You’ve mastered dog parenting, now it’s time for the human kind. Introducing a new member to the pack does not have to be a stressful experience. By providing a slow and steady introduction, the result can be enriching for both your dog and your child. Here are a few quick tips to make the initiation process as smooth as possible for everyone involved:

Preparing Your Pet:

Introduce your dog to all the baby supplies and scents. Rub baby lotion or baby powder on your hands so that your dog will associate a positive connection with the scent. 

Set up the nursery early. Let your dog explore the new setting and get accustomed to any new furniture or baby items that may frighten him. 

Praise your your pet regularly. To avoid any potential anxiety, give your dog some extra praise when they are around new items such as baby tables and cribs. 

Establish the ground rules early. Do not allow your dog to jump or sleep on any of the baby furniture. Pets tend to avoid sticky surfaces, so if your pet views the new furniture as a napping place, consider a double sided-adhesive to make the new items undesirable.

Introduce changes in your dog’s routine early. These include play sessions, walks, feedings, grooming, sleeping, and other daily schedule shifts. Dogs need some quality time with your undivided attention for a short period of time every day. Plan ahead to determine the best time for this so that you can maintain the new schedule when the baby comes home.

When the Baby Arrives:

After arriving home from the hospital, greet your dog in a quiet room so you can reconnect and bond. After you’ve had a few minutes of undivided attention with your dog, you can let everyone else, including the baby, in the house.

Let your dog investigate by placing an item that smells like the baby, such as a receiving blanket or article of clothing, in a quiet place for him to smell and get acclimated with the item.

Don’t let your dog feel forgotten about. Praise your dog and give him attention when the baby is in the room. Baby naptime is the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time, just the two of you. 

If you would like information from an Anti-Cruelty Behavior Specialist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email behavior@anticruelty.org.

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