Many dog owners adore their pets, this is shown by the numerous hours that are dedicated to finding the most premium dog food and taking them for walks. However, it can be difficult to know how to handle the arrival of a new baby without making your furry family member feel left out.
The Dog's Trust has constructed some important guidance on how you can ensure that the new baby and your beloved canine get on.
As with most things, the sooner you start preparing your dog for a new arrival, the better. The more time you can spend training them to adjust to changes, the better they will handle the upcoming changes.
When you discover you are pregnant
• It's important that you tell your midwife that you have a dog as they will be able to give you information about the process.
• Ensure that your dog is disciplined so that it knows to take basic commands. This should include sitting, laying down, being quiet, not jumping up, and coming when called.
• Any problems in behaviour such as begging for food or noisy barking should be addressed before the baby arrives as this could make the arrival worse.
• Make sure your canine is up-to-date with all its vet checks and vaccinations including worming tablets.
• If your dog is the only pet, he's probably used to having your full attention. Start introducing periods of time where he is left on his own in a safe environment and with his favourite toys. This can be by going out or shutting them in a familiar room for a short period of time every day. It should prepare your pet for the attention you will need to give the baby, and not see the new arrival as a cause of this change.
• If you are planning on stopping your canine from entering certain areas of the house when the baby arrives, start this now. It may seem harsh to suddenly change his routine but it needs to be done before the new arrival.
• Practise walking the dog with an empty pram and make sure he doesn't pull on the lead or jump up.
• Buy new items, such as playpens and highchairs, into the house well before you have your baby. This will help him get used to the new additions.
• If your dog is affected by noises, play a tape recording of a baby so that he can get used to the sounds without being alarmed.
When you have a newborn
• Bring home the baby's clothes and allow the dog to smell them. Reward him when he stays calm.
• Don't make a big deal of there being a new addition to the family. Allow your dog to smell the newborn, but make sure you always watch the canine and are in a position to take the baby out of reach quickly.
• Reward him for good and calm behaviour around the baby. Give treats and lots of praise when he behaves well and when you bring the baby home, try going for a walk in his favourite place so he associates the newborn with enjoyment.
• Make sure he has enough exercise and things to do – a bored dog with too much
energy can get up to all sorts of mischief while you’re busy with your new baby.
Written by: Hannah