Congratulations! But it’s my job to think of your dog. Many dogs get pushed into the background once a child comes onto the scene. The dog doesn’t understand, and in the worst case scenario can become aggressive towards the child.
A few suggestions on what to do?
Make a list of what you want your dog to do and not to do when the baby arrives at least four months before due date. Start training these behaviours or implementing changes straight away.
- Teach your dog to let you go through doors first. Teach it to sit – you walk through and then call dog through.
- Train your dog to station on a mat by: ‘On your mat’, ‘yes’, reward and then give a release word –‘free’ before it can leave the position. Move back further and wait longer before releasing your dog. Always return to your dog before releasing from their station until they get really good at it.
- Lay a baby quilt on the floor and teach the dog that it’s not to go onto it. If there are any other no go zones, train the dog about them NOW not when the baby is already there.
- Get a recording of a baby crying – maybe on YouTube. PLAY REGULARLY to desensitise dog to sound.
- Train you dog not to lick.
- Train your dog to walk nicely NEXT TO the baby pram.
- Where does your dog sit in the car? If it is where the baby capsule will be – train to go in a different spot.
- If your dog is allowed on your bed now – decide if you still want this when your baby arrives.
- Bring an item that the baby has been in contact with before baby comes home from hospital – let your dog smell it. Do the same with clothing that mum has worn while breast feeding your baby.
- Let your dog smell baby when you bring it home while your child is on your lap. Praise dog for nice calm behaviour.
- Allow your dog to interact with you as always and include it in walks and other activities.
- Get your dog used to other people coming up to the pram when baby is in it i.e. Reward your dog when someone comes up to pram. This will stop the dog from becoming protective.
- Ensure that your dog is wormed regularly.
- Maintain normal routines that your dog is used to e.g. walks and play. Don’t change the dog’s whole life just because you have had a baby.
- Pay your dog attention as you always did –don’t ignore that it is there.
- Be patient with your dog – this is a huge change in its life.