Thursday, February 27, 2014

Introducing Baby & Dogs?

Leaving the hospital and getting home can be stressful. The first drive in the car, the first time you are no longer with the help of nurses...I'm not sure about you but on our home with both children I made Peter drive slower then usually because I was so nervous! 
For animal owners it is also a stressful time for the pets. Their beloved owners have been gone for a few days and are now home with a brand new toy human. To make the transition easier for you and your pets you can start training them while you're pregnant. The following are things to focus on before baby arrives, of course the following depends on how well trained your dog already is.

1. Does your dog have an aggression issue?
How does your dog act when you step near his/her food dish, toys, or bed? If they react by snipping, growling, or hovering you may want to seek a professional trainer to help with this problem.  Remember once baby becomes mobile the dogs toys, food bowl, and bed are new territory. They will want to explore. Of course teaching your child that the dog items are "no-no's" is a no brainer but the items are still there tempting them(: 

2. Teaching proper manners.
If your dog jumps up on people when he/she gets excited that is something that should be stopped. Once baby comes home and you have visitors (or even just yourself) hold the baby, you do not want your dog jumping up. It can be a hazard, baby could be knocked out of the person's hand. 
Practice the "drop it" command. Baby items will be left around I'm sure meaning your dog will think he has a new toy! 

3. Pet proofing, not just baby proofing?
If your dog sleeps in bed with you, you may want to start training him to stay on the ground. If you plan to co-sleep with baby or put them in a sleep against the bed the dogs new bed should be on the floor. 
Getting a diaper pail may be a good idea. You don't want your dog spreading unwanted "paint" all over!

4. Introducing baby and dog.
If you have visitors in the hospital after baby is born have one of your guests take an item that baby wore (hat, onesie, etc) back to your house. Have them let your dog inspect the item, smelling or licking, so they know the scent of the baby. Once home let them meet on neutral territory, outside as opposed to inside. Use your commands and keep an eye on your dog, reward him with a treat for listening and being well behaved. 

If you are a dog owner please share what you did to make the transition easier for you and your dog!

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