A new baby is exciting news for your family, but it can be a pretty scary change for your dog. We already know that dogs are man’s best friend–and they can be baby’s best friend, too–just as long as you know how to prepare.
So, while you’re busy babyproofing the house and researching the very best things to do for your new bundle of joy, you can babyproof the dog while you’re at it.
Here’s how to get Fido ready for his new human brother or sister:
The Early Bird Gets the Good Dog
It’s never too early to start training! The first thing you’ll want to do is solidify your dog’s basic training so he consistently listens to commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “go to your bed” (or any command that gets him to leave your space). Additionally, bad behaviors that may have only been a nuisance pre-baby can become catastrophic down the line. Get issues like resource guarding, mouthing, and jumping in check with the help of a trainer before baby arrives.
Is your dog afraid of children? While pups have been known to be more welcoming to kids in their own family, it’s also important to get them used to other kids so playdates and parties can eventually go down without problems. When your pup has a little training under his collar, keep treats on hand for neighborhood children to feed him and establish positive associations with those tiny humans.
Slow and Steady Introduction
Just because the baby isn’t born yet, it doesn’t mean that your dog can’t start to meet his new sibling. Allowing your pup to smell all the baby stuff (and feeding him boatloads of treats when he does!) is a great way to get him used to change. Since your schedule is about to shift, his will change too, and you want to start implementing any new rules early on so that everyone is totally prepared. Don’t want him on the furniture anymore?–well, carpe diem! Going to have to adjust his feeding schedule? Now’s the time.
When the baby arrives, you’ll want the first meeting to go super smoothly. When you come home from the hospital, a good move is to have one person wait outside with the baby while the others come inside for a normal greeting. Get a little of that oh-my-goodness-you’re-home energy out before bringing the baby inside, then leash up your pup and have treats on hand for the big hello. Keep your energy calm and use lots of praise if your dog stays calm as well. From there, you should go at snail’s pace as you gradually allow your dog to smell the baby and begin to interact over whatever time period makes you feel comfortable.
Be sure to give your dog the most attention, praise, and treats while the baby is up-and-at-it, instead of taking the easy way out and waiting until the baby is asleep to hang out with the pup. You want him to associate the baby with everything wonderful and learn to anticipate his presence with excitement instead of anxiety.
Whole Home Detox
You’ve been eating extra healthy during pregnancy and making decisions about the safest products to use on your baby. You’re adding child locks to trashcans and cabinets and plugging up exposed outlets. You’re ordering eco-friendly everything and checking off to-do list items left and right. You’re a veritable supermom before you’ve even started.
Maybe you’ve already fired the pest control squad and switched to Wondercide’s safe and effective pest control solutions (if not–what are you waiting for?). But don’t forget that a proper home detox doesn’t stop at the inanimate objects. If your pup is still on spot drops, he’s pretty much a walking, wagging toxin!
When your dog and your baby become best friends (don’t worry, they’ll get there!), we predict there will be a lot of cuddling involved, and covering your pup in pesticide-based flea preventatives puts both him and your family at risk of toxic exposure. Pesticides can cause a number of health issues, and animals and babies are extra sensitive to their effects. So make sure that part of your plan for babyproofing the dog involves ditching the spot drops and switching to our all-natural flea & tick control. Your dog and your baby will thank you for it (in their hearts…we know that infants and animals can’t talk!).
Are you preparing for a new baby? Recently welcomed one to the family? Tell us how s/he’s getting along with your Wonderpup! (Extra points for cute stories.)