Bringing home a new baby is a happy and exciting time for most people but it can be a confusing time for your dog. If this is your first child then your dog may not have any experience around babies. Here are some things to consider when you introduce a new baby to your dog.
Before You Bring The Baby Home
There are two differing schools of thought about how you should treat your dog regarding the impending arrival of a new baby. One viewpoint is that as you prepare your baby’s room and bring the baby’s new things into the home, you should keep your dog at a distance. Don’t let the dog in the baby’s room and keep him away from the baby’s clothing, toys, and other belongings. The other viewpoint suggests that you should allow the dog into the baby’s room as you prepare it and let the dog sniff the clothing and toys.
Likewise, after the baby is born, one view suggests that you should not allow the dog to sniff anything that belongs to the baby up-close. The other view suggests that you should bring a blanket that the baby has been wrapped in home from the hospital and allow the dog to smell it so the dog can perhaps understand that there is a baby and it is somehow part of the family.
These views are so fundamentally different that it’s not possible to reconcile them. What is true is that babies are precious and they need to be treated with great care. A dog in the home, especially if there are no other children and this is a dog’s first experience with a baby, may be confused and jealous. He may see the baby as a rival for your love and attention. Some dogs seem to understand that the baby is a part of the family while other dogs resent a new baby. It can take a very long time for some dogs to accept a new baby into the home.
Perhaps it’s best for you to follow your intuition about how to handle your dog when it comes to preparing for the new baby. You can show your dog the baby’s room and the baby’s clothing and things and try to include the dog in your preparations but keep in mind that your dog may be jealous of the new baby. Try to continue to show your dog plenty of attention and spend time with him so he won’t feel left out.
After You Bring The Baby Home
When you bring your new baby home you should not allow your dog to get too close to him or her, especially at first. You may have a desire to show the baby to your dog but it’s not a good idea to put a baby at face level for a dog. Your dog has an excellent sense of smell and he can smell the baby from across the room and will know all about the baby from there.
Once the baby is home it’s best if you make the baby’s room off-limits to your dog. As terrible as it is to think about, there have been cases where beloved family pets have harmed babies. It’s better for you to be safe than sorry and keep your dog out of the baby’s room.
You should never leave your baby alone with the dog. Do not leave small children alone with dogs. Children should always be supervised with dogs until they are old enough to know how to treat dogs. Accidents can and do occur. Dogs often don’t respect children. They are small and dogs know that children have no power in the family. There can also be jealousy and resentment between the dog and the child. So, do not leave your dog alone with a baby or a small child and always supervise when your children play with a dog. For instance, if your toddler tries to pick up the dog’s toy, the dog could snap at the child or bite. Things such as this can happen very quickly and your child could have a serious injury.
After you bring your new baby home it’s important for you to continue to show love and attention to your dog. Include him in things your family does. You can even include him in things you do with the baby. Your dog should eventually accept the baby as part of the family.