Are you a pet parent turned human parent? Before bringing your baby home, prep your pup. While your baby isn't likely to care about your dog's presence, the same isn't true for your canine companion. Take a look at the ways to ease your dog into this new relationship and manage the sometimes stressful changes.
How well does your dog listen to you? If your dog doesn't respond (or doesn't know how to respond) they need help. Instead of waiting for the baby to arrive before you start teaching your pup some manners, get a jump start and begin classes while you're still pregnant. The basic skills that your dog should have before bringing your baby home include (but aren't limited to):
Sit. Jumping up on the baby is not acceptable. If your dog doesn't understand or respond to a sit command, you may spend more time than you'd like physically removing your pup from your baby's side.
Leave it. Aside from costing you money, picking up the baby's gear and chewing it can pose a serious safety hazard for your dog.
Stay. Your dog may be used to following behind you or running out the door and into the car the moment that you leave. Now that you have a baby, you may need your pup to stay put sometimes.
Mastering these abilities can save you time and reduce your dog's stress level after the baby comes home. If your dog can quickly comply with simple commands, you won't need to yell or feel flustered. Your calm, cool demeanor will help your pup to stay stress-free too.
Meet a Baby
This step doesn't mean that your dog needs to meet your baby. If your pup has yet to meet a child, help them to acclimate to a much smaller human by introducing them to someone else's baby.
Some families prefer to start with a non-human version — just in case the dog doesn't react well. A lifelike doll that you place in your soon-to-be baby's carrier or crib can help your dog learn about the new future family member.
When the baby does finally arrive, have another family member bring home their blanket or a onesie. Put the item in the crib and let your pup sniff it. This will help your dog recognize the scent of your baby when they do come home.
Practice Daily Activities
Your life is about to change. Along with a new little person to love, you'll have a major addition to your daily activities. Suddenly seemingly simple activities, such as walking your dog, may seem difficult. Avoid overwhelming yourself and your pup by practicing what you do regularly — but with a baby too. These activities can include:
Walks. Walking with both the baby and your pup is a definite change. Give your dog practice walking alongside the stroller. Go for your usual walk around the neighborhood or in the park, but with the stroller. Make sure your dog walks next to the stroller and follows commands.
Backyard runs. Does your dog have free domain over the yard? If so, make sure your dog follows commands to come in when you call. Even though venturing out into the yard to coax your pup in is easy now, you can't leave the baby alone to run around the yard.
Nap-time. Nap-time is quiet time for your baby and the whole household. Practice this noise-free (or low-noise) time daily with your dog before the baby arrives.
Think about ways now that can make your life easier for both you and your dog. Along with practicing daily activities, start a schedule for your pup to keep them busy, active, and in-sync with your family's new routine.
Does your dog need a check-up, medical care, or behavioral care before your due date? Contact Pet Medical Center of Vero Beach for more information.