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Tips on Introducing Your Baby to The Family Dog

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Dogs and babies, how to make it work

Your dog is part of the family and to this point has been the only baby in the house. But now they're going to have some company, and that company will take up a lot of time attention dog used to receive



There are two phases to introducing the dog to the new baby, those being Before and After you bring home the new bundle of joy



BEFORE BRINGING HOME BABY

  • Come up with a training plan to ensure the dog has the skills necessary to meet the baby and handle the new schedule, experiences, sounds, and activity

  • Make sure the dog has basic obedience skills mastered like sit, stay, leave, drop, and get down.

  • Introduce your pet to new sounds, activities, and toys.  Teach the dog what toys are and are not theirs.

  • Change the routine at least a month before baby comes home.  Such as feeding, going out, waking up, going to sleep
  • Teach the dog any off limits areas such as the baby's room

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, practice, practice, practice! If your dog just doesnt seem to be learning the necessary skills, get professional help at a local training facility or shelter that provides obedience training


AFTER BRINGING HOME BABY

  • You never get a 2nd chance to make a FIRST IMPRESSION.  This has never been more true than when dog meets baby for the first time.  Make sure the first interaction occurs in a calm, quiet, and safe place.  The dog is going to be excited, but make sure it is a positive, curious excitement and not one of defense or aggression.

  • Leash and restrain the dog after the first few moments of interaction.  Safety first!

  • ALL IS WELL!  Remain calm, free from anxiety, and exuding confidence (be the alpha) during the initial interaction.  If someone is excessively nervous or anxious, either wait to do the intro, or politely ask them to wait in another room. A little nerves and anxiety are perfectly normal, but taken to an extreme, outwardly noticeable extent, the dog will pick up on this and react accordingly

  • POSITIVE ASSOCIATIONS - Maintain positive experiences during the times when the baby and dog interact.  Lots of petting/cuddling, shared attention, and rewards after the time spent together.  Don't just ignore the dog when the baby is in the room.

  • PRACTICE the obedience commands, tips, and skills that you put into place before the baby came home

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, if you notice any aggression or misunderstanding on the dogs part of what the baby is (i.e., whats that new squeaky toy crawling around?), get professional help IMMEDIATELY.  Find a trainer or local group that specializes in this type of training.  And obviously, keep the dog separated from the baby until a proper level of training has been reached

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