Do you have a dog and are you going to have a baby soon? Congratulations on this great news! Here are some explanations to prepare your dog for the arrival of your baby and to make this new family life go well.
Numerous studies have shown that animals will have a very positive impact on your child's life. But the arrival of a child in your dog's life will be easier if it is prepared and if you follow a few simple rules to facilitate this transition.
You need to prepare for the new environment and, if possible, do it in stages, as brutally as possible. Preserve your dog's usual places, the location of his basket, his bowls, the corners that will remain his own and where he can always take refuge.
Several weeks before your baby arrives, it is important that you allow your dog to explore the baby's room if you are there. Let the sniff the new smells and stay in your company.
But never let the dog leave this room with an object that does not belong to him. If the dog cannot give an object, teach it before the baby arrives. Dog and baby toys should not be alike. Likewise, if your dog pulls when he is walking on a leash, correct this behavior. You must, in fact, control your dog before the baby arrives, do not hesitate to call an educator or ask your veterinarian for advice so that they can help you in this learning.
Modify your routine gently to get ahead of the new habits you will adopt when baby is there and this, again, so that the change is as gradual as possible for your companion.
Before your child comes, you should also try to familiarize your dog with the presence of babies and young children. For this, it is necessary to associate the presence of children with a pleasant situation: caresses, treats, games. If things do not go as planned, do not hesitate to consult a veterinarian so that he can help you solve these social problems.
It is also imperative to take some hygienic measures before the arrival of your baby: a visit to your veterinarian is essential for a small assessment; it will be necessary to deworm your dog and treat it against external parasites (fleas and ticks).
When baby arrives
After birth and before you return, ask a loved one to take home a blanket in which your child was wrapped in the hospital. Tell that person to make your dog feel it. So he will already know his smell before he arrives.
When the baby arrives home, let your dog take the initiative on first contact, under your close supervision. But the first thing you need to do is to give your dog a warm welcome; don't push it away.
If the dog tends to jump, it should be placed in another room in the house until you are ready to welcome it. You can then put a leash on him so that you can maintain control and require him to sit down before you can smell the baby. When he is calm, he can approach the child. The dog should always have the right to smell the baby if his behavior is calm and the new parents must also remain calm.
Above all, keep your moments of play and affection with your dog, so that he does not feel neglected. Especially when you are with your child: thus your dog will associate the presence of the child with the fact that you take care of him. In other words, he will appreciate the child even more!
If the dog growls after the baby, a verbal correction is necessary (NO !!) and the dog can even be placed in another room of the house temporarily. Contact can be initiated again 10 minutes later. Grunting after a baby or child is unacceptable. If the dog is afraid of the baby or is aggressive towards it, they should be introduced to each other more gradually.
If your dog shows signs of aggression, do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian for advice who will help you find solutions to resolve these problems.
Warning : never leave a baby or young child alone with a dog: one does not yet control his movements well or does not yet know the language of the dog and the other remains an animal with reactions which can be primitive, even if his intention is not to harm the child. It is the same with your cat, even if the baby suffocating cats are more myth than reality, caution is required and you must be present to monitor that everything is going well.
- Never leave your dog and baby alone together.
- Whenever the baby cries, invite the dog to come see him with you.
- When you give or breastfeed your baby, invite your dog to join you. You can even offer him a treat while he's quietly by your side.
- When you go for a walk, take your dog with you.
- Choose one or two periods of five to ten minutes each day where you only take care of your dog without interruption.
When baby grows
It is advisable to educate your child as soon as possible about the behavior to adopt with your dog. Do not accept that the baby considers it a toy. He must respect it and never let the child go and disturb your dog when he is calm in his basket or his sleeping area. Neither should the child disturb him while he eats.
Always keep in mind that a young child is not able to decipher your dog's body language. He therefore risks not realizing that he is bothering him, and that if the dog growls, it is because he is warning that he can attack. It is up to you to supervise your child and you must teach him what he can do and what he should not do, with the help of the advice of your veterinarian.
Once this coexistence has been set up, you will be able to fully enjoy your new family life and your dog will undoubtedly be an essential factor in awakening your baby. They can later become the best friends in the world!