When I was expecting my first human child, I wanted to be sure my four-legged fur babies were ready for my daughter’s arrival.
Oliver and Pearl were my first babies. While they were sweet and good-natured dogs, I still wanted to maintain their good behavior when I introduced a new member to our family.
I scheduled a few sessions with a dog trainer before my due date. We worked on exercises for establishing control and dominance. Our trainer also gave me and my husband some pointers about how to bring baby home and introduce her to the dogs.
Three years later and a second daughter later, I’m happy to report that all my “babies” are happily coexisting!
Here are a few things I learned about preparing a pup for a new baby:
Basic Training: Our dog trainer worked with us on some basic commands and exercises – such as sit and stay. This established that we were in control over the dogs and that they will follow and listen to our instructions. If you skipped puppy training, now is the time to sign up for a doggy class before baby arrives.
Set the Scene: Put the swing, bouncer, high chair and any other baby gear out so your dog can get used to the new furniture. We would bring out diapers and blankets every day and let the dogs sniff them before our daughter was born.
Keep It Safe: No matter how darling your dog is or how cute and cuddly they can be, never leave your dog alone with baby.
Pay Attention: Your dog’s life will certainly change when baby appears. Make sure you take your dog out for its regular walks and he or she gets a bit of your dedicated attention.
Having a trained, well-loved and well-exercised dog will make all the difference in the world once baby joins the family.