Top tips when bringing a new baby home
Its a very exciting time bringing a new baby home, however it can be very confusing and scary to a dog. Children and dogs can have wonderful relationships but they need a strong foundation to start. When introductions aren't carried out correctly accidents can happen. First meetings need to be a positive but safe experience. Following these simply steps can help ease the transition.
Please note that this is general advice and for dogs that haven't shown any fear or aggression towards children or babies in the past. If this is the case, please contact your local behaviourist for help.
1, Ask someone to bring home an item from the hospital which has the babies scent on it. The dog is to be rewarded with tasty treats and verbal praise when smelling the item. This will be the very start of building positive associations with the scent.
2, When arriving home with the baby, mum should greet the dog in her usual manner and give the dog verbal praise and treats when he sniffs the around where she has been holding the baby.
3, Keeping the baby at a safe height, the dog should be allowed to smell all around the area of the baby, again giving treats and praise. Keep calling your dog away from the baby for a quick time out before he goes back for another sniff.
4, When feeding the baby, hand feed the dog at the same time if possible. A tasty chew on the floor near where the baby is being fed is an alternative
5, Invite the dog to follow you into different rooms, when changing the baby for example, and allow him to investigate all the smells and sounds in a positive manner.
6, Make sure that the dog is allowed 'mummy time' away from the baby so he has full attention.
7, If the dog has previously been allowed on sofa's and beds, this can continue providing the dog settles.
8, Consider using stair gates should the dog need to be separated for any reason, rather than shutting the door on the dog.
9, Whilst the dog is getting used to the new family member and their strange noises, reward the dog with a tasty treat when the baby cries until he becomes accustomed to it.
10, Keep the dog well exercised.
Most importantly never shout, hit or punish a dog for investigating the new baby as as this will only cause your dog to develop bad association towards him/her.