How to Introduce Your Dog to Your Baby

A parent practices ways to introduce your dog to your baby.

Are you welcoming a bundle of joy into the world? Congrats! Knowing how to introduce your dog to your new baby is essential to a harmonious household. It’s a special time in life, though it can be stressful. The last thing you need is a cranky, jealous dog.

If you’ve watched Lady and the Tramp, you’ll know that a new baby can be confusing for a dog. They go from being your only baby, to being your ‘other baby’ in the space of a day.

That’s why we’ve put together this article to help your babies grow up to be best friends fur-ever! Read on for the full scoop:

Introduce your dog to your baby slowly

The key to introducing your dog to your baby is quite literally baby steps (we couldn’t resist). You just need to make sure the process happens slowly. This gives your dog and your human bambino time to build trust and grow a connection.

Dog and baby are friends because parents following the introduce your dog to your baby steps.

Your dog and your new baby

Children growing up with pets experience many benefits – and so do pets of course! However, kids and dogs need to know what each other’s boundaries are for safety and success.

Your dog’s happiness

Separation anxiety in pets is a risk for your pooch when your baby is born. They’ve been pushed from top rung to second rung. And what with changing and feeding schedules around the clock, second rung might feel like bottom rung.

So what can you do?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Set aside time every day to show your dog you love them. Pet them and play with them (here are some games for building skills during puppy play).
  • Keep your regular walking or playing schedule. If you need to hire a helping hand or ask a friend or family member for some time, it will be well worth it.
  • Consider sending your dog to puppy school. It’s an outlet for their energy and they get to socialise with other dogs.
A dog and baby are friends through the steps to introduce your dog to your baby

Dog obedience and the bub

Now is the time to ensure your dog’s obedience is top-notch. Even if you’re happy with your pooch jumping up on you to plant big slobbery kisses, your baby may not. Imagine how awkward the home video of you filming your toddler’s first steps could be… Baby takes one small step, dog takes one giant leap and everyone tumbles down.

Here are some articles for training basic dog obedience skills:

  1. Puppy training tips. Basic essentials like sit, stay and come
  2. Teach your puppy to walk on a lead. Good for obedience outside the home
  3. Toilet training your puppy. Trust us, you don’t want to be potty training your babies at the same time!

Another excellent command is ‘go’. It’s not a nasty command, it’s actually a way to be kind to pooch. You might just need a moment when your baby’s falling asleep. Or your dog’s nosing a diaper that’s heading for the trash can.

Training your puppy to ‘go’

To teach this skill, toss a treat while saying ‘go’. Then gradually say the word first and once your puppy or dog heads in the right direction, throw them the treat. We love positive reinforcement dog training because you get to reward your dog and deepen the bond.

Introduce your dog to babies and other kids

As an expecting parent or new parent, you’ll be going through a lot. Aching pains, sore back, sleepless nights, you name it. Therefore you might not realise how strange and scary a transition it can be for your dog. Kids make wild and wonderous screeches and screams that make no sense to a dog unless they’ve had time to get used to it.

A dog’s hearing is far superior to our own, so you can imagine how loud children might sound. If possible, get your pup used to the way children play, move and sound before your baby’s born.

Playdates prior

Invite friends with kids over, or arrange to visit them with your dog. Let your dog get used to children who are a bit bigger too. Always keep your pup on a leash at first and supervise them while another adult supervises the children.

Pet and praise your dog to help them feel comfortable. That way you can make sure your dog feels happy and safe around kids. If it’s a success, try out follow-up playdates without the leash.

Pre-baby parks visits

Visit parks that are kid and dog friendly to have your dog get used to lots of children. Remember this can all be a sensory overload to your canine, so integrating them as much as possible is great. Keep your pup at a safe distance from the kids in the park.

There’s no need for actual contact unless you know it’s safe and you’ve checked with the kids’ parents.

Dog is introduced to baby.

Introduce your dog to your baby’s toys

Get your dog used to your baby’s toys and other items. Your house will suddenly be equipped with all sorts of baby paraphernalia. From bottles to prams, cots, highchairs, feeding chairs, bouncers… you name it.

Regardless of whether your dog is big and strong or small and fluffy, new stuff can pose a threat and feel scary. Find out how to tell ‘is my dog afraid?’ Seeing the signs is half the battle,

As you baby proof your house, ensure there’s a special space or den designated for your dog where your baby won’t go. If you’ve ever wondered should you crate train a puppy, this is exactly where it can come in handy. It gives your dog an exclusive den and you don’t need a dedicated room.

On another related note, here’s how to puppy proof your house as a first time pet owner.

First time introductions: The big day has arrived

When you first introduce your baby to your dog, there are several key things to do. Happily, these steps are simple and easy, so it’s just a matter of mental prep and planning.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Make sure your dog is calm for furr-st time introductions. Have someone take them out for a long walk or a run in the park beforehand to tire them out and help them remain calm.
  • Have someone else hold your baby. Let your dog greet you first exclusively, as this will be reassuring to him.
  • Next is to introduce him to your baby. Make sure you’re calm as your emotions set the tone. Keep your dog on his leash and hold your baby in your arms. Keep your dog at a distance and simply let him sniff the sweet baby smell of your new bundle. There’s no going close up – this is all about smell. Give your dog a treat or praise and remove him from the room.
  • When you’re confident the time is right, introduce them close-up. Let him sniff your baby’s feet first. This allows less chance of things going awry if the baby unexpectedly squirms, screams or cries.

Going forward, it’s important never to leave your baby unsupervised. No matter how loving and gentle a family dog is, this is key to your child’s safety.

Watch this video for more tips on introducing your dog to your baby:

Pet insurance for a soft landing

Pet insurance can save you thousands of dollars on visits to vets, hospitalisation, and many other pet health costs. That way you can spend your saved dollars on both your bubs in other ways, like new toys. Dog insurance is all about having peace of mind, just like knowing how to introduce your dog to your baby in a safe way.

Once you’re covered with insurance, if your dog has an accident, injury or illness you won’t be alone in paying the bill. We’ll help you, with our affordable and easy to use online pet plans.

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