All dogs are different, but they all go through a lot of changes when a new baby comes into the house. While dogs and babies generally get along well and can enrich each other’s lives, there are some things you will need to do to ensure your dog is safe and happy. This blog will cover some of the changes you can expect your dog to experience and preparing dog for baby.
We spent a lot of time preparing to become parents. During our preparation, we designed our Son’s nursery, took classes at the hospital to learn skills, and read many books about parenting and newborn care.
We were so busy preparing ourselves that we forgot about prepping our “first” baby, our dog, Bowie.
Named after the late singer/songwriter David Bowie (one of our favorite artists), Bowie has always been a great and well-behaved dog, but even good pets can be unpredictable, and we didn’t know what we had in store or what to expect. When you have a baby on the way, it’s essential to ensure that your dog is ready for the new addition to the family. Yes, a dog that hasn’t been trained or has been trained poorly can be a danger to your baby.
I started researching and came across horror stories; about pets turning on the baby or becoming jealous and hating the baby, which eventually resulted in the owners making the hard decision of finding a new home for the pet.
I started to freak out a little and began looking up ways of preparing dog for baby. I took to the web and developed my plan to prepare Bowie for his new “Baby Brother.”
Why Preparing Dog for Baby?
Having a dog is one of the greatest joys in life. You’ll have a friend to play with and a cute creature you can dress up in costumes. But when it’s time to welcome new addition to the family, you might be wondering how your dog will react. Will your dog be jealous of the baby?
Dogs are brilliant, and they do notice things. They may not be able to verbalize their concerns, but they do have them. A dog is a member of the family, so to speak, and he or she will be a part of the new baby’s life.
Before you bring home your new bundle of joy, you have to think about whether that dog is going to be a good match for your baby. Will you have to adjust the dog’s schedule to accommodate the baby? That’s why it’s always a good idea to prepare your dog for a new baby in the family.
Preparing the dog for the baby ahead of time will make the transition much easier for everyone. Preparing your dog for baby can be as simple as introducing your dog to the new baby’s smell before the baby is born or as involved as giving your dog all the time it needs to get comfortable with the new baby.
Ways to Prepare your Dog for Baby
When you have a baby on the way, it’s essential to ensure that your dog is ready for the new addition to the family. What should you do to prepare the dog? How can you make sure your baby is safe around the dog?
This section will look at preparing dog for baby, how to integrate the dog into the new baby routine, what you can do to make the transition easier, and how to begin a new routine with your dog that involves the baby.
It was important for us to set up rules that we would agree on as a couple when it came to Bowie. We decided to make a rule with all of our guests coming to see the baby. The rule was that when they came into the house, they needed to first acknowledge Bowie and give him attention to avoid any jealousy, then proceed to visit and hold the baby.
We also made a rule that when it came to taking Bowie on walks and feeding, it would be my Husband’s responsibility to make it easier on me. This would also provide consistency to his routine and avoid him becoming resentful when I was preoccupied with the baby.
Lastly, we said that we each would allocate time to spend with him throughout the day. Whether it was 2 minutes, 10, or 30, we would give Bowie direct attention. We call it “Bowie Time!” We wanted Bowie to know still that he is important and a huge part of the family.
Be Purposeful About Making Time
As part of the rules, we needed to make our “Bowie time,” which could have been 2 minutes or an hour. Being purposeful about this was extremely important because, as being parents in general, our attention gets taken away quickly, and before you know it, it is the end of the day, and you realize that your dog has been alone or neglected all day long.
Introduction to Baby
Bowie stayed with my parents while we were in the hospital. On the day we were planning on coming home, I had my Mom drive up to bring Bowie back to the house ahead of time. It was vital for us to bring the baby into the house with Bowie already in it, so Bowie still felt like it was his domain.
Before we came into the house, we gave my Mom a blanket that Donovan was laying on in the hospital to give to Bowie to smell. I read that scent is very important to a dog and, when introducing a baby to the household, is central to how the dog will feel moving forward. Before we entered the house, we had to decide who would walk in first and who would follow afterward, holding the baby.
In doing my research, multiple sources indicated that the person who the dog favors more should be the one who enters the house first without the baby. This allows for normalcy and one-on-one time with their pet and to hold them when the baby enters the house. I entered the house first and spent a few moments with Bowie.
