Your dog is like a child to you. But when you bring a new baby into the family, it can be a confusing time for your pet. The home environment will suddenly feel unfamiliar to them, and they likely won’t receive the same amount of attention they used to.
To help ease this transition and create a healthy relationship between your dog and your baby, it’s important to approach the situation smartly:
Dogs are very smell-oriented animals. And babies have an unusual smell that they won’t be accustomed to. Before you bring your new baby home for the first time, it can be a good idea to take something containing your baby’s smell – such as a burp cloth – to the house, to familiarize your dog with your baby’s scent. It’s important to only let your dog sniff the item while you are holding it.
Adjusting to new sounds
Loud, shrill sounds can be alarming to dogs. The unfamiliar sound of a baby crying may cause your dog to be scared or worried. It can be helpful to get your dog prepared for this new type of noise. You can try playing recordings of crying baby sounds while petting and soothing your dog, to help them learn that this noise is normal.
Bringing the right energy
When you first introduce your dog to your baby, it’s important to mirror the energy you want your dog to have around your baby. Dogs are very sensitive to our emotions, and they will often try to mimic how we are behaving. You want to avoid being stiff and nervous, and you also want to avoid being overly excited or animated. Move slowly and maintain a calm, gentle tone of voice.
Dogs often lash out when they feel threatened or scared. Helping them to understand that your baby is a friend – not a threat – is an important first step to establishing a healthy relationship.