Dog Meet Baby!
Brought to you by the AKC GoodDog! Helpline – the AKC’s 7-day-a-week training support service
By Hilarie Erb, AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainer
One of life’s biggest milestones is bringing home a new baby and even after months of preparation it will still be a shock to your system. As you welcome a new member to your family, remember it’s a big change for your dog as well, and up until now, they have been the star of the show! But with good preparation, the transition will be smooth and not another source of anxiety for you or your dog.
Hopefully, your dog already has the basics of obedience down-pat: how to sit, stay, and come when called. If not, a training class is in order. It may seem like the last thing you have time for if you are expecting but compared with what’s to come after the baby’s arrival, it will be a piece of cake. Maybe even a welcomed break!
It may not make sense to us, but babies are scary creatures to most dogs. They make interesting noises, smell strange, and adults act differently around them.
Before bringing a baby home you should:
- Give your dog a special treat while playing recordings of a baby crying.
- Introduce new smells by having someone bring a piece of baby’s clothing home from the hospital before you all arrive.
- Let your dog get used to seeing all the new equipment – the stroller, bassinet, and the new rocking chair.
Don’t scold or punish if your dog is interested in the baby’s toys; just keep them out of reach. You want to build positive associations with the baby in your dog’s mind and scolding in the presence of the baby will have the opposite effect.
Some things to remember:
- NEVER leave your dog alone with the baby even if your pup is normally trustworthy.
- When your child becomes mobile, teach them to respect a dog’s space.
- Give your dog lots of attention when the baby is around.
- Make sure your dog has a place to escape to from the activity surrounding a baby.
Your dog is a member of the family and will feel the changes as much as you do. For more tips on how to introduce your dog to the baby, read our Helpful Hints on Introducing Dog to Baby.
Join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline TODAY at the discount price of $59.99 – $20 off the regular fee. This provides lifetime training support for your dog. No renewals ever necessary.
For more tips and advice on training your dog, join the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, a seven-day-a-week telephone support service staffed by experienced dog trainers: www.akcgooddoghelpline.org.