Introducing a New Baby to Your Dog

By: Connie Limon

Before your baby arrives, imagine what your dog’s behavior might be around an infant.

Plan your schedule. Dogs like routine. Establish a schedule for your dog before the baby arrives and stick to it.

Schedule should include:

1. Walking times.
2. Play periods.
3. Mealtimes
4. Anything else you can think of.

You might be too tired to walk the dog early in the morning after being up and down all night with the new baby. You might want to change the walk time with your dog before the baby arrives. You may need to arrange with a friend to help with the dog just after the baby’s arrival. Maybe a teenager would like a few extra dollars for walking your dog. You might not ever need the help, but it is wise to plan ahead in case you do. The planning, of course, is great for your dog, but it is more for your own personal comfort.

A dog on a routine and well exercised is less likely to be competitive of the new baby. The dog on a routine may also be less demanding of your attention.

Your baby is going to be napping on the couch or lying on the bed. Teach your dog to stay on the floor unless invited up with a clear command.

Watch your words! For your dog’s whole life before the baby he has probably heard things like: “what a good little boy.” You have taught him certain words are just for him. Now the baby arrives. You say something like: “mommy’s good little boy.” The dog suddenly runs up for you to pet him. You push him away. The dog becomes confused. Avoid the confusion by developing some new key phrases for your dog and only the dog. Make this change as soon as possible.

Games in the house: If you have played ball with your dog in the house he will most likely jump over about anything to get to the ball you threw out. With a baby or a toddler in the house as well, these types of games are best outdoors. An unpredictable bounce of a ball can lead to an unanticipated pounce on baby by the dog.

Be careful about giving your dog extra attention because you know that soon a baby will be in the house and you might not have as much time to spend with your dog. Dogs get use to the extra attention really quick. When the attention has to be suddenly shifted to the new baby, it is unfair to the dog and sets a stage for competition between the dog and the baby. A good rule to begin to follow before the baby arrives is no more than ten minutes of attention per hour when you are home.

You want your baby’s arrival to be a welcome event. Speak kindly to the dog as you to into the baby’s room. Include the dog in what you are doing whenever possible. Be extra warm and kind to the dog when he is around the baby or toddler, and the rest of the time, in the beginning sort of ignores the dog. He will associate time around the baby as being an enjoyable time for everyone.

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Connie Limon is a Shih Tzu breeder. She publishes a FREE weekly newsletter. Sign up at Stain Glass Shih Tzu. Designer Dog Clothes are offered at:

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