October 29, 2014

Prepping Puppy for Your Baby

Is there anything more adorable than newborns and puppies? Very few things come close, I’d say. As a young couple you might have said, let’s get a dog before we have kids. It’s been a great couple years house training the dog, teaching them what is and is not okay to chew on and maybe how to sit, stay and roll-over. Now, great news, you’re pregnant! As you prepare for baby it dawns on you, how will this work with our four legged baby? Here are a few tips for prepping puppy for baby so that everyone has a smooth transition home.

One Baby at a Time: Be sure to spay or neuter your pet. This will not only help you avoid being a mommy and daddy several times over, but spayed or neutered animals tend to be calmer. They’ll play nicer with the newborn and be less likely to get aggressive or bite. If you notice your dog still has a tendency to bite or act aggressive towards new people, work on breaking this habit and instead greeting new people and objects gently.

Doggy Doctor: Make sure your pet has routine vet visits by the time the baby arrives. This means that they are all caught up on the shots that they need, that their nails are trimmed and they have a prescription for regular flea and tick medication. Talk to your vet about any other suggestions they have for bringing a baby home to a house with a dog. They might suggest using a crate or gates again until the dog is used to having a smaller master in the house.

Practice Makes Perfect:  The only way to really get your pooch ready the newest addition to the family is to practice. There are a couple ways to do this. One suggestion would be to practice focusing your attention on something other than your dog. For instance, pretending a doll is your baby and acting as you will when the baby arrives. Your dog will get used to you talking and taking care of someone other than them. You can also practice pushing the stroller while going on walks so that your dog gets used to a slower pace and that you might need to stop for someone other than them. Another important habit to break is jumping. If your dog typically greets you with a jump or kiss on the cheek, that could be problematic if you walk in carrying the baby. Work with your dog to stay down and off furniture until you invite them up. With this it might be better to start early so you both have time to get used to these new tricks.

Makes Good Scents:  Dogs noses are 1000 times stronger than ours and they use them to help make sense, get it…get it, of their world. They have a remarkable ability to remember scents  and who they are associated with too. Use this to help train them before and when baby arrives. Take the doll mentioned earlier and cover it in baby powder or baby oil. Let the dog learn the smell and that they need to be gentle with it. You could also have your friends or family with babies come over so your dog can practice with the real thing and get used to the smells and sounds that come with having a baby around.

Honey, I am Home: The day you bring your baby home, try to make arrangements for someone to take your dog for a nice long walk. They’ll be tired out and make bringing the baby home a little easier for you. Depending on the size of your dog, it might not be a bad idea to gate off the hallway or room where the baby will be sleeping. This way in case you and your dog have trouble adjusting to a new routine you can create some boundaries.  Try to keep your dog on their same schedule. Feeding them at the same time, taking them out when they usually are let out, daily occurrences like this. They’ll be calmer and less anxious if they’re habits don’t change.

All this being said, be patient with your dog; it is a lot for everyone to get used to. They’re used to your love and affection all the time. They’ll get used to having a baby in the house just like you will, but it might take a little longer than you wanted. Dogs can be great protectors and playmates for babies and young children, but they both require a lot of your time and attention. Be patient. Stay calm. They’re your family. And don’t be afraid to ask for help.