Your New Baby At Home With Your Dog?Fri June 22nd, 2012 @ 11:35 pm
Worried about having your new baby at home with your dog?
Parents are understandably very protective of their children, it is an in-born natural defense. If you take some time to work with your dog prior to the big event, you can make sure that everything goes smoothly and safely.
In the beginning while you're pregnant, the dog will know you're going to have this baby, and he feels everything you feel; some dogs more so than others. Now is the time to relocate his sleeping area if the dog is used to sleeping with you on your bed. You don't want the dog to resent the baby who it seems has pushed him out of his "den" space.
Before the baby is born, make sure you have these tools for your dog:
get him or her use to spending time in a crate. Do this by feeding the dog in there and he will learn to love it. Put his faviorte bone or chew toy in there too.
Get him or her used to a kennel. Start out with having him in there for short periods, the same as with the crate. Let him know that it's a nice place to be - never use it for punishment.
If your dog sleeps in a room in a dog bed or crate where the baby will also sleep when it comes home - let the dog get used to seeing the crib nearby. The dog may wonder whats going on, so to help with this, put a clean towel or someother material in the crib with the baby for awhile and then place it in the dog's bed or crate. Smell is the most importantsense your dog uses. His nose is 450 times better then a person’s and is better then his eye sight or even his hearing when it comes to identifying and understanding a new human presence. You want the dog to feel that the baby has become the newest member of his pack. A clear-headed dog, will adjust to the new baby once you let him sleep with a piece of the child's clothing or bedding.
If you own a dog that has always been the center of attention, things change for the dog after the new baby comes home. He may start acting out in strange ways. He or she may start chewing up things like a puppy, or even start "marking" again. I have even seen dogs demanding more attention from friends when they come over - jumping on them and wanting to play; bringing a ball to them and pushing ther noses at them to get petted. They miss the affection and attention they had before. This is where the dog gets caught up in the web of human drama. He can’t talk , so he or she will act out to get attention, even if it's negative attention.
When the baby starts to crawl around on the floor it's time to make a few new rules. Never leave the room while a young baby is down on the floor with the dog. Make sure your baby sitters also know this. The best way to prevent any mishap is to put the dog in his or her crate or kennel just before you leave to go out.
Next, you must teach your dog not to be food or toy aggressive. There will be times when your baby will crawl around and come up on your dog while he or she is eating or playing. You don’t want the dog to snap at the child or nip him to protect his meal or toy. Once the baby starts crying mom and dad will become alarmed and the dog won’t know what it did wrong. (this can cause deep fear in the family if it isn't fixed beforehand.) this is why i say don’t wait to find out - make sure your dog is not food aggressive before the baby comes home. If he is, it's not that hard to fix.
Since your dog is no longer the center of attention once the baby comes home, try your best to get back to the former state of things. How do we do this when mom and dad are worn out from from trying to be the best new parents they can be?
Please take the dog for car rides with you and include him in as many family trips a possible. If both parents areat home, take the dog for a walk or a run. If your dog is used to runing along with your bike take him on bike rides . Even better, take him on walks with the baby in the stroller. Make him a real part of the family.
Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise and do lots of petting along side of your child. If your child is calm put a treat in the baby's hand and let him give it to the dog with a flat hand.
Don't instill fear in your child by being over-protective. Try and remain calm and assertive. You are the pack leader- you and your partner. It will take both of you to make it work.
If you are adopting a dog prior to having a baby, test the dog around other children and babies. Make sure they are accustomed to children runing around and screaming in fun as children do. Watch their reactions when children feed them and pick up their toys. Some dogs don’ t like their necks hugged and will shrug the child off for putting it full weight on the dog. This all depends on the dog.
Please, if you had been bitten as a child and you have a fear of dogs and your partner wants a dog and you are letting him or her have one - but deep down you're not really for it - please express your self - be honest.
Get a proffessional trainer to help you with this new dog and let your partner help with the baby sitting. In the human drama of life it is so imprortant to be honest about your fears. Each of us has them.
Do your homework - pick the breed that is good for the family and good with children. This will remove a lot of stressfrom the picture. Remember all breeders will tell you that their breed is good with kids, which is not true. Some have been bred to work and have much too much energy (or what we call drive) to be good house pets.
Call us at 831-427-3811 for any questions. We do home visits.