How To Tell Your Dog You Are Expecting A New Baby

Your dog needs to be familiar with new sounds ranging from crying and giggling.
Your dog needs to be familiar with new sounds ranging from crying and giggling.

The Hard Facts About Dogs And Babies

While owning a dog can be a delightful family experience with enormous benefits for the child and the family. Parents and carers need to be aware of the risk of injury from dog bites. A common misconception is that most dog bites occur on the street from stray dogs. This is far from the case because according to statistics approximately seventy percent of all bites occurring in or around the home are from a dog familiar to the child. This may be a dog belonging to you or a neighbor. More than half of all dog bites are related to innocuous activities such as playing with or cuddling and feeding a dog. Children are usually bitten on the head and face or neck and can be left with permanent scarring both physical and emotional. Post-traumatic stress disorder is seen in fifty-five percent of children after a substantial bite. Generally, a bite from a larger dog will cause greater damage and such dog bites make up the majority of dog related emergency hospital admissions. Any breed of dog can bite and every individual dog can bite even those that appear exceptionally friendly or have never bitten before. Children under five years of age are the most likely to be bitten and smaller children are often more injured.

A Well Prepared Dog Is More Likely To Accept A New Baby Without Problems

The first step is to know your dog and how it is likely to react to new and strange scenarios. The next step is to prepare your dog carefully and well in advance for the arrival of your new baby How to assess your dog's behavior note are many subtle variations in canine body language. Outlined below are some signs to watch for that will assist you in assessing your dog’s demeanor. Some are obvious while others are subtle. You need to be able to read your dog’s body language. Watch your dog closely in many different situations and observe what they do. Trust your instincts and if something does not feel right about your dogs' behavior towards your baby then it probably is not right. It is better to seek professional advice from an appropriate veterinarian just to be sure.

Boarding your dog is a less suitable option as there may be associated anxiety particularly when they arrive back home to a totally changed environment.
Boarding your dog is a less suitable option as there may be associated anxiety particularly when they arrive back home to a totally changed environment. | Source

Preparing The Nursery And Familiarizing Your Dog

Introduce your dog to the new baby items before the baby is born. This includes blankets and toys. Also, include any other new furniture or items in the house. Do not be concerned that your dog may put hair or dirt on these things. Allow your dog to smell and investigate them. Reward your dog for correct behavior. If your dog drags any baby items away command to ask your dog to relinquish the object and then replace it with a dog toy or treat. Try not to punish your dog as you want only good things occurring with anything associated with your baby. Reward your dog for desirable behavior. Have periods of relaxation in the nursery with your dog allowing them to investigate the nursery while supervised. This could be accompanied by a favorite food-filled toy or a bone. Do not leave baby items lying around and easily accessible in case your dog becomes destructive with them. As always babies and dogs should be supervised at all times.

Smell is one of dogs most important senses.
Smell is one of dogs most important senses. | Source

Congratulations You Are Now Proud Parents

Currently, Mom is still in the hospital with the baby. Her partner now has some important tasks to perform. Your partner needs to bring home some of the following items to start introducing your baby to the dog such as a piece of clothing or any item belonging to your baby which contain important cues enabling your dog to become acquainted with your baby even before they arrive home. Allow your dog to sniff the objects and reward them lavishly with treats and pats for correct behavior. You now have your dog prepared in the best way possible for your impending arrival. They know what to expect and what the little person smells like and they have adapted to the new household routine.

Now it is time to meet the family. The day your baby is due to arrive limit the number of people present at the first meeting. When Mom first arrives home from hospital your dog will be very excited to see her and her partner who has been away. Once your dog is calm introductions can start. The most important thing to remember when your dog meets your baby is that good things should always happen to your dog whenever your baby is around. Whenever your baby is present give your dog tasty food rewards and lots of praise. Both parents need to take a deep breath and try to relax for this introduction. If you are visibly anxious your dog will sense this so talk gently to your dog while patting and stroking them. Under strict supervision encourage them to smell and investigate your baby. Reward them for appropriate behavior with food rewards or pats.

Be vigilant of your baby at all times when you visit relatives or friends who own a dog. Their dog may not have had the same exposure to babies and may react differently.

While You Are In Hospital Who’s Looking After Me

Organize early on for somebody to dog sit your dog in your own home while you are in the hospital or birthing center. It should preferably someone your dog knows well. Boarding your dog or moving them another house is a less suitable option as there may be associated anxiety particularly when they arrive back home to a totally changed environment. However if this is necessary have a trial run to ensure you and your dog feel comfortable with the arrangement and to become acquainted with the people and environment where they will be staying which can make their stay less stressful. Expectant parents may feel that they would like their dogs to be present when their human baby arrives. It is not recommended that your dog is present at the baby's birth. Birthing is often a stressful experience for both the mother and the newborn. Dogs intuitively pick up on this stress and it is not productive for the first introduction to be in such an emotional setting and this goes against the philosophy of associating good things with the baby.

Take it slowly and do not rush the first meeting as they both have a lifetime to be friends.
Take it slowly and do not rush the first meeting as they both have a lifetime to be friends. | Source
Look forward to the benefits of extended family.
Look forward to the benefits of extended family. | Source

Creating Harmony

Your main responsibility is never to leave your baby unsupervised with your dog. Initially when both partners are home and your dog and baby are together have one partner attend to your baby and the other to your dog. Vary this between the two of you and try to ensure both partners give your dog equal attention. Try to include your dog in the day to day activities as much as possible so they do not feel neglected. Do not give your dog attention only when your baby is out of the room and then ignore them when your baby is present. This will cause your dog to associate a lack of attention with the presence of your baby which is not desirable. Whenever your baby cries try to remain calm to avoid startling your dog. If you need to leave the room separate your baby and dog.

Enabling your dog to see the baby and you but still be separated means that you can monitor your dog's response to the baby and also reward them with treats and praise when they are behaving appropriately. Your dog is also likely to remain calmer and feels like a part of the family if they can still see you. Eventually, your dog may socially follow you around the house while you attend to your baby. This is fine and helps future interactions between the child and your dog as long as you can comfortably control your dog with voice commands. If your dog does not respond well to voice commands they should never be in a situation where they are not separated from the baby. If you need to leave the room safely and secure separate your baby and dog.

How To Prepare Your Dog For The Arrival Of Newborn

After reading the article you should cope easily and smoothly with the addition of another very special member of the family. If you prepare early for the major change it will give your dog plenty of time to make adjustments to the new changes in the household. Remember that dogs that are well prepared adjust very well to the addition of a new baby without any problems.

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