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Dogs and new babies

Dogs and new babies
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Up until now, your pet dog may have been your ‘baby’ but if you will soon be bringing a new son or daughter home then your pooch may start to feel a little put out. Dogs can find new babies very puzzling and often aren’t quite sure what to make of them, especially if they haven’t spent much time around children.

Preparation

When introducing a pet dog to a new baby, there are some things that you can do in advance to prepare your furry friend for the new arrival. A few months before your due date, you can start to introduce new sights and smells that the new baby might bring along. Of course, you don’t have to go as far as waving dirty nappies around, but letting the dog become familiar with things like the cot, pram and toiletry scents will help ease the transition. You can even buy CDs of realistic baby noises to let your dog know what to expect.

Bringing the baby home

When you first bring your new baby home, it’s a good idea to let other people enter the house first. This allows your dog to get rid of any excitement she normally shows when people walk through the door. It also means you are less likely to get jumped on if you’re still feeling a little fragile after the birth. Once she has calmed down then you should take the baby in to meet her. It’s important to remain calm, as your dog will pick up on any nervousness or jumpiness on your part. Have some treats on hand so that your pet learns to associate the new baby with good things.

Routines

When a new baby enters the world, normal routines are usually forgotten for at least a couple of weeks. However, dogs thrive on routine and so it’s a good idea to try and keep your dogs schedule as close to normal as possible. If you anticipate routines changing then it’s best to make the changes before the birth if you can.

Space

Dogs and new babiesA new arrival in the family can be traumatic for pets as the seemingly never-ending stream of visitors can be overwhelming. Make sure your dog has her own quiet space that she can retreat to if she finds everything a bit too much. A spare bedroom or utility room is perfect as your pet will be unlikely to be disturbed. Furnish the room with food and water bowls as well as a comfy bed and a few toys and your dog will be happy to go there when she want to get away from baby noise as well as visitors.

Aggression

If you’re concerned that your dog won’t get along well with your baby then you can sign her up for lessons with a professional trainer. Some even run special ‘baby readiness’ classes to prepare dogs in advance. They can also offer handy practical tips for keeping both dog and baby happy in the early months and years. If you notice any aggression – growling, baring of teeth, snapping or giving other warnings – then you should ensure the baby and the dog are kept away from each other and enlist the help of a qualified dog trainer and / or dog behaviourist.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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