You’re pregnant! The most exciting news in the world! Whether this is your first baby or or not, this new little life joining your family is going to affect your dog.
As wonderful as your dog is, don’t blindly believe they’ll be thrilled with the new addition. Dogs are not little humans. They’re animals and they perceive things very differently to humans. So set your dog up for success by preparing them for your new arrival with these tips:
Decide what the rules will be once the baby comes. And start practicing those rules right now. If you have a family, then set up a family meeting. And make sure everyone agrees on the rules and is on the same page.
For instance, if your dog is allowed on the couch now but will not be when baby comes, teach them to stay on the floor now. If you wait till baby comes your dog might resent you or your baby. So decide on the rules and make sure everyone in the family is enforcing them.
Your dog needs to learn to respect the boundaries you set around the nursery. And all the baby areas for that matter. So set them now, before baby comes. Decide as a family what those boundaries will be and start enforcing them. That way when baby comes your dog will already be accustomed to them and will not question it.
Before baby arrives, take some time to brush up on basic dog training. Start with consistency. If you call your dog, make sure they come……every time. Not just sometimes. Do some practice obedience with your dog. Have them sit, stay, come, down etc. If you are struggling with these commands, call a trainer and sign up for an obedience refresher class.
There is a difference between love and respect. I know you love your dog and your dog loves you. But does he or she respect you? Be honest, if you are struggling to get your dog to listen to you consistently, there may be an element missing. You need your dog to respect you before baby comes.
One thing is for sure. Along with a new baby comes a lot of chaos. Everything from more visitors to preparing your house for a baby. Your dog needs to get used to the sounds of a crying baby along with the new routine.
If your dog hasn’t had a lot of experience around kids or babies try this. Take your dog to a park where kids are playing. With your dog on leash sit on a bench near by. Let your dog observe the chaos of kids having fun. Keep it positive. Bring treats and give your dog some tasty morsels. That way your dog will be experiencing pleasure while around screaming kids. It will imprint a positive impression in their brain.
Also, if you have friends with kids, invite them over. Supervise some play dates. Set your dog up to feel good interacting with kids in their house. *Note: If there are ever any signs of aggression call a professional trainer immediately.
And finally, have fun with your dog. Enjoy quality playtime together. Show them they are an important part of your family. Spend time daily doing things they love to do. Whether it’s playing fetch, going for a run or a swim, or playing at a dog park. Make sure your dog gets the one on one time they need to feel loved and important.
Brenda McBurnie is a professional certified dog trainer and behavior expert who has always had a deep love for dogs. She opened a dog daycare/health food store for dogs in 2002, but has recently sold her successful dog business in exchange for dog blogging.
Her blog, doggiebloggie.ca focuses on positive reinforcement dog training and dog health & nutrition. She completed her small animal natural nutrition certification and has used that along with all her years of experience working with dogs to create an educational, easy to read blog about dogs.