Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful one. One of the things that can cause some couples additional worry is how their dog will react to a new baby. The key thing to remember is to start preparations as early as possible-the earlier the better. Here are some tips to ease your dog into his new role in the family.
- If your dog has any behavioural or training issues, address them now. Jumping up, excessive barking, even pulling on the lead. This is to reduce the risk of unintentional injuries to little ones, but also because when you are very sleep deprived, sore and hormonal, these are the types of issues you can really do without. You may not have the time or energy to address them when the baby arrives- do it now. For severe issues like resource guarding or aggression, seek the help of an appropriately qualified behaviourist.
- Consider whether you’d like to enlist the help of a dog walker or day care. This may be helpful in the early weeks and beyond with the new baby, but getting your dog used to it now will help so the dog doesn’t have to deal with further changes once baby arrives. Making sure your dog has opportunity to burn off some energy may help to keep them more calm and relaxed in the house.
- Make sure that your dog is able to settle away from you and can cope being left for short periods. If you need help training your dog to relax, contact the Paw Pack and ask to arrange a training session.
- Practise walking the dog whilst pushing the pram. Bring new items e.g. highchair, changing mat into the house so your dog can investigate them before baby arrives.
- Stop allowing your dog into areas that he won’t be allowed in once baby has arrived, e.g. baby’s bedroom. This means that he won’t suddenly feel forced out when the baby arrives.
- Find a soundtrack of babies gurgling and crying and play it around the dog.
- Remember when a new baby arrives, your home will be filled with unusual sounds and scents, people will behave differently, you may have lots of visitors- all of this can be very confusing for your dog. Doing as much as you can to prepare Fido in advance will make things easier once the baby arrives.
If you’d like help preparing your dog for your baby, or if you have a new baby and your dog doesn’t seem to be coping, contact The Paw Pack @ www.thepawpack.co.uk to arrange a training session or behavioural consultation without delay. The earlier you start preparing your dog the easier the transition will be for everyone.