Dogs and Babies

Dogs and Babies

As a Mum with a young family, I know first hand what it is like to manage dogs and children, fortunately, with good training, walking dogs with young children and a pram, or letting the older children help with the walking are things that are part of our normal life. The kids can play in the backyard without being knocked over by an over exuberant dog, or jump on the trampoline without trouble. We also have our dogs in the home with the kids, however, supervision is always first and foremost, dogs and children can make mistakes.

If you need help with preparing your dog for a new baby, or already have children and dogs, here are some basic tips for you to follow.

Tips for helping your dog adjust to a new baby:

Preparation – think about any issues you have with your dog and get help to resolve them before baby arrives.

Labour/Birth – some women can labour for a long while (it’s ok – you can do it, you will be great!!). If you will be in hospital during your labour, or staying for a few days after birth, do you have someone who will help walk and feed your dog while you are away from home or do you need to organize this? If you are having a homebirth – is there another member of your household or a family member or friend who can help out?

Routines – quite often our dogs are used to a set routine. Babies and household routines don’t always go to plan and it can take time to settle or feed a baby. Start varying your dog’s routine in the lead up to baby and see how your dog adjusts to getting walked or fed at different times of day. If any issues arise from these changes to routine, you will have time to address them.

Training – A well trained dog is much easier to manage when out and about with your baby, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Start by teaching your dog a simple sit command and asking your dog to hold that command for a minute or two, and working your way up to a reliable drop and hold under distraction is great.

Manners – good manners in a dog are important. Start by teaching your dog to wait politely for an invitation before joining you on the couch, and also for your dog to be ok with sometimes not being invited onto the couch (or bed – which reminds me – of a 6th tip)

Sleeping arrangements – at some point, the studies tell us, most new parents will bring baby into bed with them. This is not safe if there is an animal in the bed. If your dog is sleeping in your bed you can help your dog to learn that it is ok to sleep on a special dog bed on the floor, or in another room, before your baby arrives. Only being allowed onto the bed when invited (or not at all) means that you won’t be trying to teach your dog this change while you are caring for a new baby.

If you already have children, it is never too late to implement training and behavioural modification for your dog and these tips are a great place to start.

Talk to us about how we can help you to help your dog be confident and happy at home!