How to prepare your dog for a newborn baby

Ten tips to prepare your dog for a baby

As you prepare to welcome a baby into your family, many often overlook how their furry family member will react to the new baby and don’t properly plan for it.   
For the smoothest transition into your new family life, it’s important to get your dog comfy with everything baby before your baby arrives.

Before baby arrive

1 Get your dog used to the sounds new babies make.
Download an app of baby sounds (babies crying and laughing) to get your dog used to these sounds. Give your dog plenty of attention and treats while playing these sounds to condition them to view them positively.

2. Vary your dog’s daily routines
As dogs are creatures of habit and thrive on routines, it’s a good idea to start varying their daily routines at least two months out.  Start mixing up the times of their daily walks, who takes them for walks and if you are feeling game it even pays to practice taking them for a walk while pushing the (empty) baby pram. This way, you can train them not to pull on the leash and will make getting out the house for a daily walk way less stressful once your bubs has arrived.

3. Dog Obedience Training
Establishing/re-establishing and reinforcing some basic dog training commands such as “sit” and “stay” will make nursing your baby less stressful. Train them to know they can only sit on the couch if they are invited; this way you can breastfeed in peace.  Commands such as “leave it” or “drop it” will be invaluable in teaching your dog to leave the baby’s toys and things alone.

4. Dog- free zones
If you are wanting the nursery / your bedroom to be off-limits to your dog while your baby is little establish the dog-free zones within the house prior to the baby’s arrival.  This way, your dog won’t associate being excluded and jealous of the baby’s arrival.

5. Get your dog used to all the new baby gadgets and things
With a new baby comes a truck load of new things – prams, cots, bouncers, baby baths, gadgets.  Have practice runs using the equipment – fill up the baby bath, nurse a doll, push the pram around and encourage your dog to get up close and personal with things and have a good sniff to get them used to them.

6. Dog-friendly Zones
Create a ‘safe zone’ for your dog to retreat to when the going gets tough, and they need some time away from the baby.  Set aside a warm area of the house that is just for the dog, somewhere they know they will be able to go to escape the chaos and noise whenever they need to.

7. Build independence
Resist the temptation to lavish your dog with extra attention in the final few weeks before your baby arrives. Leave them

Once baby arrives

8. Prepare for the new smells
Your dog is going to be bombarded with a whole realm of new smells (good and bad) when bubs arrives. As smell is a dog’s most sensitive sense, this can be overwhelming, so gradually getting your dog used to all the new baby things is a great help. Start to use baby lotions, powders, creams on yourself in the lead up to your newborn’s arrival, so the dog starts associates them with a familiar person.

9. Introduce your newborn’s scent first
After baby arrives send home a blanket/swaddle/wrap/outfit with your brand new baby’s scent on it for your dog to sniff to allow them to get used to the new smell before you bring bubs home from the hospital.

10. Bringing baby home
No doubt your dog will be super excited to see you once you return from a couple of days in the hospital. Go in separately so the dog can ‘express’ their usual excitement (jump all over you) then perhaps put them on a leash to greet the baby for the first time. When you bring in the baby, greet your dog normally, show them bubs and let them have a sniff before plying them with some of their favourite treats.

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