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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 he has noticed the shift in the atmosphere, it doesn’t mean he fully understands 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 yourself as the pack leader 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 her own energy. If your dog has anxiety issues, speaking to a veterinarian can help. 

Claim 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 establish boundaries with your dog. The challenge involves letting your dog sniff the item from a distance: doing so expresses that the item is yours and that your dog must follow your rules. Claiming your baby’s scent communicates that your dog must respect those boundaries between him and the baby. 

Set Boundaries for the Nursery

Train your dog to understand that the nursery is off-limits. Your dog should understand that 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 belongs to you, the pack leader, 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 on a long walk, and make sure he is in an obedient state of mind before bringing him inside. Your dog will immediately notice the new scent in the home, and if you completed the exercise mentioned above, he 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 him to respect the baby as another leader of the pack. 

Discuss Your Dog’s Needs With a Veterinarian

Your baby’s safety is important above all else. Preparing your dog comes down to your own ability as its owner to keep your dog in control. 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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