Having a new pack member can be a huge challenge for your dog. It means a change in the family dynamics, a change in the schedule, and a change in the time they get to spend with their favorite human – you!
Before the baby comes home from the hospital, here are a few things you can do to prepare them and make them comfortable with the new addition:
Work with a Trainer
Working on behavior with a trainer can help you and your pup have more defined boundaries and rules. One rule you will want to focus on is space dominance. Your pup will need to understand that they will have to yield to you and the baby once they learn to walk. This way your pup will be less likely to lash out and nip.
Work on Leash and Recall Training
If you have an aggressive pup, you will need to reinforce leash and recall training. You may want to work with a trainer as well as on your own in your home. The best way to reestablish recall is by sitting on the couch with a bag of kibble. Then, call your pup and when they sit in front of you give them a piece of kibble. Then, tell them to go to their kennel or bed and repeat the process. This way the dog will be able to walk away from the child quickly if needed.
Plan Alone Time
Before the baby comes home, you should plan some alone time for you and the pup after the baby was born. You can schedule alone time with a sitter so you can go for a walk, play a game of fetch, or snuggle on the bed. Whatever you and your pup love best.
When the baby comes home, your dog will worry about not having enough food to go around. You can combat this fear by feeding them smaller portions more often throughout the day. Your pup will not only be calmer but thrilled with the seemingly extra food. Plus, you will avoid any crankiness that might come from a hungry pup.
Supervise First Dog and Baby Meeting
Once the baby is a few months old, it is time to have a couple of supervised meetings between the baby and dog. This way, they will feel more comfortable with you around and you will be able to correct any bad behavior the pup or baby may display.