PREPARING A DOG FOR A NEW BABY

Preparations for introducing your dog to a new baby should begin several weeks before the baby’s actual arrival. It is important that your dog be well trained. He should at least know how to sit, stay, not jump up, and come when called. The main reason for training is to establish your leadership so that he will trust you not to ABANDON him when this new creature arrives and the bond will be strong enough for him to continue to obey your commands.

The first thing to do prior to baby’s arrival is to get a doll. Sprinkle it with baby powder, wrap it in a blanket, cradle it, rock it, talk to it, and walk around the house with it. At the same time, praise your dog for not jumping up on you, by saying, "Good dog." Show the "doll baby" to your dog. Let him smell the baby. Give praise and food treats at the same time.

Next, get a recording of a crying baby and play it softly at first. Praise your dog, while listening, and reinforce his quiet behavior with a food treat. Each day increase the volume and continue the praise and food treat. Continue to expose your dog to the smell of baby blankets and powder. Invite a friend with a baby to your house. Reinforce good behavior with praise while the baby is visiting.

On the day of arrival, it would be best for you to walk in without baby and greet the dog. Then, someone else brings in the baby. If you can trust your dog’s behavior around babies at this time, let him see, smell, and touch the baby. Do not worry if he licks the baby. You can wash it off later. Besides, a dog’s mouth has less bacteria than a human’s!

If you act happy and relaxed while your dog is in the presence of the new baby, it should not take more than a few weeks for him to accept this new littermate. If you are nervous about your dog’s intentions for a good reason such as growling, you may want to consider using a muzzle when baby and dog are together. It is best not to allow a dog unsupervised access to a new baby for awhile. Many dogs are unnerved by loud crying and flailing arms and legs. Be sure you know your dog is comfortable in all situations before allowing unattended access.

Some dogs will break house training rules for a short time after baby’s arrival. They think that if this new littermate creature can do it anywhere, so can they. To discourage this from happening, do not leave dirty diapers lying around. Also remember that this new addition to the family can be very stressful to the dog thus aberrant behavior may happen, such as house training accidents, barking, chewing, etc. These problems go away on their own once the dog is used to the new addition to its HOME!!!

You may not have the same feeling of Devotion and Love toward your dog after your baby arrives. Be prepared for your own surprising change of attitude. Your dog is no longer your baby. The important thing to remember is to try and give him as much attention, playtime, and exercise as before. As the child grow, beware and stop attempts to crawl towards and grab at the dog. The dog was there first and to the dog it is still his home and the baby may still be frightening to the dog or viewed as another animal trespassing in his home.

Rather than only discipline the dog, teach the baby even before he becomes a toddler that the dog is not up to being grabbed. Having already established rules in your house during training of the dog, now make sure to establish rules for the baby too.

Babies and young children get bit by the family pet because the parents are so busy hollering at the dog or disciplining it that they forget to discipline the child also.

AND MOST OF ALL, parents forget that at one time that poor dog was the light of their life!!! Now they are always disciplining it or ignoring it because now BABY COMES FIRST. A good dog owner will have trained the dog, set limits for the dog YES: But a good dog owner will also have taken the time to think about how the dog feels suddenly becoming Second Best. Don't blame the dog, if Spoiled, Untrained, no proper introduction, no nothing. That is your error, not the dog's. Instead, train the dog in Basic Obedience, and remember, always remember that at one time, you loved the dog greatly. Simple, teach the dog that you still Love him just as much and if untrained and undisciplined, then do something about it rather than "Get Rid Of The Dog" or worse "Lock It Away Somewhere" or make its life miserable by always "Over Disciplining" it. Be HUMANE, the dog deserves it.

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