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How to Introduce Your Dog to Your Baby

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Dogs are very perceptive, so it’s no surprise if your dog already senses that something is changing. But even if they have noticed the shift in the atmosphere, it doesn’t mean they fully understand how your household will soon change. Introducing your baby to your dog is simple when you use these tips provided by our veterinarians at Blue Lake Animal Hospital.  

Address Unwanted Habits

Nine months gives you plenty of time to address any behavioral issues your dog might have. This is the time to establish any new routines and resolve your dog’s less-desirable habits. Some pet owners may choose to work with a professional dog trainer, while other situations may simply call for a different routine. By putting in the work, your dog will be adjusted and ready for when you bring your baby home. 

Know Your Energy

The entire household’s energy changes when there is a pregnancy. Dogs are very intuitive and can sense if you’re nervous, excited or stressed. Remember that your dog will likely pick up on your emotions and impact their own energy. If your dog has anxiety issues, speaking to a veterinarian can help. 

Introduce Your Baby’s Scent

Before bringing home your newborn, provide an item with your baby’s scent for your dog to sniff. It’s important to use this exercise to introduce your newborn to your dog. This involves letting your dog sniff the item and become familiar with the new scent. This can help familiarize your dog with your baby, and hopefully alleviate some stress, before you bring your newborn home.  

Set Boundaries for the Nursery

Train your dog to understand that the nursery is off-limits. Your dog should understand that he/she cannot enter this room without your permission. After some time has passed, you can allow your dog to explore the room and sniff around under your supervision. Then, condition your dog to leave when you do. Repeating this activity teaches your dog that the room has rules to be followed and therefore sets an invisible boundary that needs to be respected. 

Prepare Your Dog For the Introduction

On the day of the baby’s arrival, you’ll want your dog to be relatively calm. Take him/her on a long walk, and make sure he/she is in an obedient state of mind before bringing them inside. Your dog will immediately notice the new scent in the home, and if you completed the exercise mentioned above, they should be at least somewhat familiar with it. The mother should also be calm and the dog should only sniff the baby from a safe distance. Gradually allow your dog to become closer to the baby over time, as this teaches them to respect the baby and not be overwhelming to your newborn. We always recommend supervising dogs with young children. Babies can make noises and movements that are strange to your dog and can induce anxiety. Supervising their time together will allow you to guide them to having a happy and special bond for years to come.

Discuss Your Dog’s Needs With a Veterinarian

Your baby’s safety is important above all else. Preparing your dog can make the transition go more smoothly. Our veterinarians at Blue Lake Animal Hospital are ready to assist you as you make this major transition. Bring in your dog for a checkup, where we can provide the information you need. Call today for an appointment.

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