If your best friend happens to be of the furry, canine variety, you might be a little worried about bringing a baby into your family. Even the best-trained dogs can be unpredictable, which leads to one big question – “Can I have a baby and own a dog, too?”
It’s not impossible to have the best of both worlds, as long as you take a few precautionary measures. Here are five tips for creating a safe space for you, your pet and your newborn.
1. Consider an obedience class.
Some of your dog’s current habits won’t be acceptable once the baby is around, such as jumping on people or playing too rough. Think about signing your dog up for an obedience class to get the “kinks” out of his system.
2. Let you dog check out the baby’s belongings.
Give your dog a chance to sniff the baby’s items – clothing, crib and stroller – to create familiarity. Afterward, clean off these items before re-introducing them to your child.
3. Reward good behavior.
Your dog is bound to make a few mistakes, especially if he’s never been around infants. However, it’s important to reward his good behavior when you see it. For instance, you might want to give him a treat when he sits instead of rushing you as you walk in the door. Positive reinforcement can keep the good behavior intact.
4. Arrange a one-on-one introduction.
Your baby should have a positive introduction to your dog right from the start. Introduce the two of them in a quiet, calm area where the dog can begin to pick up the scent, movements and general behavior of the baby. You may want to have a second person on hand to hold the dog on a leash to prevent any incidents.
5. Give your dog his own space.
Because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your child, you may want to designate an area for your dog to relax while you’re busy. Lay out a blanket or a pillow for him to use – create a “retreat” for him to relax while you’re taking care of familial matters. Provide him with a few toys to stay occupied while you’re nursing or changing diapers.
6. Don’t rush for a winning photo.
We all see the Facebook pictures of our friends’ babies, lounging next to dogs that are twice the size of the infants. However, it’s important to avoid the temptation to take similar snapshots of your own. Due to the size difference and unpredictability of your pet, your infant could be harmed when placed too close to the animal.
Having a baby can change the entire dynamic of your household, but it doesn’t have to create chaos. These tips can help you begin to create bonds between you and your child that last a lifetime.
In the event that your pet does not immediately adapt to life with your child, you may want to keep the dog in a separate area of the home until it receives professional training. Baby gates are optimal tools for creating temporary boundaries between your infant and your pet.
Share This Blog