Your first baby was a fur one, and now you have a real baby almost due and it’s causing so much anxiety! Will the dog get jealous? Will the dog learn to love the baby, and vice versa. I know I had a lot of anxiety about introducing our dog Whiskey, who is a french bulldog, to our son Sebastian, because at the end of the day, he’s a bulldog. He’s not the most cuddly dog, but he’s very sweet. I knew that I had to do the intro right from the very first day to make sure they had a good relationship.
I consulted with our dog trainer and our pediatrician and here are some helpful tips they shared with me on how to introduce your dog to your new baby, to make sure everyone is happy and most importantly, safe.
- Set up the baby’s stuff as soon as possible so everyone gets accustomed to the new digs.
- Establish boundaries from the very beginning. Do not allow your dog to play with the babies toys or sleep in the crib or bassinet.
- Get your dog accustomed to getting attention from you off your lap so they don’t get upset, jealous or feel displaced when you’re holding the new baby.
- Baby gear can be noisy. The swing vibrates, the toys make noise, and the white noise machine can take some getting used to. Get your dog used to the sounds before the baby arrives to avoid unnecessary barking.
- As soon as the baby arrives, have someone take a used swaddle or undershirt home from the hospital and place it in the baby’s bed or crate so they can get used to the new smell.
- Does your dog think of you as their primary owner or is it your spouse? Whoever it is shouldn’t hold the baby when the intro is first done. My dog Whiskey always saw me as his primary owner so when we arrived home from the hospital, we walked through the door with my husband carrying our newborn. Let your dog smell the newborn from a distance and gradually let the dog get closer to the baby but stay in control of the situation.
- Get their nails trimmed. You don’t want them to accidentally scratch the newborn or get their paws stuck in some new knits.
- If you’re introducing a dog, take it for a long walk so they’re not as worked up when the baby arrives.
- Try to keep the pet’s routine as normal as possible. Think about how much the baby will affect the routine and dial it back before the baby comes if necessary.
- Don’t leave the baby with your pet alone. Always play it safe.
- Enjoy the adorable moments of baby and dog that are to come.