Pet Behavior Topics

Expecting Moms

If your household currently includes a dog or puppy and you’re going to be adding a human newborn to the family, you’ll be wise to get your dog used to the unusual sights, sounds & smells BEFORE the newborn arrives.

 

(If your newborn is already home, just go directly to the "After Baby’s Arrival" section below - but read the first section here anyway; it’ll help you to understand your dog’s perspective a bit better):

 

Prior to Birth (throughout pregnancy, or as far ahead of birth/arrival as possible):

Play a recorded tape of a baby crying at varying times during the day, evening & night. Start at lower volume and gradually work up over the days or weeks to a louder, realistic volume. Stay calm, go about your business as usual, and start also going into the "baby’s room", acting like you are taking care of the baby. You should also feed and play with dog while this tape is playing so that he begins to associate good things and fun times with this sound, rather than stress, isolation or punishment.

 

Play with noise-producing baby toys and related items (rattles, music boxes, etc.) while occasionally treating dog with tiny pieces of his favorite treats.

 

Introduce any other baby-related items and activities in a positive manner (with praise & treats) to dog, i.e., the smell of baby lotion, act like you’re changing a diaper.

Practice walking your dog while pushing a baby carriage. Yes, your neighbors might think you’re crazy but it’ll help a LOT after the baby comes. You might consider purchasing a Halti or Gentle Leader collar for your dog if he pulls on the leash. Better yet: Teach him to heel (see next point)

 

heel, lie down and come on command. We offer several classes to suit your needs.

 

After the baby’s arrival:

Before the baby comes home, place the newborn’s unlaundered swaddling cloths (from hospital on the first few days) around your dog’s food bowl so that he starts to associate the baby’s smell with good things like dinner.

 

Ignore the dog when baby is not present; give your dog love & attention only when baby is present - This may seem silly and/or difficult ­ and it’s exactly the opposite of what most people do ­ but if your dog starts to believe that good things only happen when the baby IS around, he’ll be very happy to see the baby. If he starts to believe that he gets ignored and/or yelled at, put in his crate, chided, or punished when the baby is around, he won’t be happy to see the baby and you could be asking for problems. Ignore the dog when the baby is around, and treat & praise & pet him when the baby IS around. Makes sense after you think about it, doesn’t it?