How to Introduce Your Dog To Your New Baby
How to Introduce Your Dog To Your New Baby
Congratulations on the new baby! Parenting is a hard, yet a rewarding experience, and no better way of sharing this wonderful experience than with your dog. Before letting man’s best friend near your newborn, there are a few safety precautions you need to understand about dog and baby first encounters. According to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia, has reported that there are about 800,000 dog bites a year that need medical attention with about 334,000 cases a year that are severe enough for hospital treatment. To avoid any accidents, keep scrolling below to learn how to introduce your dog to your new baby.
Slowly Make Changes to Your Dog’s Routine
Many dogs are used to following specific routines in their daily lives. So bringing in a newborn into your home can ruin their normal schedule which can cause your dog agitation, confusion, or unhappiness. To avoid these moods, you should slowly make changes to your dog’s routine a few weeks before your baby is born. By disrupting your dog’s schedule, your dog will start to get used to disruptions your child will make throughout the day and night.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends changes to your dog’s bedtime, walkings, and going through your baby’s routine before your newborn comes home will help them adjust to having a new family member around.
Let Your Dog Smell the Baby’s Items
Adding a baby to the family means you will be adding a ton of new items into your home as well. And out of curiosity, your dog will smell everything and may move things around. Make their adjustment to all the new items and the baby easily by allowing your dog to smell the baby’s items. You can let your dog smell freshly washed baby clothes, diapers, lotions, toys, and soaps, so they are familiar with the scent that your baby will have.
According to an interview that Canine Bible conducted with Dr. Bruce Kornreich, associate director at the Cornell Feline Health Center in Ithaca, New York, Dr. Kornerich claims that dogs' long-term memory can last indefinitely. So, the sooner you get your dog used to your baby’s scent, the easier it will be for your dog to adjust to the new family addition.
Reduce the Amount of Attention You Give Your Dog
As everyone knows, babies require most of your attention, so your dog may get jealous of the extra attention you are giving your little one. To help alleviate the jealousy, reduce the amount of attention you give your dog a few weeks before introducing them to your baby. This doesn’t mean neglect your dog, but instead, reduce little by little the amount of attention in playtime and cuddles you give your dog. Just remember to continue loving and supporting your dog, so they don’t feel abandoned.
First Greet Your Dog Alone Before Bringing Baby Inside
Bringing your new baby home is a very exciting moment, but before you bring your child inside, make sure to greet your dog first. This will help them calm down after being away from you and avoid them from jumping on your little one. Also, by waiting to bring your baby after you, will let your pet know that you aren’t bringing in a stranger.
Let Your Dog Adjust to Your Baby’s Sound, Smell, & Sight
The first few weeks of being a new parent are overwhelming and involve a lot of learning; however, your dog is learning about your little one as well. While you are up taking care of your baby, your dog is absorbing every single sound, smell, and movement that your child makes. During this period, let your dog get to know your baby at their own pace. It is important to remember to keep reassuring your dog with pets and treats while also keeping a close eye on how they react to your little one.
After A Few Days, Let Your Dog Smell Your Baby While On A Leash
Once your dog has adjusted to your baby’s sounds, smells, and seeing them, it’s time to let your dog smell your little one while on a leash. By keeping your dog on a leash, it allows the person who is holding the other end control on how close your dog can get to your baby. This tip also lets your dog know that you have the upper hand when it comes to your little one.
Allow Your Dog to Smell Your Baby Without Leash
If your dog is calm around your baby while on a leash, then it’s time to take it to the next step — letting your dog smell your baby without a leash. When you allow your dog near your baby without a leash, make sure to always keep your eye out on your pet. You should follow this step even when your child grows older. Now with the leash off, it’s finally time for your dog and baby to become the best buddies!
By following these steps, your dog will be able to successfully adapt to having a little human around. For more information or if you notice your dog not adjusting very well, don’t be afraid to call your vet. They may have some additional tips to help you get through the process more smoothly.
If you plan on adding a dog to your family when your child is older, we have a few more tips on how to socialize dogs with children. Or, if you plan on adopting another dog in the future, here are some tips on preparing to adopt a second dog.
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Written by Clara Doyle