Getting Your Pet Ready for a New Baby

Everyone knows life changes a lot for adults when they have a new baby, but have you ever considered how much your pet’s life will change too?  They won’t be the center of attention anymore and they will often come second or third in line for food, walks, attention and play time.  It’s very important to get your dog ready for the new baby’s arrival, so that their birth doesn’t result in a trip to the shelter for your furry family member.  

These tips may not be enough for you if your dog isn’t good with children already.  If you have a tougher case on your hands, I recommend hiring a professional dog trainer as soon as you learn you’re expecting.  You need to start preparing immediately so that the birth of your child doesn’t result in a trip to the shelter for your furry family member.  

A Few Tips for Getting Your Dog Ready for a New Baby:

  1. Start differentiating between dog toys and baby toys immediately.  Allow your dog to sniff the new baby toys you receive but don’t let him pick them up.  If he tries to pick them up, say “no,” give him one of his own instead and praise him when his toy is in his mouth.
  2. Set up the crib, car seat, and nursery sooner rather than later and lay ground rules in those spaces right now – like no sitting in the car seat, no jumping up to look in the crib.  That way your dog won’t “blame” the baby for their new restrictions.
  3. Think about what life will be like for your dog when the baby arrives and start adjusting them to that pattern beforehand.  For example, walks will become less frequent so reduce their walks now.  
  4. Jumping up and barking.  You may consider a dog who jumps up on you or visitors ok, but once a toddler is in the house, jumping up may turn into tearful cries.  Break your dog of this bad habit now.  Or if you let your dog bark inside right now, break them of the habit before the baby comes.  You won’t want them waking the baby up with barking when you’ve worked so hard to get him or her to sleep.  
  5. Plan for the delivery.  Who will feed and walk your dog while you are in the hospital giving birth?  Ask a friend or neighbor if they are willing to be “on call” when the day arrives and give them your key ahead of time.  
  6. Overall, be thoughtful and plan ahead.  Everyone’s pet can benefit from a bit more training.  If you have any concerns about how your dog might react to your new baby, call a dog trainer or sign up for a group training class at your local community center months before your due date.  
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