Here are some tips on how to introduce your dog to your new baby; and kick-start the beginning of great and everlasting friendship.
TAKE CONTROL AND BE THE ALPHA DOG
It’s very important to start your pup or adult dog as early as possibly with socialization. Don’t let this be a daunting task. Your dog will surprise you with how eager they are to please and will love all the attention and treats that come with learning.
So first things first. Start off with puppy classes at 8-10 weeks of age. This will allow your dog to learn the basic commands that you will need to keep control at home.
Once you have that sorted then you can start to introduce your dog to children that you know. Ask them to practice some of the new skills they have learned like sit and wait. Make sure you have some healthy treat options to reward your dog for this cooperation.
Then you can move on by asking children to slowly start handling your dog more. Start with patting and light strokes. Make sure they do this when your dog is calm and relaxed. As your dog gets more comfortable with this type of touch they can start touching their ears and lips. Gently does it.
Always make sure you are there to supervise your dog. Your dog will soon look forward to these friendly visits.
HOW TO PREVENT & HANDLE UNWANTED BEHAVIOUR
We want to teach our dogs not to be possessive and aggressive over food. So a great way to overcome or prevent this behaviour is to start handling them during meal times. Touch their ears, collar, tail, paws etc. while offering a small treat. They will soon associate meal time with physical touch and treats.
If you find your dog is aggressive at meal times then you should contact a behaviourist to assist with this unwanted behaviour.
Make sure that your dogs are up to date with their vaccinations, deworming and have a general health check to make sure there are no issues that could be causing any pain or discomfort. If your dog is showing any signs of aggressive behaviour or unwanted behaviour like pawing and jumping up, ask a behaviourist for advice on getting this sorted out as soon as possible.
Start having a routine with your pets so they know when to expect play time, meal times etc. This will help them when they are not the centre of attention.
Make sure your dog has their own resting space that’s comfortable and always available to them, as well as a safe comfy confined area. It’s also a great idea to have toys, chews and even a teddy for company.
PREPARE YOUR DOG FOR THE CHANGES OF HAVING A BABY AROUND
Time to bring out baby doll. This is a great way to get your dog used to some of the changes to come. Carry the doll around, pass it around to family at home, talk to it, pretend to feed it and put it in and out the baby’s cot.
When you do this with the doll you can use a calm voice to ask your dog commands like sit and slowly. Give them a treat when they get it right.
This is also a great time to teach your dog the imaginary boundaries you’d like to have around the house. The baby’s nursery is a good place to practice this. Allow them in the room to sniff around but then they need to learn that when you say out, sit or wait they need to respond to these commands. This will give you control and remind them that this is not their space and that you are the Alpha.
• CONGRATULATIONS, BABY HAS ARRIVED
Before baby comes home bring one of the baby’s blankets or burp cloths home for the dogs to sniff. You can also wrap the blanket around the doll and continue to carry it around with you. Allow them to smell the doll and use a calm voice to give commands. Treat them and praise them for the good behaviour.
When you bring baby home it’s a good idea for someone other than mommy to carry baby in to the house. The dogs will be excited to see mommy and will need to be calm when you introduce your dog to your new baby. When they are calm and ready to meet baby, allow them to approach slowly and to smell the baby.
When baby makes noises or cries this may alarm your dog. Use a calm voice to keep the dogs calm and reward them for their calm behaviour. Your dog will get used to baby in no time and soon be your extra set of eyes and ears.
• SAFETY FIRST
Make sure you are always supervising your dog around the baby. When you aren’t able to, it’s best to have them separated with your dog in a confined space. Make sure your dog has plenty of distractions in the way of TOYS, a favourite teddy, a BED and water when in this area.
If you’re worried about your dog getting too close to baby, call them in a calm tone of voice to get their attention and away from baby.
Start teaching your children from a young age how to handle the dogs.
TRY THESE 4 HOUSE RULES:
- Soft, calm stroking and patting
- No leaning or sitting on the dogs
- Don’t interrupt their meals
- Try not to run too much and get the dogs over excited as they may jump up or play bite
Be an excellent example for your kids and they will soon mimic your ways with the dogs. Always give your dog lots of praise for good behaviour and to use healthy treat options as a reward.
Hope this article shined some light on how to introduce your dog to your new baby.