A new baby in the house is an exciting time for your family, but if your pet is not used to small children, he may not be as excited about it as you.
Here are some helpful hints for making the introduction and starting the foundations for a new bond that will last a lifetime.
Prepare your dog
Before the baby comes home, there are steps you should take to prepare Fido for the new smells, sounds, and sights he will be experiencing. Set up the nursery early, and let your pet investigate the area. If he will not be allowed in the nursery, get him used to this in advance by keeping the door closed at all times.
Your dog should be well-trained. If he cannot perform commands reliably, it may be time to seek the help of a professional trainer. Your dog should absolutely know that he cannot jump up on people. Fido should know not to steal food from people, and be comfortable with people touching his toys.
You may also want to practice changing his routine. A new baby wreaks havoc on your regular schedule, and your pet needs to know that he may have to wait a little longer to get his breakfast in the morning. Practice getting up at all hours of the night, so he becomes used to this as well.
You can also practice gentle handling so he is used to being touched by the baby. Touch his tail, ears, feet, and belly just as a curious toddler might.
Bringing baby home
After Baby is home, sit in a comfortable chair with her and have someone bring Fido into the room wearing a collar and leash. If he seems relaxed, you can let him approach the little one and sniff or interact with the baby briefly. Talk to your dog in a soothing tone and avoid sudden movements. Praise your pup and offer him treats for good behavior. If he is acting nervous or too excited, the leash will come in very handy. You might have to try again when he is less agitated. Repeat this process until your dog is comfortable with the baby.
Reinforce positive interactions
In order for your dog to accept the new baby, you will have to continuously pet and praise him, especially when the baby is around. If you ignore the pup whenever he comes near the baby, he will begin to think that baby is more important. You should, however, purposely ignore your dog whenever the baby is not around. This way he will equate the baby with happy times and praise, and think of the baby-free times as boring.