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6 Tips To Prepare Your Dog For Baby’s Arrival

You’ve thought long and hard about the personal changes that occur after you bring your baby home, but have you considered what types of changes your dog will face? Luckily for you and your pooch, your baby won’t appear on your doorstep. Take the time you have to try these tips for preparing your dog for a new baby.

Assess your dog’s obedience level.

Does your pooch still jump with excitement every time you return home? Do they have trouble sitting or staying even when commanded? These behaviors are cute now, but will quickly lose their charm once you’re holding an infant in your arms. Assessing your dog’s ability to comply with commands like sit, lay, stay and down will help you determine how ready for a baby they are.

If you think your excitable pup could use some work, enroll them in obedience school. Additionally, make a conscious effort to reward your dog for positive behavior. For instance, if your dog is lying calmly in the kitchen as you bustle around preparing dinner, take a moment to reward him for his calm demeanor. He won’t soon forget what he was doing to earn some extra affection.

Play pretend.

This tip will likely make you feel silly but pretending a doll is your baby is a great way to initially gauge your dog’s reaction to the little one. Just remember, it’s for the sake of man’s best friend that you’re toting around a doll as an adult. All jokes aside, the most important aspect of this exercise it to treat the doll as though it’s a real baby. Your dog will notice you coddling someone else and will ultimately react to the situation. Be sure to closely observe and assess this reaction.
If your pooch displays jealously, schedule a play date with friends or family who have children and bring him along. Do this sooner rather than later, as it may take your dog some time to properly socialize around little ones.

Set physical boundaries.

While setting up the nursery for your newborn is exciting for you and your partner, it can be extremely confusing for your four-legged friend. If you plan to keep the nursery off limits to your dog, it’s best to do this several months in advance. Practice setting the boundary by sitting in the room and commanding your dog to stay as she tries to enter. Don’t forget to reinforce the desired behavior with treats and praise. It’s important that your pal understands they aren’t in trouble!

Establish changes in routine a few months in advance.
It’s impossible to know each and every change having a baby will bring to your life, however if you can anticipate a few you’re doing your dog a huge favor. Some of the most common changes include:

  • Time of day for routine exercise
  • Time of daily feeding
  • Bedtime

While these changes seem small to you, your dog will likely disagree. Try incorporating the tips below a minimum of three months in advance to help facilitate any routine changes:

  • If you always walk your dog in the morning, start walking them in the evening a few days a week. Additionally, if your baby is going to join you during these daily strolls, practice walking with the stroller.
  • You never know what your morning will look like with a newborn. If your pal is fed at 8:00 a.m. sharp every day, start feeling her at random times between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. so she won’t feel neglected on a particularly hectic morning.
  • Any late night habits will probably become a thing of the past once you have a bundle of joy to take care of. Establish a new bedtime by starting any rituals (ie. potty breaks or nightly treats) a half hour earlier than usual. As your pooch becomes accustomed to the new time, move it up another half hour. Do this until you feel you’ve reached your ideal bedtime.

Introduce your dog to baby scents prior to bringing home the baby.
No matter how much you prepare your dog, bringing home the baby will be a big change. You can help facilitate this process through a variety of methods:

  • Use small amounts of the baby’s lotions, shampoos, powder or creams on yourself so Fido associates them with a familiar person.
  • Ask friends to borrow clothes or blankets with their baby’s scents to help your dog get accustomed to the smell.
  • After the baby is born, bring home a blanket or onesie with his/her scent prior to bringing the baby home.

It’s important to let your dog investigate these scents so he may become accustomed to them prior to the big meet. While these aspects seem small, they go a long way in helping your pal transition.

Exercise, exercise, exercise.
Even if you don’t own a high-energy breed, it’s a good idea to make sure you allot time daily for exercise. Exercise is a great time to give your pooch one-on-one attention, which will help with any anxiety, jealousy or loneliness he feels by not being the center of attention any more. Additionally, exercise also wears your pal out. He’s far more likely to be calm around the baby after playing fetch for half an hour than he his without playing.

We wish you all the luck as you expand your family and hope our tips go a long way in preparing your dog for a baby.