I picked him up as my husband entered the house with the baby. Bowie was very apprehensive at first, giving a couple of whines, and some mild growls, but we slowly set down the car seat to show Bowie the baby and allow him to recognize the scent, guarding his distance as much as possible, allowing him more access.
I read that it was necessary to remember that as much as we love our pets, they are still animals and have that animal instinct. After about 5 minutes, Bowie lowered his guard and even showed excitement at meeting the new “human” in the house.
Slow Transition to New routine
For pets, the new arrival can be stressful and confusing. Pets may get jealous, frustrated, or even angry, leading to destructive behavior and even illness. Changing the pet’s routine is a significant change, so it’s essential to try and maintain as much of the old routine as possible.
Spend Time Together After Baby Arrival
The arrival of a new baby can be a very stressful time for your dog and your family. Some dogs accept the recent arrival of a brother or sister with ease, while other dogs need time to adjust. The first few days with a new baby can be very stressful and dangerous for a dog who doesn’t understand what has happened. During the first few days after the baby arrives, the family and dog should spend time together. Let the dog smell the baby’s clothes and blankets. Let the dog see the baby. The dog should be allowed to lie on the baby’s bed or crib. Take the dog for walks outside or let him play with his favorite toy. All of this is a way for the dog to adjust to the new, additional family member.
Having a new baby in the house is both exciting and scary. On the one hand, you’re looking forward to all of the fun, new experiences of being a parent. On the other, you’re also worried about whether or not your dog will adjust to the new baby. One of the best ways to prepare your dog for your new bundle of joy is to use a bark collar.
Bowie is a barker! As much as we tried to train him before the baby was born, he is still a big mouth! (LOL). As I started to worry about Bowie barking when the company came to visit Donovan, I researched again! I Googled what to do if your dog barks non-stop at your visitors.
One of the forums I saw mentioned something about a humane bark collar. It is a collar that beeps at the pet when he barks, eventually giving a vibration after so many times. It ultimately trains him to stop barking. I went on Amazon and purchased the collar, and now I SWEAR by it! Bowie reacts well to this training piece, and we only put it on him when we know someone is coming over.
The Bark Collar that I used was this one: Bark Collar.
I would recommend adding it to your Amazon Baby Registry!
We wanted to set up training with Bowie through a school or our local pet store, but we were on a budget and decided to attempt to prepare him on our own. We looked up YouTube videos for preparing dog for baby, training your dog to sit, stay, speak, etc.
Bowie isn’t going to be in any dog shows soon, but we accomplished the basic training essentials for a dog! We didn’t succeed in making him 100% trained, but we trained enough of the basics to help once the baby was born. This really made it easier for us when the baby came, and we ran out of patience to also deal with a disobedient dog.
How Preparing Dog for Baby Helped us?
The first thing we did was to carry out a little research about dogs. The more we read, the more we realized that our dog, Bowie, would not cope with a baby at all. We were determined that our dog would be happy about the baby – there was no way we were going to let him get aggressive with the baby. We had to do something about it.
Despite all the horror stories we have heard of how a dog and a newborn baby don’t mix, we didn’t give up on the idea of preparing him. The results were that Bowie took a very positive approach to the baby.
HE LOVES Donovan, and it almost seems as if he thinks Donovan is HIS baby. I always like to think that our pets, perhaps dogs, believe we are in a little wolf pack and love and protect the pack.
When Donovan is crying in the bassinet, Bowie jumps up on our bed to look down at him to make sure he is okay. Bowie is right there next to me if I am feeding the baby, almost as if he is protecting us and keeping a “lookout.”
There was a moment when the baby dropped his pacifier while he was lying on the bed, and Bowie nudged it closer to him as if he was trying to get it back in his mouth. I cannot guarantee that all these steps will work 100% of the time, but I know they worked for us! I feel very fortunate that Bowie has adapted well to the baby.
Preparing your dog for the changes and giving him plenty of love and attention will help him deal with these changes in the best way possible. Feel free to comment back if you, friends, or family have found additional ways to assist with preparing a pet for a new baby’s arrival!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites