How to Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog

Dogs and babies

Congratulations, You Had a Baby!

Introducing baby to dog

Once owners find out they’re having a baby, they start worrying about how their pet is going to react to the baby and how their first encounter will look like. Introducing your dog to the new situation is a very important process, and you should start doing it as soon as you can, much before the baby is born and gets home. When you start training your dog, remember that no matter how well you think you know your pet, accidents do happen, and you should never leave your baby alone with the dog. A few tips that we’re going to bring up in the text below, will help you introduce your baby to your dog and prepare you for your life together.

Baby Is in the House : Basics of Safety

Most dogs easily get accustomed to a new baby in the house. However, you need to be extra cautious if your dog has ever expressed aggressive behavior towards other adults, baby’s or children, or has ever shown the need for hunting. By hunting we mean, chasing, catching or killing little animals, such as: birds, squirrels, cats, mice, other dogs etc. If any kind of aggressive behavior was shown in the past, you should be careful and try consulting with a dog behavior specialist. He would be working with you and your dog in order to help you correct your dogs behavior, so it could be safe for the baby. You should start with the preparations for introducing your baby to the dog, even before the baby gets home from the hospital. Most non-aggressive dogs will be very curious in the beginning, and they will want to see the baby, but be sure that soon they will adapt to the new situation in the house. However, it is important that your dog understands and obeys certain commands. Two of the most important are:

– “Sit”

– “Stop”

If they obey your commands, make sure to treat them with food and repeat that often. Keep in mind that these two commands will soon get linked to the baby, so don’t punish them and don’t be rough during the process of training. Instead, make sure that you train your dog trough play, and give him a positive experience, the one he will link to the baby. After successfully overcoming some basic commands, start training your dog to sit and stay still, after you get away from him, because that will help your dog get used to many new behaviors that will manifest once the baby comes.

Connect the Baby and the Dog :

Introducing baby to dog

Before the baby gets to the house, try bringing home some of the baby’s stuff, a blanket or an item of baby’s clothes. Let your dog sniff and lick it, so he can get familiar with the baby’s scent. Your dog should meet the baby under calm and controlled terms. Once the baby is home, let him sniff the mother first, and get used to the baby’s smell on her skin and clothes. And when the initial excitement of seeing the baby goes down, you can finally introduce you baby to your dog. One person should hold the baby and the other should hold the dog on a leash and give him the command to sit. If your dog gets anxious, take a break and repeat the same thing a little later. When he calms down, let him sniff the baby, but don’t let him get too close, so he couldn’t bite. After the dog is calm, repeat the same thing, but this time without the leash. Their initial introduction, should last for at least one hour in the first couple of days. After you are sure that he will remain calm around the baby, let him walk around and watch what you’re doing. Observe his reactions and interest towards the baby, and make sure to make this period of adapting as comfortable as you can for all family members.

Avoid Infections :

To protect your dog from various infections and keep your baby and your family safe and healthy, make sure to do the next things:

– Take your dog to the vet regularly

– Don’t let the dog lick your baby’s face hands or feet, at least for the first couple of months

– Don’t forget to wash your hands before touching the baby, or preparing the food for the baby

– Make sure to shorten your dogs nails in order to avoid cuts and prevent infection

– Wash your dog outdoors and stop bacteria from spreading in the house

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