Bringing a new baby home is exciting and also a lot of work. It can be even more work when you have a dog or multiple dogs at home. A lot of times new parents wing it with their dogs and things go fine. A gameplay though can make things go a bit more smoothly. Here are some strategies to put into place to help things run smoothly. Prepare ahead of time. As soon as you can, start setting up the crib, changing station, pack n play and everything else. By doing this early on, your dog can get used to it all and it won’t be a huge shock having all of it set up at the last minute and also having a new being in the home that is taking so much of your attention and making a bunch of new noises. This is also a great time for your dog to get used to being behind gates. For safety reasons, it’s important at times to use gates to separate your dog and new baby. If not practiced ahead of time, putting your dog behind a gate can be very stressful. To help with this, have your dog go behind a gate each day to eat his meals or to enjoy a stuffed Kong. Do this while you’re on the other side of the gate.
If not practiced ahead of time, putting your dog behind a gate can be very stressful.
Training also goes a long way. My favorite behavior to teach is a down/stay. A solid down stay which has been proofed with distractions can be used almost any time. This will proactively set your dog up for success by having him do something that is incompatible with jumping or chewing unwanted items. The nice thing about it too is that intermitted food rewards are given so that it’s fun and rewarding. And another behavior that is extremely helpful is “leave it.” Teaching this behavior and rewarding it with food gives you a way to communicate to your dog what you’d like them to do and by using food rewards, you’re not going to have to deal with any accidental negative side effects. When bringing your new baby home, I recommend waiting for your dog to be completely uninterested before any introductions take place. Doing so limits the chances of an accidental jump or scratch. This is where gates, down stays and leave it come into place. This could take place the same day or it could take multiple days. This is going to help your dog get used to all the new sounds. Preparing ahead of time and helping your dog feel good about being on the other side of the gate will help them not feel so isolated and help prevent them from developing a negative association with your new baby.
When bringing your new baby home, I recommend waiting for your dog to be completely uninterested before any introductions take place. Doing so limits the chances of an accidental jump or scratch.
Babies don’t stay stationary forever. My last piece of advice is that when your baby starts becoming mobile, prevent your baby from approaching your dog. Always invite your dog over to make sure they are a willing participant in the interactions. If your baby isn’t approaching your dog, this means your baby won’t be climbing on top of, pulling hair or anything else your dog won’t like.