In this day and age, many families bring home pets before they bring home babies, so it has become increasingly necessary to acclimate our four-legged friends with our new bundle of joy. Pets, and dogs, in particular, can be resistant to changes in their surroundings and may have a difficult time adjusting if a lot of things are changing at once. Unfortunately, introducing an infant into the home inadvertently comes with a significant amount of change. So what can you do to help your dog deal with the transition as smoothly as possible? Read on to learn more about how to introduce your dog and baby to each other.
Continue to Show Attention
One of the most difficult things to adjust to for many dogs is the lack of attention they receive once your newborn arrives. An excellent way to help your pet cope with this change is for mom, over time, to start paying less attention to your dog and slowly transitioning that responsibility over to her partner. By gradually changing your attention and affection behaviors, your fur baby has time to adjust and adapt to the way things will be before your infant arrives. As a result, when dog and baby are finally under the same roof, your dog will be less upset or frustrated with the fact that mom’s attention is primarily focused on the child. Partners should make sure to spend adequate time with the dog each day based on the dog’s personality and temperament. For example, if your dog loves to play, then find a room in the house where they can let loose or take them outside for awhile when you get home from work.
Set Up Baby Gear Early
Preparing for a newborn means that there will be a lot of new objects being introduced into the home. Taking the time to put these items out well in advance of your due date gives your pup plenty of time to explore and familiarize themselves with each object and helps lessen the change when your child comes home. This approach also allows you to observe if your pet finds any of these items to be scary or unsettling so that you can work with them to deal with those concerns while you have the time. That way both dog and baby can be comfortable when you need to use the swing, put them down for a nap, or get them strapped into their car seat.
I think it is safe to say that we all want our dog and baby to be best friends; one way to help facilitate a bond between the two is allowing your pet to associate the baby with you. Once your child is born, but before you bring them home from the hospital, have your partner stop by the house with an item or items that your baby has worn. Providing your pup the opportunity to smell these things while your partner is holding them in their hand will help your dog associate this new person with your partner. That association can go a long way towards helping your dog accept your newborn as part of the “pack.”