How to Introduce Dogs and Babies

If a family has offspring, the dog is often initially deregistered. So that the previous center does not become jealous of the baby, owners should get used to the upcoming changes as early as possible. The biggest mistake parents-to-be and dog owners make is when they confront the animal with the new family member without warning.

Maintain position in the pack

Long walks with masters, cuddling with mistresses in the evening   dogs like to spend as much time as possible with their people. A baby brings a lot of turmoil to what has been a perfect relationship. It is particularly important that the dog does not feel the change so drastically, says Elke Deininger from the Academy for Animal Welfare. “When the baby is here, the dog should be treated in the same way as before,” says the veterinarian from Munich.

If a dog has always been allowed to sleep in the bed, owners should continue to allow it. In addition, the stroking should not suddenly be reduced to a minimum, advises the expert. “It is important that the dog always associates the child with something positive.” For it to get used to its presence, you can let the dog sniff the child for a quiet minute. Meanwhile, owners can give their dogs plenty of affection to reassure them that their position in the family is not at risk.

Young parents should not suddenly act stressed and annoyed in the presence of the dog. “If the mother has her baby in her arms but bitches the dog because he’s standing in the way, that’s a very negative signal for the animal,” explains Deininger. A dog should be present as often as possible when its people are interacting with the baby. Excluding the four-legged friend from joint activities and devoting all your attention to the child is the worst possible way. Fortunately, there are always cases of “love at first sight”, in which dogs show the baby nothing but affection and care.

Preparing for the baby

“Sensitive dogs naturally already notice during pregnancy that something is up,” says Martina Pluda from the animal welfare organization Four Paws. “There are animals that then become particularly caring towards the mother-to-be. Others, on the other hand, are afraid of being deprived of love and then sometimes take specific actions to attract attention.”

Anyone who prepares in advance for the new situation with the dog and baby will have fewer problems afterward. If there are small children in the family, the dog can play with them more often under the supervision and thus get to know childlike behavior.

It also makes sense to prepare the dog for the new smells and noises. For example, if you play recordings of typical baby noises while the animal is playing or getting a treat, it associates the sounds with something nice and gets used to them straight away. Another good tip is to apply baby oil or baby powder to your skin from time to time. Because these smells will dominate in the first few months after birth. If the baby has already been born but is still in the hospital, you can also bring worn clothes home and give them to the dog to sniff. If sniffing is combined with a treat, the dog will quickly perceive the baby as something positive.

It is also advisable to practice walking the dog and stroller before the baby is born. In this way, the animal can learn to trot alongside the pram without pulling on the leash or stopping to sniff.

Signal security

People often struggle with their dog’s overly protective instincts. Anyone who tries to approach the baby is barked at mercilessly. This is not an unnatural reaction for a dog. Many dogs have an innate motivation to care for their offspring that can also transfer to humans. But the expert also has advice: “If, for example, a family friend wants to hold the baby in their arms, the owner can sit next to the dog and pet it.”

If a dog barks at a visitor, it is doing so because it wants to protect its pack. And he only does that when he believes that his pack is not in control of the situation, explains dog trainer Sonja Gerberding. However, if he experiences his people as safe and confident, he is relaxed. But friends and acquaintances should also pay attention to a few things. If the dog was always greeted first, this tradition should be continued after the birth of a child.

But even if the relationship between dog and baby is optimal: you should never make the animal the sole babysitter. Parents or an adult supervisor must be present at all times.

Ava Williams

Written by Ava Williams

Hello, I'm Ava! I have been writing professionally for just over 15 years. I specialize in writing informative blog posts, breed profiles, pet care product reviews, and pet health and care articles. Prior to and during my work as a writer, I spent about 12 years in the pet care industry. I have experience as a kennel supervisor and professional groomer. I also compete in dog sports with my own dogs. I also have cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

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