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Best wishes with your new baby arriving—and best wishes for teaching your dog how he’s supposed to behave! By now you have the baby’s nursery decorated, had your enjoyable baby shower, and all things you need for your little one are tucked away. But what about your dog or dogs?
Animals are smart and know when life around them is changing. It might be your smell, or attitude, and the dynamics within the dog’s home. You will need to train your dog for the new arrival to integrate him for the newest family member.
Start doing the things early on in your pregnancy to prevent problems in the future with your dog friend. Yes, some days you might feel less energetic and have morning sickness, but plan on your better days to start training him now. If you wait until the baby is born, you won’t be able to control your time and meet the demands of your infant at the same time. You don’t want to give your dog away because he’s a bad actor.
- Aggressive dog behavior is a no-no around the new baby. If he acts belligerent or hostile and on the war path that even you don’t understand, take him to a professional dog trainer to stop this in its tracks at once. You don’t want this attitude to persist because it can get worse. He could be feeling some anxiety separation by not getting all the attention after the baby moved in.
- Emphasize your dog’s limitations for boundaries. Even before your baby arrives, now is the time to teach your dog about the rules again. Be consistent and know that you’ve given him the message.
- Be sure your dog knows he cannot go into the baby’s nursery or other places you’ve set to be off limits. I once had a cat and puppy together that loved to sleep on my bed and my bedroom was not allowed for them due to their hair and dander. It only took a few days to get this across to them with the cat being more bedroom insistent. Cats are terribly psychic and aloof so it’s hard to read them. If your dog’s play yard or play pen is in the family or living room, you don’t want him rough housing and jumping in. Wherever you don’t want the dog to be, let him know now.
- Dogs become excited jumping around, beating his tail against furniture, walls, and your legs. You don’t want his enthusiasm hurting your baby. Give him a treat when he becomes calm with a more docile behavior. He must comply with your requests and he will. If you can’t get this message across, then take him back to the dog trainer.
- Your customary household schedules and agendas will not be the same as before with a new crying infant to care for. You will have feedings, diaper changes, baths, and more tasks for quite a while with your new baby needing lots of attention. You can start the new routines by enlisting the help of someone else to feed and walk your dog. The dog won’t feel ignored and will get used to his new handlers.
- Baby crying sounds? It might be a good idea to find a video on YouTube of a crying baby. Let it play throughout the day and check for the dog’s reactions to the sound. Play it loud and let it replay until you’re sick of hearing it! Do your daily chores and instruct your dog for becoming familiar with the crying.
- By now you have your baby’s carriage, jogging stroller, or buggy. Take it and your dog for a walk to watch his conduct walking behind or alongside on his leash. You don’t want him jumping on the stroller. After your baby arrives, you and your dog will get exercise and the baby will get fresh air. Exercise boosts your mood and probably the dog’s mood too.
- Let your family or neighbor’s babies and youngsters become familiar with your dog, if you haven’t already; familiarize him with little people. Some dog breeds interact differently with kids than they do with adults. Observe the dog’s actions with them now to fend off any unruly behavior with your child.
3A. When Baby Gets Home and Meets Your Dog
You’ve spent 9 months training and coaching your dog for your baby’s arrival. Now you want their meeting to go well. As time goes by, each phase in your baby’s growth and maturity level will give you much joy and new encounters with your dog. Make corrective behavior adjustments with both your dog and your infant and growing crawler then toddler.
- Before meeting your new baby, take your dog on a hike to burn off excess energy and not be so excited when he meets your baby for the first time.
- The first time your dog meets your new baby be holding him or her. Let your dog sniff the air to discover the new scents around the house to learn them for the future.
- Leave some distance until your dog sniffs and looks around, then let your dog get closer to you and your baby.
- Never leave your baby alone with your dog. When your baby cries, flails his legs and arms and thrashes about it might cause your dog’s inherent predatory or examining nature to come forth. Your dog can go outside or in another room or tell him the stay or down command that he knows well. Dogs can bite and accidents happen so NEVER EVER leave your baby alone with your dog!
- The baby needs to respect your dog and not poke his eyes, pull his tail, ears, nose or other uncomfortable acts to your dog. Your dog needs to feel secure too as a member of the family.
As your dog and baby become acquainted with each other, you will see heartwarming exchanges and love between them. A happy dog will be devoted to your children and give unconditional love.