How to Prepare Your Dogs for a Newborn Baby

Welcome Baby New Year! With the arrival of the bright and shiny 2017, I am so blessed to be looking forward to a year of firsts with the arrival of my first grandson this past December! With four Siberian Huskies, who are very social by nature, we wanted to prepare them for the arrival of the baby so they would not be too excited, overstressed, or worry when the baby cries and coos.

Newborn Baby Issues With Your Pet Dogs

A few things that have helped us with the transition from a four-dog household to a four-dog-and-a-baby household are:

Prepare Your Dog Ahead of Time

Months ahead of time, play different sound bites of babies crying and cooing to let your dog get used to the new voice they will be hearing on a daily basis. When you play the cries, reassure your dog by saying, “It’s okay, Wolfie. This is Baby (Name).” Then remember to add positive verbal reward to your dog, such as “Good boy, Wolfie!” along with hugs and pets for a job well done.

Set the Routine

It’s important that the routine with your dogs stay the same, or work with them early if there will be a change. If your dogs will not be permitted in a certain area, like the nursery, then begin the training early. Put up a gate or work with your dogs to “stay” at the room entrance so by the time the baby comes home, your dogs will already be trained and it will not be something “new” that could be viewed by the dogs as a negative association with the baby.

Introduce Your Dog to Babies Beforehand

A good way to help prepare your dog for the arrival of a new baby is by having friends who have young children and babies come to visit. While under constant care and supervision of both the child’s parent and you, the dog’s parent, allow your dog to become familiar with the new smells, sights, and sounds of a baby.

A Healthy Dog Is a Happy Dog

Be sure to have your dog’s vaccinations and vet health check-ups all up to date prior to the baby coming home to be sure your dog is in good health. And don’t forget to have those nails trimmed!

A Well-Behaved Dog Is a Well-Behaved Dog

If there are any less than positive traits your dog may have that you just can’t seem to correct, such as jumping, consider enrolling him/her in a training class or meet with a dog behaviorist to work out any issues way before baby is due.

Take a Sniff

Once the baby is born, before bringing him/her home, have a family member or friend bring home an article of clothing, hat, or blanket that has been on the baby for your dog to sniff and become familiar with the baby’s scent.

Meet and Greet Time!

It’s time for your baby to come! If you have multiple dogs, like we do, allow each one to have a few minutes on their own to meet and sniff the baby under careful supervision. When first meeting the new baby, maybe start out with your dog behind a gate, then progress to removing the gate.

Newborn Baby Issues With Your Pet Dogs: Meet and GreetDo this meet-and-greet a little each day to get your dogs used to the newest member of the family. Always remember to talk to your dogs through the process and reward your dog with positive reinforcement of praise, hugs, and treats!

With some early planning and under careful supervision, dog meets baby can become a positive experience for all. The key is to start early, always be safety conscious, never leave a baby with a dog unattended, and take your time. Eventually, you’ll notice everyone settling in to the new routine quite nicely, especially your pups!

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dorothy wills-rafteryDorothy Wills-Raftery

Dorothy Wills-Raftery is the author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle (ArcticHouse Publishing). She writes the internationally award-winning FiveSibes blog based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies, and is a contributing author and photographer for American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is also the writer and host of “The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show. An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness Campaign inspired by her Husky, Gibson, who is a canine epileptic (Epi-dog). In addition to her Huskies, Dorothy shares her home­ with her husband, daughter and son-in-law, and a rehabilitated-now-adopted feral cat named Binx. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter,and Instagram (@FiveSibesMom), and the soon-to-be launched FiveSibes.com website.


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17 Responses to How to Prepare Your Dogs for a Newborn Baby

  1. Great advice! I’ve read too many stories of people getting rid of their dogs because they either decided they no longer had the time, or no one was getting along. Some prep work will make all the difference.

  2. This is SO important. So many people don’t even think of preparing their dogs to be around children. Even folks who are sure they will never have any, should expose their dogs to kids because the world is full of them. :-)

  3. Joely Smith says:

    LOVE THIS! I am sure not many people even think about it or consider that this is an adjustment for the dogs too! Also a lot safer for the baby when it comes home if the pets are used to the sounds, smells, etc.
    I am done having my kiddos but glad to see this information out in the world for others to get educated from.

  4. We’ve been introducing Mr. N to babies now so that he is used to them. Babies are relatively easy, now toddlers…

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Bravo, Mr. N! And, yes, toddlers sure are a different type of adjustment for pets! Thankfully, it too can be planned for with brief introductions. My FiveSibes are very used to toddlers from friends and enjoy the attention (and play) – always under direct supervision. It’s a wonderful relationship for both dogs and children when properly fostered. :-)

  5. Beth says:

    These are wonderful tips to help a dog adjust to a new baby! I know that some people also get a friend or pet sitter to take the dog out for extra walks the first few weeks. I wish I had someone to do that for my dog(s) when I brought my babies home.

  6. We agree, introducing a dog to babies prior to a new baby (to the family) arrival is important! Some dogs are curious, and others just snuggle right up to the baby – we’ve seen dogs who otherwise have shown no mothering instinct, really shine with new babies!!

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thanks, Rebecca! Early planning truly makes for a nice, happy, and safe transition for all! I have a mix in my own Huskies – a mothering one (our alpha), a kisser, a playmate, and one who is just curious, but not affected in the least!

  7. Ruth Epstein says:

    Great information for those that are preparing

  8. This is great advice – our pets have never had too much to do with kids, so the arrival of my niece a few years ago was quite a shock for them.

    • FiveSibesMom says:

      Thank you! It sure can be a shock, the sounds, smells, movement, and attention can be overwhelming and even disturbing for some pets, and the cries especially. Preparing here truly made for a much calmer and happier transition for all. :-)

  9. Really nice tips! If people played a proactive role, they transition is so much easier. :)

  10. Carol Bryant says:

    I am so glad you addressed this hot topic. It also is good for anyone who has a dog and is around kids. I have blogged this as well and I am grateful every time I see this sort of info online. Very important and you did a great job.

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