When we first found out that I was pregnant with Baby Babb, we had a lot of questions (mainly: how on earth did this happen?). These questions included one that almost all of our friends and neighbors had: How on earth do you plan to bring a baby home with “that dog” in the house. That dog is otherwise known as my German Shepherd, Trigger. While he is very well-behaved for myself and my husband (and the kids, most of the time… when he’s not busy showing them who’s boss) he does have a tendency to scare other people, and I have to admit that I was a little nervous about bringing a baby home to meet him. But here are a few tips about introducing dogs to baby that might just make your transition as easy as mine was!
Tip #1: Take Safety Precautions
- The safety of your child is paramount, which is why regular nail trims are recommended to ensure that even inadvertently, your pet doesn’t scratch your baby.
- Consider enrolling in a training course with your dog to teach behaviors such as not jumping into your lap unless invited, as your lap will now be home to the baby.
- Above all else, always supervise baby/pet interactions.
Tip #2: Prep Your Pet
- Turn on baby swings and toys to familiarize your pet with these sounds.
- Invite friends with babies over to provide a visual example for your pet.
- Help your pet develop a relationship with many family members, so that they have another person to connect with or go to when mom gets waylaid by the new baby.
- After your child is born, help your pet become familiar with your baby’s specific scent by allowing them to sniff your child’s blankets or clothing before you introduce them.
Tip #3: Prep Your Home
- If you have a cat, consider putting mosquito netting over the baby’s bassinet or crib to prevent kitty from jumping in.
- Use gates to limit your pet’s access to certain areas.
- Apply double-stick tape to the baby’s furniture to discourage pets from jumping on it.
Tip #4: You Only Get One Chance to Make a First Impression
- It sounds simple, but take a beat once you return from the hospital to greet your pet warmly and calmly (without your new babe in tow). They’ve missed you!
- When you’re ready for the newest member of the family to meet your furry friend, get down on your pet’s level and allow them to take a hello sniff. Unless your pet is hissing or growling, try not to pull away so that Fido doesn’t equate the baby with a threat.
Tip #5: Include Your Pet in the Fun
- Bring your pet with you when you sit next to the baby, and reward your pet with praise and treats for good behavior around your little one. This helps connect the dots for your pet that associating with their new “brother” or “sister” is a positive experience.
Moms: Any success stories or tricks of the trade to share about introducing your pet to your baby?