There comes a time in many a dog’s life, when he finds himself being upstaged by the addition of a new baby to the family. If your dog has been the focus of all your attention, he may be somewhat surprised to find that he is will be sharing the limelight with this new, little biped. Preparing him in advance will help lessen any anxiety he may feel in the face of the many changes that will inevitably take place.
Steps can be taken well in advance of the event itself. If your dog already knows the basics (sit, stay, down, come when called) this is a good time for a refresher course. If your dog does not know these basics yet, this is the time to get started.
Because your schedule, and therefore your dog’s, is likely to change drastically, begin to mix it up a bit. For instance, if you have always walked him in the evening, start to walk him in the morning or afternoon.
If your dog’s dinner has always been served punctually at 6 P.M., now would be a good time to start to switch that up a bit as well. You will in the beginning be at the beck and call of your new baby. Fido’s dinner schedule may have to be shifted.
As your baby becomes more mobile you will probably want to move his food and water bowls out of baby’s reach. It is a good idea to do that before baby’s arrival so that he doesn’t associate the moving of his precious bowls with baby’s arrival.
Purchase several trash cans that close securely for dirty diapers. Remember that mother dogs clean their puppies by licking their urine and feces. Female dogs may be especially attracted to dirty diapers. Prepare to secure the diapers.
If your dog is not crate trained, this is an ideal time to present the crate in a positive way so that Fido will think of it as his “happy place” or bedroom. If your dog is comfortable with crating, it gives him a wonderful place to retreat to for some peace and quiet. If introduced early to Fido he will not associate crating with the arrival of your baby.
New Sights, Sound and Smells
If you are going to have a baby swing set up indoors, buy it early and use it often. The motion of the swing can be very exciting to some dogs, so it is best to get them inured to it by using it often before your baby arrives. Place a doll or baby toy in it as well.
Begin to use whatever baby products you intend to use now. A dog’s sense of smell is very keen and there is no reason to put this off till later. Use baby wipes, baby powder, etc. on your own hands.
The crying of a baby may concern some dogs. If you do not have a friend or acquaintance with an obliging baby, you may have to find crying baby noises online or a CD. With the sounds of a crying baby in the background, pretend to comfort a baby doll in your arms as you would your new baby. You can offer your dog treats at the same time so he will associate good things happening with baby crying.
If your baby is born in a hospital, bring home a blanket or article of clothing with your baby’s scent. This blanket can be used while you comfort the “crying” baby doll. Just having this article in the house will help your dog become familiar with your baby’s scent.