Are you are preparing to welcome a new addition to your family in Dayton, Ohio? If so, congratulations!
There is so much to do as you ponder choosing a name, decorating the nursery and getting some extra sleep. Here's another very important step: Make sure you prepare your pup for the changes coming to your Dayton household.
Familiarize your pet to new objects and noises
Dogs are creatures of habit, and some dogs get very anxious when something changes in their environment. Preparing your dog for changes several weeks prior to your baby’s arrival can give them time to acclimate to the foreign noises and objects that accompany having a little one in the home. For example, try to get your dog comfortable ahead of time with the sounds of a crying baby. If you have family or friends who have babies or young children, invite them over so that your pup can experience being around young children. Introducing the sounds along with changes in furniture or restricted areas can also prevent your dog from creating a negative association with your baby and all the “scary” new things.
Introduce your dog to baby items like a stroller, car seat or crib. Let them sniff around and get comfortable with these new objects. If possible, take a walk with the stroller, so they can get used to it moving.
You may also want to start playing some calming music in your home to help them relax. There will be plenty of new sounds once the baby arrives, so this can help desensitize them in advance.
After baby is born but before you bring your new addition home, send a blanket baby has been wrapped in home for your dog to sniff, so your pup gets familiar with the new scent.
Create a dog safe (kid free) zone
Once your baby becomes mobile, create a kid-free zone that your pup can escape to.
While your dog may be very patient with a toddler climbing, fur grabbing and sticky fingers in the ears and nose, it can get a bit exhausting. Create a spot in your house that your dog can escape to for some “me time” away from your child. This is your pup's personal kid-free zone. This should be a location your toddler can’t get to. This could be a crate or designated room where they can go to escape the commotion of a new baby in the house. You can use "fencing," a baby gate and even furniture to set up a separate area that you can keep your child out of. Just make sure your dog can freely enter and exit.
Reward your pet for using the spot and restrict access by your child. This way your fur baby has a place to go to when they have simply had enough for the day.
Teach your dog to distinguish between toys
Bringing off limits stuffed toys into the household can be confusing for your spoiled, toy-loving canine. They've been the master of toy demolition for years and suddenly can no longer conquer this task with every toy. Work on managing the environment, by removing baby toys or creating separation, again with fencing or baby gates, from the baby area and dog area. Once you enter toddler stage, this can be challenging, so make sure your dog has a good assortment of highly desired toys and reward them when they choose correctly. When your pup chooses an off-limits toy, lure them with a dog toy to help establish a distinction.
Set clear expectations (for family and Fido)
Get everyone on board with the same rules and expectations for how your dog should behave around the new addition to the family. This will help avoid any confusion or mixed signals down the road.
Make the most of family time
Don't neglect your dog once the baby arrives. They're still part of the family, and your four-legged family member will learn to love your baby if you are sure to include them. Let your dog lie near you when you rock baby. Take walks as a family. Spend time playing and simply being together as a whole family, including your furry pal.
Get some help
Finally, be sure to ask for help. Even though you'll take your pooch along when you and baby go for a stroll, it may be harder to fit in longer, regular walks. If you no longer have time for those jaunts, it may be time to hire a dog walker. Your pup may enjoy some time away to socialize with other pooches at one of our Cincinnati area dog parks.
If you’re worried about how your dog and baby will get along or if there are concerns after baby arrives, don’t hesitate to talk to your vet or get help from a professional trainer in the Cincinnati area.
Your back yard can be a great haven for your pooch. If you have a fenced yard, you can let your pup out to play (and poop) without needing constant supervision. But then you have to clean up that poop, so the backyard is a haven for the rest of the family too! DoodyCalls of Dayton can help. We know you are busier now than ever. We'll scoop the poop, and you can spend your time on the stuff that matters,
The earlier you start preparing your dog for the arrival of a new baby, the better.