Managing your dog with a new baby at home
Bringing home a new baby is a wonderful experience and you want everything to go as smoothly as possible with your dog. Here is a little list of some things that you can do which will really help make the transition simple and straight forward.
1. Be the pack leader
Being the pack leader is the single most powerful thing that you can do for your dog. It takes away the job of making decisions from your dog and instead lets them relax. Dealing with a calm dog is always so much easier. When you bring home a new baby you are going to show your dog exactly how you want them to behave. This is going to be tricky if your dog thinks that they are in charge. Babies do not turn up over night so you always have plenty of time to practice and get your house in order before baby actually turns up! Read more about being the Pack Leader here. There are 5 Golden Rules to becoming the Pack leader – read more here.
2. The walk
Being able to walk your dog whilst pushing the buggy is a wonderful experience. First though you need to be able to walk your dog on the leash and then you need to get them used to the buggy or pram. This is something that you can practice before the baby is actually home. In fact it’s actually advisable that you do it this way so you are not concerned over your babies well being during the training phase and you can relax and have some fun! Only put your baby into the pram when you are happy that your dog can walk nicely next to it. One fantastic use of the pram is to use it as a way of blocking your dog from pulling in front of you. I actually find it easier to walk dogs with a buggy than without one! Once they get the idea they will be quite happy to trot along behind the “strange animal with 4 wheels”. More on the walk can be found here.
3. Exercise your dog
Before you actually let your dog meet your new baby there are a few things to do. One is to take your dog out for a long run. The last thing you want is a dog bouncing off the walls with too much energy when they are being introduced to your new born. A tired, well-exercised dog is nearly always a happier, easier dog to control.
4. Use a lead
The second thing to consider is keeping your dog on a lead the first time. If your dog is the sort of dog who is very curious, excitable, jumpy or nosey or you have any reservations about how they may react then consider keeping them on a lead until you are sure that they are calm enough. Only let them closer as they learn to calm down. You are best to have two people present, one to keep hold of your dog and one to hold onto the baby, or place the baby in a cot or bed. Eventually it’s good if the dog is able to sniff the baby but only if your dog is calm and relaxed, which may take some time. More tips on using the leash here.
Silent and calm is how you should be when doing the introduction. Remember you are trying to assist your dog in being as relaxed as possible, so be that way yourself. This is not a time for getting all excited, quite the opposite, be still and at peace and your dog will follow your lead. The more that your dog learns that you are always calm around the baby the more that they will associate the baby with calming down (and visa versa). Learn how to get your dog to stay calm and listen to you when it matters most here!
6. A blanket to smell
If you do not wish your dog to get too close to your baby then you can always let them get to “know” them via the smell of a blanket or piece of clothing that they have worn. This way they can get learn the scent of your new baby from a distance. Read more about keeping children safe around dogs.
Bringing home a new baby is one of the most amazing, rewarding, difficult, time consuming, joyous, emotional moments of your life. To fully experience and enjoy it, you don’t want your dog becoming a problem. You’ll be doing plenty of problem-solving already! 🙂
Find out more here: If you’re worried about how your dog is going to react when you bring your new baby home I encourage you to check out my program, The Dog Calming Code here! Or, if you have a puppy, get started with my Puppy Coach training program first!
Enjoy your new family…