human siblings, and maybe they’ll need some help getting used to your new addition. Either way, it’s important that you know it’s okay for things not to be perfect right away. Your family, furry members included, will get there!
We haven’t brought a new baby to our home before, but we have added a family member: When we introduced Gino to his new brother, Duncan, it was definitely an adjustment for him! Even though I wish they would have hit it off immediately, in time they developed a great relationship. Now, Gino has a great playmate 24/7!
You don’t have to twist a pregnant person’s arm to get them to plan! While we’re busy nesting and getting ready for our babies’ arrival, pregnant women are creating all sorts of plans! So, while you’re at it, create a plan for preparing your dog for baby.
Whether you’re due in a few weeks or you recently found out you’re expecting, you can make the most of the remaining time in your pregnancy to get your fur baby ready for your human one!
Think about all the ways your dog’s universe is going to change with a baby, and make a list! This might include:
With that list, you can then make a plan for how you will help make introducing your baby to your home a bit less jarring and stressful for your dog.
Your dog’s training and obedience skills are especially important when you bring home a new baby. Yes, “sit” and “stay” may seem basic, but when your hands are full with caring for your baby and keeping them safe (yes, even with your sweet dog), obedience skills are key.
As you’re preparing your dog for baby, take a close look at your dog’s obedience skills and where you can help them improve. Your dog will probably be pretty excited about all of the new things happening in your home and life, and helping them manage impulses is really valuable.
Some basic skills that are helpful to master before baby are:
Your dog’s daily routines will adjust in some ways, whether great or small, when your new baby joins the family. One helpful step in preparing your dog for baby is easing them into changes to their routines.
For example, your dog might be accustomed to you taking them right outside as soon as they wake up. But with a new baby, you might have things you need to do before leashing your dog up. You can help them get used to this shift in routines by starting to make changes before your baby arrives.
That way, your dog won’t be dealing with a new person in the house on top of changes to their schedule and routines!
Welcoming a new baby can mean that you’re not able to give your dog the time and attention they’re used to – at least, not at first. Make sure they still feel loved and cared for by planning ahead for their care during and after your baby’s arrival.
The big period to address is the time that you are in the hospital. You’ll likely need to be there a couple days, and perhaps more depending on your birth and mom and baby’s health. One of the best things you can do when preparing your dog for baby is to make plans for who will be taking care of your dog at that time.
Once you get home with your little bundle of joy, it might also be helpful to line up who will be walking your dog and giving them some extra attention. It might be you, your partner, or even family or friends getting them out for long walks or even a trip to a local dog park! Make it a priority to give your dog plenty of affection and exercise amidst the (sometimes) chaos of bringing home a new baby!
When you bring anything new and exciting into your house, your dog’s probably pretty interested! An infant will be no exception. Add on the fact that your dog probably will not have seen you for a couple of days, and you’re going to have one excited pup!
Give your dog an opportunity to greet you with plenty of sloppy kisses, and to give them plenty of good rubs and scratches, before you introduce them to the baby. This might mean you and your partner take turns going inside to see them solo before bringing in your newborn.
Then, when your dog has gotten their fill of love and is a bit more relaxed, let them sniff your baby and check things out! Parents also recommend arranging to give your dog special treats during the first feeding or nursing session. That way, they associate positive things with that time when they will typically need to stay away.
Your dog is just as new to having a baby around the house as you will be – except, they won’t have the slightest idea what’s going on! One thing to keep in mind as you’re preparing your dog for baby is teaching them (and your baby) how to interact positively with each other.
At first, your baby won’t have much say in the matter, so it’s up to you to teach your dog about what behavior is and isn’t okay around the baby. As your baby grows and starts sitting up, grabbing, and swatting… You can see where this is going! Start as early as you can with teaching your baby about what being nice and friendly with their big furry sibling is, and what isn’t.
Do you have any tried and true tips for preparing your dog for a new baby? Leave a comment and share your experiences!