How to Introduce Your Dog to a New Baby
Bringing a new baby home to your dog is more of a challenge than you might think. Your dog is a well-loved part of your family, and bringing home a new member of your family is a significant change, particularly when your pup is used to being the center of attention.
It takes some time before dogs get used to newborns, but by taking steps to make the transition easy, you’re guaranteed to be one big happy family in no time.
Things To Do Before Bringing the Baby Home
It is never too early to begin preparing your dogs for this exciting change! Following these tips before you bring your newborn home to ensure a smooth transition once the baby arrives.
Change Your Dog’s Routine
Before the baby arrives, you can alter your dog’s routine to be similar to what it will be like when the baby comes home. Slowly start to change when your pup goes to bed, goes out for walks or exercise, and even where the dog is allowed in the house two to three weeks before introducing your baby into the home.
Similarly, begin to decrease the amount of attention and playtime you give your dog. Not because you don’t love your pup, but because the baby will take up much more of your time once it arrives. It will be difficult to resist playing with your dog as much, but your dog should get used to the change before a new member of the family enters the house.
Altering your dog’s routine before newborns even come home is a great way to minimize the changes your dog will have to take in all at once. By changing your pup’s expectations, they won’t negatively associate the changes in their routine with the baby and will also have less to adjust to when you bring your baby home.
Sensitize Your Dog to Baby Sounds, Sights, and Smells
Minimize the number of simultaneous changes your dog has to process by introducing baby items into the house before baby arrives so your dog can begin getting used to them. Your dog will likely not only be curious about their new family member but also the sights, smells, and sounds that come with the baby.
You can help your dog adjust to a new baby’s sounds by playing baby sounds in the house. At first, your dog may be startled or confused about where the noises are coming from, but it will help your pup to be better acclimated to the sounds once the baby arrives.
Bringing baby items like toys, strollers, and diapers into the home two to three weeks before the baby arrives will also make the introduction process easier. By having these items around, you can practice training your dog not to chew up or play with any of the baby’s stuff, so when the baby comes and your hands are full, your dog will already know what is off-limits.
Modern Moms Club recommends you start bringing baby-scented items like lotions, soaps, powders, and oils into the home will help your dog get used to the smells that come with your newborn.
Tips For Introducing Your New Family
It’s time to bring the baby home and introduce your dog to their new family member! The first introduction can be a daunting task, but taking it slowly, staying calm and collected, and following these tips will help take the stress away.
Tip #1: Let Other Members in First
Before bringing the baby into the home, let the other members of your family enter so your dog has a chance to greet and become used to everyone else first. The idea here is to reduce the amount of newness and stimulation all at once so you can give all of your attention to introducing the dog to the baby.
Tip #2: Talk to Your Dog
While the introduction is happening, it will be helpful to speak to your dog in a calm, friendly tone so your pup feels comforted when adjusting to this change. Dogs are just like humans: they love reassurance!
Tip #3: Leash Your Dog and Carry Your Baby
Both your pup and newborn must be held back and introduced in a controlled manner. Even if you don’t believe your dog will be aggressive with your new baby, if your pup gets excited, they may underestimate their size and strength and try to play with the baby, which could be dangerous.
To introduce the two face-to-face, have another person hold your dog’s leash while you carry your baby. Have the other person slowly bring the dog into the room step by step, monitoring your dog’s body language the entire time. If your dog remains relaxed and friendly, have the other person bring them closer. If your dog tenses up, stiffens their tail, or becomes agitated, end the introduction and try again in a few hours.
This may take some time and a couple of tries, but by being patient and slow with your pup, they will soon become adjusted to your newborn and ready for the next steps!
Reward for Good Behavior
If your dog remains curious and friendly through the whole introduction, allow your dog to sniff your baby’s feet for a brief period before rewarding your puppy for being gentle with the baby. Do this multiple times until your dog is ready to be taken off the leash and interact with your baby freely. Watch these interactions diligently and continue to carry your baby, being cautious about any signs of danger.
Congratulations! You’ve learned how to introduce your dog to a new baby and the process has gone smoothly. You can tell they are going to be great friends! What’s next?
The best way to ensure that your dog and baby get along is to treat both your baby and dog with love and affection and teach them to respect one another! Giving your dog treats when they behave well around the baby and praising your baby for not pulling on the dog’s tail or taking the dog’s toys will result in a friendship sure to last a lifetime. Enjoy your happy family!