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Introducing Your New Baby to a Dog

There are many households that have pets. Animals are a fun and welcome addition to a home. When you are expecting a baby you should know that there are ways to prepare your dog for the new addition. Preparation for a baby is top priority and getting your pet used to the idea of a new person being there is most important. Just like any other form of training, it is best to remain positive and patient with your dog so that they will learn the things you want them to. After all, thereís no room for mistakes when thereís a baby involved and you can never be too prepared.

Some tips for preparing before the baby arrives:

If the mother-to-be is the one that is usually the closest with the pet, let another member of the family begin daily activities with the dog. Allow someone else to walk it, feed it, and give it attention so that the dog does not feel abandoned when the baby arrives.

Be sure that your pet is very healthy and has all required vaccinations. A check-up with the vet will make sure that your pet is parasite and disease-free. Also talk with your vet about what you should expect when exposing your dog to an infant. This will give you an idea of how the dog will behave.

Have your pet spayed/neutered. Animals are typically very territorial. Having them spayed/neutered will resolve bad behavior and lessen the chance for aggression and anxiety.

Take your pet to an obedience class that uses positive training techniques. This will teach your pet good behavior and teach you how to react in certain situations.

Expose your pet to sounds you would hear in a household with a new baby. These kinds of sounds are a baby crying, a rocking chair, swings, and other baby toys. This way they will not be startled or uncomfortable with the baby actually there.

Teach and re-teach your dog that the babyís room is off-limits. To keep them from feeling left out you can use baby gates or screens to close off the room without closing the door.

Teach your dog not to jump on furniture or in your lap unless you say so. Also make sure they know that all baby furniture is off limits.

Before you actually have the baby, use a baby doll and act like it is the real thing. This will give your puppy a head start in getting used to the new addition. Also use products on yourself that smell like the baby. Since dogs rely so strongly on scent, this will help a lot in getting the dog accustomed to the baby.

After the baby is born:

Before bringing the baby into the house, allow the dog to sniff at the babyís blanket or article of clothing. It is best to be gradual and take small steps.

Allow another person to carry the baby so that when you enter the house you can give your pet the attention it wants. After all, when youíre absent for a little while your pet will miss you.

After giving your pet the attention it wanted, sit down with the baby. Cautiously let your pet sniff around and investigate. This allows the pet to become ìacquaintedî with the infant. Keep treats on hand to reward positive behavior and reactions.

Stick as closely to old feeding and playing routines as possible. Dramatic and sudden changes can stress your pet and cause anxiety. Of course thereís going to be a little chaos with such a huge responsibility, but itís worth the effort to ease your dog into the situation.

Always remember to continue taking a little time out of your day to spend with your dog and keep a positive relationship with them. This will keep the bond strong between you and your pet.

Having a baby is a very exciting experience. Tons of preparation is required to ensure the safety of an infant. In the end, however, it will all be worth it. If your dog is happy and behaves properly there is lots of fun to be had for many years to come.
Photo by _Shward_

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