It is important to take the time and prepare your pet for when your new baby arrives, to stop problems down the road before they even start. There are a few steps that you can take beforehand to help ease the transition along, especially when the baby you are bringing home is your first, and your pet has been used to being the center of attention.
Before the new baby comes homes, get your pet to your family veterinarian to make sure that all shots and vaccines are up-to-date. You may want to consider having your pet either neutered or spayed, if it is not already. This can help stop any aggressive behavior that your pet has displayed. Talk to your vet about any of your concerns about your new baby and your pet to get suggestions.
Start any changes in routine with your pet before the baby is born. Determine what will change, such as feeding schedules, play time and outside routines, such as walks. For example, if your dog is used to taking a walk at a certain time, but this will change once the baby comes, try changing their schedule now. This will get them used to their new schedule before the baby comes, so that things stay close to the same once the baby is actually in the house.
Any behavioral problems must be addressed before the baby is born. An obedience class may be a big help to train your pet, especially if the animal is not used to simple commands. A pet that is used to jumping on people and one that doesn’t follow basic orders can be hazardous to a newborn in the house. Make sure that your dog is able to follow commands such as sit, lay down, stay and heel before the baby comes.
Have your pet around other children as much as possible before the baby comes, so that it feels at home with babies and young kids. Take your pet out to areas where there are other kids to get him used to the idea of children, and carefully allow kids to gave close interaction with your pet. You may even want to invite friends or family over who have babies or young children so that they can interact with your animal within the confines of your own home.
Before the baby is born, allow your pet to go into the nursery and sniff around. Make sure your pet knows that he is not allowed in the babies crib, or allowed to jump on any furniture in the room. When the baby is born, you may want your significant other or other family member to bring home an item of the babies for your pet to smell. This way, your pet will become familiar with the baby’s scent before he or she comes home. You may also try playing a CD of a baby making sounds so that the pet becomes familiar with these new noises before hand. A newborn’s loud cry can startle a dog, so get him used to it beforehand.
When you come home with the baby, many experts suggest letting another family member bring the baby into the house, so that the new parents can greet the pet first, to alleviate jealously. Give your pet lots of praise when he is being good around the baby. Make sure to spend time with your pet, too, so he does not get too jealous of your time with the baby. Of course, this is easier said than done with a newborn, but it is an essential part of being a pet owner.
Patience and positive reinforcement is the key to training your pet to be around your new baby. In time, you can train your pet to be comfortable around your new addition, and in no time they will become the best of friends!