Photo by Vicki Yang
When you’re expecting a baby, there are so many changes you have to go through. Changes to your body, changes to your routine and, if you plan to have a separate nursery, changes to your home.
Life will also be quite different for your dog. For so long, he has been almost like your child himself. Now he has to share you with a little creature that looks different, smells different and makes an awful lot of noise!
Start making changes to your dog’s lifestyle well before you bring your baby home. That way he has time to adjust, and won’t be so shell shocked at the new arrival.
Here are the important steps to preparing your dog for a new baby:
1. Give him a refresher course on basic obedience training. Teach him not to jump, and train him to go and lie on a mat on command. That way, you won’t be trying to change a diaper while your dog is underfoot.
2. Put some boundaries in place so your dog gets used to having limits. You may not want your dog going into the nursery, or into your bedroom if your new babe is sleeping with you. Baby barrier gates are ideal. Your dog can still share the lounge room with you, but you won’t have dog hair in your baby’s room.
3. Introduce your dog to children. It’s helpful if your dog meets young people before you introduce him to your new family member. Perhaps you can visit friends or family who have children. Try to avoid children who will shriek or run around when your dog approaches; that won’t help your dog get used to them at all. Ask the children to give your dog treats so he learns that they are good to be around.
4. When your baby is born, let your dog become familiar with her smell on a baby blanket before you come home from hospital. Don’t be surprised if your dog wants to sniff and nudge the little wrapped bundle. He will be extremely curious. It’s okay to let him sniff, but take care. His enthusiasm may result in someone getting scratched. Under no circumstances should you leave your child alone with your dog.
5. Although the changes to your life are huge, do your best to spend a little time with your dog each day. That way he won’t feel neglected. It won’t take long until you’re able to go for a walk with your new baby in the stroller, and your dog can come too.
5. Give your dog Sleepytime Tonic. This honey flavored liquid combines herbs and flower essences to calm your dog, relieve any anxiety and help him relax. It will make it easier for him to adapt to the sounds and smells of a new baby, and it’s safe enough to use every day.
The arrival of a baby in the house needn’t be difficult for your dog. Be proactive, and make an effort to prepare him well beforehand. By doing this, you can make sure your dog and your baby grow up to be the best of friends.