And baby makes 4: Tips to help you avoid “sibling” rivalry with your dog

It’s easy to find a great deal of information about how to prepare your older child for when a new baby comes home, but what about when the “baby” in the house is of the four legged kind?  We turned to the professionals and found out that there were several things we could do to prepare our dog for the new baby in our life.

  • Make sure your pet has received all the appropriate immunizations and you may wish to talk to your veterinarian regarding any special ones that your dog may need to protect your pet and you baby.
  • Some experts recommend spaying or neutering your dog prior to baby’s arrival.  Doing so can minimize aggressive and/or exuberant behavior and some studies have found that it may actually keep your dog healthier by preventing health problems associated with their reproductive systems. Consult with your vet to see if this is recommended for your dog.
  • There is more to getting baby’s room ready than paint samples and swatches.  Introduce your dog to the changes in the room and allow him to sniff around.
  • Do not allow your pet to jump up on the crib, playpen or cradle.  It’s easier to train them now then later, especially smaller size dogs that may be used to jumping on your bed and now you have a crib or cradle next to it.
  • Prepare your pet for babies arrival by allowing them to see the new items that are going to be a normal part of everyday – such as diapers and blankets and make sure they understand that they are not toys or to be chewed on.
  • You may want to consider training classes.  You can either consult a trainer (Visit the Association of Pet Dog Trainers –APDT for one near you), the human society or local pet stores to find one for your dog.  It is very important that your dog respond every time to the commands of sit, stay, down, to stay off the couch and other furniture while you are sitting on it, and to “go to their rooms.” Make sure you provide your pet with lots of love and affection as well as treats for each and every accomplishment.
  • Decide in advance if your dog will be home while you are in the hospital or kenneled.  You don’t want to leave your dog home alone for long periods of time while your husband or family are visiting or staying with you in the hospital.
  • Bring home one of the blankets from the hospital that your baby has been wrapped up in so your pet can become used to the scent of a new baby. It’s not just baby smells that will be unfamiliar but also baby powder and other baby products.  Leave the blanket where the dog can access it and watch to see if they do become aggressive with it as it could mean trouble for you later.
  • Start using baby powder, baby oil or baby shampoo as part of your beauty routine.  This will help your dog become used to the scent and associated it with you, not just the change in routine and the baby.
  • After baby’s arrival, be sure to keep an eye on the trash and diaper pail.  Some dogs love the smell of dirty diapers, and mine would knock over the trash to be able to pull dirty diapers out and tear them apart.
  • When mom comes home from the hospital it’s hard not to get caught up in the oohing and ahhing of bay, but a new mom should make sure to ooh and aahhh over the dog too.  Take time to greet your dog and give him some extra love and treats.  Baby will be okay with dad for a few minutes and this makes sure that your “other” baby doesn’t feel left out.
  • I found a “doggie” shirt useful for when I was petting my dog or giving him an extra snuggle.  I could easily take it off and not have to worry about transferring dirt or dog hair to the baby. Of course washing hands after petting is essential.
  • Make a recording of baby crying, cooing and laughing.  With my first baby every time the baby cried he would howl long and load adding not only to the deafening noise level but also to the baby’s distress.  The next time round (12 months later) we found that apparently he had become accustomed to the sounds of baby so I highly recommend this step!
  • Try to stick to your regular routine. If you dog is used to being let out first thing in the morning when you make the coffee try to stick to the same scheduled.  There may be some adjustments but keeping a schedule makes sure that your dog does not feel left out or (gasp!) actually get forgotten in the rush of making a bottle for baby.
  • If close friends or family members have pets and they will be caring for baby or you will be visiting there often you may want to suggest some of these tips for them to use to get their dog used to having a baby in the house.

As the whole family prepares for the arrival of a new baby, using this tips can make sure that your pet isn’t left out in the “cold” of your affection.  These tips can help you make sure that the arrival of a new baby doesn’t leave your dog feeling jealous or unloved.  Remember in just a few short months baby will be moving about the house and you want to try to make sure that your beloved pet doesn’t become just man’s or mamma’s best friend but baby’s too.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply