Our dogs are highly connected to us. Even with a life-changing event like pregnancy, your dog has already detected that the changes are coming. Although he has noticed the new sensations floating around doesn’t mean he knows what they signify. It’s crucial to spend some time preparing your dog for the new changes. You’ll have to focus on two things in the months leading up to the baby’s arrival:
- Teach your dog the necessary skills to safely engage with her new family member.
- Teach your dog to adjust to the new experiences and changes that will occur shortly.
How Long Will It Take to Introduce a Dog to a Baby?
The short answer is ‘It Depends.’ Consistency is usually the key. First, you will have to check if the breed you pet is children-friendly. If not, gradual training is necessary for the breed to accept an infant. This might take time.
On the contrary, if the breed is naturally amiable, he will take a short time to get acclimated with the baby. Therefore, train your dog from the time you have decided to have a child. That will make it easier for the dog to get along.
Which Dog Breeds are Great as a Family Dog?
The conventional rule is that the larger the dog, the smaller the child. The rationale is that if a child falls on a large dog, the dog will not be harmed and will walk away. If a child falls on a small dog, the dog will react aggressively to protect himself. Small breeds are recommended for children over the age of six. Choose a dog with a more relaxed temperament.
Some of the dog breeds that will be best as a family dog are:
Bernese Mountain dogs are very devoted to their family and are easygoing. They are usually attached to an individual in the family and are best with children.
- Bichon Frise
Bichon Frises are loving and playful. They get along with children above three years old. However, they get aggressive with toddlers. Bichon Frise is a hypoallergenic dog breed; hence kids with asthma and allergies can safely play around with this breed.
- Cocker Spaniel
Spaniels are of a good size for toddlers. They are loving and can quickly get along with kids.
Collies are natural herders. That implies that if a collie perceives a kid as his “herd” or pack, he will have a lifelong friend.
- Golden and Labrador Retrievers
Golden and Labrador Retrievers are not bothered about a child crying and whining. Instead, they are soft-mouthed, which makes them best for kids.
Newfoundland dogs are kind and laid-back. They like swimming, going on regular walks, pulling carts, and carrying bags. They are very friendly with kids.
- Standard Poodle
Standard poodles are hypoallergenic; hence, they are best for kids with asthma and allergies. In addition, they are very energetic and fun-loving.
Tools Needed to Introduce Your Dog to Baby
It is always necessary to keep up with exciting things to train your dog. Baby Accessories are required to train your dog to get used to the new things which would show up in the home after your baby arrives. A leash is required while introducing your dog to your baby.
In this case, you will need:
Steps To Introduce Dog to Baby
Introducing your dog to your baby necessitates coexisting peacefully and with joy. So let us step by step learn to introduce a dog to a baby:
Basic Tasks Before Deciding to Have a Baby
Train your dog with elementary commands like leave it, drop it, sit, down, wait, stay, settle. These basic instructions will help regulate the dog’s urges.
- Crate and House Training: Crate Training and house training are the dog’s two vital skills to master while the baby is home. This will help stay mess-free and help feed, bathe, and let the baby sleep peacefully.
- Change Schedule: You will have to incorporate a new schedule for your dog.
- Reconsider House Rules: Keeping your dog out of proximity to your baby’s nursery is essential. Gradually introduce your dog to your baby under supervision.
Guidelines from Pregnancy to Child Birth and After That
You have nine months to get things prepared for your newborn child, and it’s critical to make it easy for your dog to prepare for the new changes. There are several problems you should address ahead of time.
When you’re having a baby, you might be wondering how to make sure dogs and newborns get along. Follow these basic guidelines for introducing dogs to babies and how to foster a loving and mutually respectful connection between them.
- Step 1: When You Are Expecting
Applying elementary commands will help you from preventing any accidents. For example, your dog might want to play with you and jump on you. Command Sit, Stay, Lie Down to keep him away from jumping.
Also, during this time, try introducing him to babies in parks. Call your friend to help you with being a stranger to a kid. Keep your dog on a leash and gently let him sniff the baby in the stroller. If he seems to be reactive, try later.
- Step 2: Three Months Prior Due Date
Introduce your dog with baby toys, baby lotions, and powder three months before your due date. These would help to normalize the baby’s smells after three months.
Start acting as a mother with an infant at home. Get a Doll and take strolls inside your house; talk to it. Alongside, give attention to your dog, as he knows there will be an addition to the family very soon, and he has to get along with it.
- Step 3: One Month Before Due Date
Set your dog off-limits. Do not allow your dog into the room where your baby will stay. Instead, give sit, back, lie down, stay commands when he tries to enter the room. This way, he will realize he is not permitted to enter the room.
Mark the behavior with high-value dog treats.
- Step 4: Two Weeks Before the Due Date
You will need to go to the hospital anytime soon. Therefore, this step can be granted as an Emergency. Hence you will have to set up some arrangements for your dog during your absence. Count on a friend who would take your dog out when you are absent. Introducing your dog to that friend is necessary.
Appoint a professional dog sitter, and introduce the dog’s daily schedule and diet to them — Handover the essential numbers to the dog sitter in case of emergency. The leash must be kept in a visible space.
- Step 5: When You are in Hospital
Your dog will be upset during this period due to your absence. The sitter’s task would be to stimulate him mentally and physically with various dog games and exercises. Also, maintain proper meal planning. This would come in handy when you come back home with your newborn.
- Step 6: When You Are Home
The basic obedience training will come in handy even when you get back home after recovering from childbirth. For example, you will not want your dog to jump at you when he sees you after a long time. Also, the dog sitter will have to set him off-limits when you are home with your newborn baby.
Out of all the engagements, schedule exercise time for your dog. Include sniffing your baby’s belongings in the training procedure. Allow your dog to the room gradually and talk to them both simultaneously. This would familiarize the co-existing concept for the dog.
This is how you can introduce your dog to your baby.
Your dog is perplexed as to why his accustomed home life is changing. He will get into trouble as a result of the increased stimulus. Stilwell recommends that, instead of constantly refraining your dog from doing what he wants, remind him of his play toy. This would redirect his behavior without hurting him.
Introduce your dog to infant-related activities. For example, change your baby’s diaper when your dog is around while talking to both. This would help your baby get easier with your dog and understand that he will be his long-time playmate.
Below mentioned are some pro tips to induce peace between the dog and the baby:
- Zone Out: Make safety gates and set them off-limits for the dog. This will help your baby to move and crawl around.
- Designate Playthings: Your baby and your dog must have a different set of playthings.
- Refrain Food Fights: Keep your dog’s bowl aside when it is not food time. Keep the dog’s bowl out of reach from the baby.
- Train your baby to be Gentle on Dog: Your baby will mimic you; take that as an opportunity to train your baby how to pet a dog. Your baby should not pull your dog’s fur, ears, or tail. That would make your dog aggressive.
- Supervise: Leaving your baby alone with the dog is not a good idea. Baby’s behavior might upset your dog, making him uncomfortable. So, constantly supervise your baby and the pet.
Introducing your dog to your baby shall be difficult. It is best if you start training your dog to get accustomed to the changing environment. Basic obedience training is the key. Introducing baby products and changing house rules and schedules can make your dog a bit confused. Still, if the training starts early, your dog can be the perfect play buddy for your child. It is also essential to train your child to be gentle with your dog during their exploring stage.