Dogs react differently to the appearance of a new family member. They sense hormonal changes in the mother’s body and also see changes in their environment. Some surround the youngest with care and protection, while others are afraid of newborns, and their presence stresses them.
It is a difficult moment for new parents and quadrupeds, which is why it is worth ensuring the comfort of all household members and starting preparations for life with a newborn baby during pregnancy. You should talk to your trainer, vet, and if you want other expert advice, check out the articles on Pet Place, or a few podcasts on dogpsychology101.com in order to update your knowledge – maybe you’ll learn a few tricks of your own.
In this article, you will read what mistakes not to make when the baby arrives.
Pay quality attention to your dog – at the right time
It is not about not spending time with your dog but organizing yourself a bit better. When you’re with your dog, focus only on your dog – play together, go outside to practice new commands, or go for a walk. At the same time, teach your dog some limits and discipline. Begging and attention-seeking are behaviors that need to be addressed before the baby comes.
Don’t forget about creating a safe place for your pet where they can go and hide – and find some peace. At the same time, don’t cut the dog off completely so that they feel excluded. They will have to choose whether it’s time for quiet or if they feel safer being close by. Every dog is different.
The first meeting
Preparations for the first meeting of a dog with a child can cover the entire pregnancy period, which will make it less stressful and stimulating for the dog. You can bring your baby’s newborn clothes from the hospital and give them a sniff. Thanks to this, the smell of the child will not be strange to the dog. It helps the dog to accept the new member of your family.
Before mom comes back home with the baby, you definitely should take the dog for a long walk. It has to take care of its needs – those physiological and those associated with exploring, sniffing, and meeting other dogs.
It will be easier for him to bear an exciting moment. Our calmness is necessary to maintain a friendly atmosphere, and if we have doubts about the dog’s behavior, we can make a barrier from our hands to set the limit of approaching the child. It’s good to do all this while sitting – then the dog will not have to jump to see something.
Do not allow your child to mistreat your dog
Children establish relations with the dog at an early time. Sometimes good behavior comes easily – some children intuitively know how to pet a dog and correctly read their intentions, and others need more time and gentle coaching.
Remember to always supervise children’s contact with the animal. Teach your child how to handle animals. React if you notice that your child is behaving improperly towards the dog.
Taking the dog’s favorite toy, pulling the tail or ears, stroking the dog when he does not want it, or trying to force interaction on a dog who does not feel like interacting with the child are situations that you cannot allow to happen.
Conversation plays a key role here. You must explain to the child that the dog feels discomfort and pain, just like people do.
Dog and child – a relationship under your control
The basis of a child’s contact with a dog should always be safety. A toddler cannot pose a threat to a quadruped and vice versa. Therefore, never leave your child alone with the animal. Control their joint play and intervene if the child behaves inadequately towards the pet or stop playing and take the child away if you notice that the dog sends signals like yawning or crutching the ears.
Remember not to shout or scold the dog. Behaviorists, dog trainers, and veterinarians recommend that you never do this. There are much more effective methods of working with a quadruped based on positive reinforcement. It will help if you use those methods because a toddler learns by imitating his parents.
Dogs don’t like sudden changes to their environment. That is why it is necessary to familiarize your pet with the accessories and clothes of a new family member to prepare him for the upcoming revolution.
It is important that the dog accepts the new conditions and acquires necessary skills that will improve the quality of life of all household members. The truth is that the more rules you can introduce before the baby arrives, the easier it will be for you to go through the most challenging weeks. We hope that it will turn out that the dog loves a new family member at first sight.