So you already have a dog, but just found out you are having a baby. What do you do? How do you prepare the dog for the new addition to the family, and ensure that the interactions will be safe? While some of your fears regarding this issue may be justified, for the most part, a dog’s natural instinct is to protect and care for a baby, and often, babies and dogs make the most adorable pair of best friends ever, but here are some basic things to consider when introducing both a dog and a baby to the same space.
First things first, you need to respect the space of whomever came first, so if you are introducing the newborn baby to a dog you have an already established relationship with, it is a smart idea to let the dog know the baby is coming, because the one genuine risk here is that the dog will be getting less attention, based solely on how much attention a newborn requires, and this will sadden the dog. So how do you let the dog know a baby is coming? Believe it or not, simple steps like having a small doll around, and giving the doll attention in front of the dog can make a huge difference in preparing the dog for this new addition to the family. Think about it, if the dog got all your attention, and suddenly it sees that its not as a result of the baby, the dog may get depressed or lethargic, which can be harmful to the dog’s actual health. With a doll around, in your lap a few times a week, the dog will know that this attention is not abnormal because it has been exposed to it and gotten used to it.
Another thing to think about is where the dog and baby will be interacting. Is there space set aside? You want to make sure you are there, but give them a little space to discover each other. Obviously, you want to ensure you have a relationship with the dog so you know its natural tendencies. Obviously, you don’t want to bring a baby around a vicious breed, but in the same breath, breeds are rarely vicious, owners sometimes are. Even Pitbulls were once nanny dogs, mainly used in assisting with infants.
And on a final note, if you have am excitable dog, train it away from jumping and leaping on things, because the one risk you may run is the dog getting too excited and potentially knocking over the baby by jumping near it. But even then, the fear is mostly unfounded, because it would be surprising how even the most massive breeds turn into perfect babysitters around the infant of someone they love. Put your fears to bed, because if you raise a good dog, and raise good children, their interactions will be like something out of a cartoon, both adorable AND rewarding.