How to Get Your Dog Ready for a Baby: It’s Hard Work, but Worth It.
Assuming you don’t want to go to any extremes (like giving away your dog or locking it away in a secluded room for the rest of its life), there are some practical solutions that can go a long way to keeping your dog/baby situation nightmare-free.
And I think it goes without saying, but the difficulty of actually implementing these solutions will depend on the temperament of your dog.
If your dog can be a maniac (like ours), this is going to require a bit more work.
1) Start training before the baby is born.
People tend to be reactive by nature, only dealing with the problems once they surface. That can be OK, but you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches by stopping the issues before they spiral of out of control.
Chances are, you will already know your dog’s problematic behavior before your baby is born. You’ve seen how your dog reacts around other people, and maybe even other people’s children.
We’ve had issues with our dog when we’re out on a walk and he sees a little kid walking with a parent…and proceeds to approach the kid like it’s another dog (or something non-human).
Jumping on adults is annoying, but jumping on little kids (or worse, babies) can be dangerous. This is definitely an area we’re heavily focused on with our dog, and changing the behavior has really been a challenge.
In addition to the link above (which has some great pointers), here’s a video that gives some tips for teaching a dog to stop jumping on people:
Even if the dog is just playing, a dog that bites frequently can be extremely dangerous around a child or infant. Children aside, this is probably a behavior you’d want to correct anyway for your own well-being.
In addition to the link above, here’s a video that gives some tips for teaching a dog to stop biting:
It takes a lot of effort and dedication to really change your dog’s behavior, but it’ll pay off when all is said and done.
The bottom line is, you can eliminate a huge percentage of your dog/baby concerns by simply preventing them from ever occurring in the first place.
2) Learn to control the space with a baby doll.
You can teach your dog to stop jumping on you and biting you, but introducing a baby creates an entirely new scenario for your dog.
How often has your dog seen you caring for another small creature? Carrying it? Feeding it?
Although you may feel you have control over normal everyday scenarios with your dog, controlling the space with a baby will likely be a different situation.
Here are some tips for making this work:
- Carry around a swaddled baby doll around the house; talk to it like you would a baby – in front of your dog, that is. (If your dog isn’t around, you will look like an insane person.)
- Begin practicing walking your dog with a stroller (with the baby doll in the stroller). If anyone you know stops you and is petrified when they see that the baby is still inside you and the stroller is devoid of life, feel free to point out that this is simply a dog training exercise.
And, as usual, I like to show video demonstration – check it out below: