Your furry friend has already sensed something’s up. Although they might not be sure what exactly that is, canines are experts at detecting a shift of energy, especially when it involves their pack! As you prepare to bring the baby home (congratulations!), here are a few tips for making the introduction as stress-free as possible. We think it really makes a difference.
First off, it’s important to remember: dogs thrive on a predictable, routine-based environment, so a new baby is as much of a change for him as it is for you!
When you can, bring something home from the hospital that has the baby’s scent already on it – a blanket or onesie works great. Let your furry pal sniff it, while speaking warmly and reassuringly to him – this will establish the first positive association with your baby. You’re off to a great start already!
Once you’re home and settled in, chances are, Fido is excited and relieved the pack is reunited. The best way to avoid a high-energy introduction is to make sure he’s thoroughly exercised beforehand, and in a calm, submissive state. This is the opportune moment to take your friend up on that dog walking favor, or call our Pampered Pets office to set up a walk.
Many sources recommend giving your pup your full attention in the first five minutes home. Have someone else take the baby, then give him a warm (but calm) greeting. This isn’t the time to initiate play, it’s the time to re-establish your bond. It will also send your dog the clear message that everything is okay! In the next few days, let your four-legged pal sniff the baby, always while supervising.
Give your furry companion the time it takes to adjust — after all, there are lots of new sounds and smells to get used to! Safety gates are a great way to establish boundaries where you need them. While a crying baby might alarm or concern him at first, rest assured he’ll soon become accustomed to and even unfazed by the sounds of your baby.
Because this time is often hectic and overwhelming, we recommend and encourage keeping your dog on his established routine as much as possible, enlisting a dog walker’s help when needed.
As always, consult with a veterinarian or trainer if the thought of introducing your pup to the baby makes you anxious, especially if your four-legged friend has exhibited some signs of aggression.
Good luck, and a warm congratulations from the team at Pampered Pets!