Practicing Newborn Safety With Your Dog – Tips To Ease The Introduction
Baby Safety With Dogs – Preparing Your Pet
Will your baby be safe with your dog? Bringing home a new baby can be a big adjustment for families — and their pets. Amid the chaos around your new arrival, the new sounds and unfamiliar experiences might be upsetting to your dog. This can be particularly challenging when trying to adjust to a newborn yourself, however, many resources exist that can help ease your dog into this new transition.
Before the Baby Arrives
When preparing for your new arrival, the ASPCA recommends teaching your dog the necessary skills to ensure safe interaction with a new baby. Additionally, you will need to guide your dog as they adjust to the new experiences that come along with a newborn. Resources such as group classes and at-home training classes will help guide you and your pet along the way.
Show Your Dog What to Expect
You will also need to familiarize your dog with unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells they might be faced with when the baby comes home. Ask your friends with infants to stop by for a supervised visit. Likewise, pushing around a stroller in your home or cradling a doll in front of your dog will help get your dog used to these changes. You can also play a recording of a baby crying. Associating these new changes with positive rewards will significantly eliminate your dog’s anxiety. In the months prior to bringing home baby, you will want to implement any changes to your dog’s routine so they can have time to properly adjust. You may also want to consider addressing any concerns with your vet at this time. Spaying or neutering your pet may help eliminate unwanted behavior such as biting, to help keep baby safe.
Make it a goal for your dog to master basic obedience skills and commands before the baby is born or brought home. “Sit,” “stay,” and “off” are extremely useful commands for preventing your dog from jumping. Similarly, the Humane Society suggests teaching your pet to lay calmly on the floor next to you until invited on your lap. In doing so, your pet will get used to you cradling your baby.
Taking Precautions Once Your Baby Arrives
Plan a safe introduction for your baby and pet. Before you bring the baby home, give your dog your baby’s receiving blanket to investigate. Note that your dog might be anxious to greet you, which may add to the chaos. Simply have another person take the baby into a different room while you calmly greet your dog. It is also important to keep treats on hand.
Begin by situating your pet next to the baby, remembering to reward the appropriate behavior. This will help reinforce a positive associate with the baby. However, it’s crucial to understand that your dog should never be forced to get near the baby. Forced interactions can cause anxiety or injury. Remember, all interaction between your baby and dog must be supervised.
Further, keep your baby’s room off-limits from your dog by installing a sturdy baby-gate or barrier. Playpens are another way to separate your baby from your pet.
Preparing your dog for the arrival of your new baby will help ensure a smooth transition for your family. With proper training and supervision, your dog will be able to safely share space and feel positive about the changes coming to their life. Many resources are available for expectant mothers and families with pets. If you are adopting, be sure to ask if pet introductions can happen in conjunction with family introductions and visits. The key to a smooth transition is preparation and when you take time to ready yourself and your pet, the rest will be cake!