We are starting to prepare the dogs now for the baby's arrival. We are slowly making changes to the house, getting the room for the nursery cleaned out and setting limits with the dogs now, so that their stress level is minimized when we bring the little bundle of joy home. Here are some tips to help make the transition of adding a new baby to the mix safe and happy for both mom, dog and baby.
***Disclaimer: I am not dog training expert. If you have any concerns about your dog and your baby please seek expert consultation. And never, ever leave a dog and a baby together unattended.***
Before Baby Comes Home
- Set up the nursery and the bigger items at least a month prior to baby coming home. If you are going to use a baby swing or other item that moves, set it up and turn it on so that dog isn't startled or frightened by the noise and the movements.
- Dogs can get intimated by big items that move. Set up the stroller and take your dog for a walk with the empty stroller. Sure the neighbors will think you are crazy, but you will get used to controlling the dog and the stroller and the dog will get used to walking next to it. The dog will associate the stroller with happy times.
- Create a safe place for your pet. Everyone needs their own space from time to time, and dogs are no exception. Create a corner or a small room (the garage or laundry area) where pooch can feel safe but not excluded. Store the dog's toys here and feed them here. Add a bed or a blanket if you need to.
- Try to teach the dog what it his toy and what is babies toy. It's hard people to tell the difference between doggy's giraffe and baby's giraffe, but you don't want baby's giraffe in doggy's mouth or vice versa. Try to keep the dog's toys in his safe place and baby's toys put away.
- Set limits with your dog before the baby arrives. If your dog sometimes sneaks on to the sofa or onto the end of the bed when you fall asleep, break that habit now. I am personally guilty of falling asleep and not noticing a dog climb up on the bed and keep my feet warm. But you won't want that once baby comes, so reprimand and stop that behavior early.
- Familiarize the dog with the scent of the baby once born. Have dad or grandma bring home the babies first hospital blanket or first hat, something that smells like baby. Let the dog sniff it, then have the person hold it and keep it to let the dog know that that particular scent belongs to you, not to the dog.
Once Baby Comes Home
- Introduce the baby to the dog, one dog at a time. Have one person hold the baby and one person in control of the leashed dog. Let the dog know that it's okay and pet the dog. The dog might seem scared or anxious. If you have any concerned with how the dog is behaving, take the dog away, give it some positive attention and try again later.
- Once the dog feels comfortable around the baby, don't exclude the dog. Some of my favorite memories were late night feedings holding the baby and our old golden retriever on the ground next to my feet and his head on the chair next to the baby's feet.
- Get a Playtex® Diaper Genie® Complete. The Diaper Genie is a life saver. It's inconspicuous and an easy way to dispose of dirty diapers. Dogs love the smell of dirty diapers and as gross as it is they will try and eat it. Trust me, I know from experience and it is not a pretty sight. The Diaper Genie keeps the smell away with the Ultimate Odor Lock system features a 7-layer refill bag with double Air-Tite® CLAMP, and keeps Fido safe from eating something he should definitely not be. Plus it holds up to 270 dirty diapers.
Have you success introducing your dog to your new baby? Share your tips with me in the comments!