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Baby or Pet? Is There Room For Both?

Just as you make lots of preparations for your baby to arrive, it is also a good idea to work with your dog in advance. Following are some tips to help your pooch make the smoothest possible transition:

- Work with your dog ahead of time on obedience and manners. Basic commands of “heel” (walk at my side), “sit,” “down,” “stay” and “come,” should be used in everyday situations. Manners, such as not jumping or nipping should be addressed in advance.

- With the stroller empty, practice teaching your dog to “heel” with the stroller.

- If your dog is allowed on the couch, strongly consider changing that now. Chances are you will not want your dog pouncing across the sofa when your baby is on it.

- Socialize your dog with fast movements, loud noises and “baby-style” petting. Praise your dog for tolerant behavior. Also socialize him with other things that move or make noise, such as a baby swing, mobile, etc.

- If your dog has any excessive barking problems, work on them now. Baby’s napping provides precious downtime for new parents. While your baby does need to be comfortable with the sound of barking, your child does not need to be waken when sleeping.

- When you bring your baby home from the hospital, remember that your dog is going to be very excited to see his mom, who has been gone for a few days. Ideally, dad should stay outside with the baby and let mom come inside to greet the dog, let him get his excited greeting over with, and put his leash on. Then, dad can enter the house with the baby and one parent can hold the child while the other works with the dog for their first meeting.

- Control your dog but try not to restrain him too much. Place your dog into a sit/stay and bring the baby low enough that he can sniff, see and greet him or her. If your dog tries to jump or nip, correct firmly. However, most dogs are just curious and a couple of good sniffs and a lick are all they’re looking to do.

- Act relaxed. Remember, unless your dog has had an aggression problem in the past, there is no reason to think he will “do” something to your child. In fact, most people find that their dog greets the baby as if he’s already known him or her for nine months!

- Try to include your dog in you and your baby’s day-to-day lives. Be sure to work some time into your day to do some of the “old” things you used to do with your dog, like playing ball and going for walks.

- If you feel unsure or your dog behaves in any way that is a concern, contact a knowledgeable, reputable trainer to come to your home and work with your pet and family.

Referenced from: Best Paw Forward Dog Education