Our dogs get the star treatment these days with regular grooming, doggy diets, day care and canine fashion. With all these spoils, it’s no wonder they begin to feel like kids. So, what happens when human babies come into your life? We’ve pulled together some solid advice for all first-time parents for all the doggy dos and don’ts with help from our good friends in DogsTrust.
1. Prep your pup
The key to a smooth transition is to prepare your dog for the baby’s arrival as soon as you can. Training can begin before the baby is born, getting them acclimatised to all the changes that are coming their way. According to DogsTrust, it’s important that your dog doesn’t automatically associate the baby with all the disruptions a new-born will bring. Some have suggested even carrying around a doll and giving it the same attention that you would your baby so as to get them used to sharing your attention. Also keep things like baby powder around the house to get them used to sights and smells of their new sibling.
2. Their Best Behaviour
We all like our dogs with a little bit of personality and attitude but we want them to be as disciplined as possible for our new arrival. The experts heavily suggest getting the furry friends trained so that they are used to boundaries, know when to sit and stay, all of which will be a life-saver in situations when you have your hands full.
3. Treats for playing nice
Remember to reward your dog with treats for when they remain calm, friendly and well behaved, it’s important that your four-legged friend has positive associations with the baby to pave the way for a lifelong bond. DogsTrust also recommends that you never punish the dog negatively in association with the baby in case negative links are made between baby and bad times.
4. Walk it off
At the height of the baby mania, it may seem like a big ask to keep your dog entertained but an un-walked dog with too much energy and a touch of jealousy will be an accident waiting to happen. Get your canine sidekick to escort you and baby during an outdoor stroll which will keep you all sane and build up the camaraderie.
5. Baby manners
Finally, if this friendship is to get off to a good start, it needs to be a two-way street. Teach your baby to be gentle right from the very beginning. They learn by watching and will mimic how you treat your dog so lead by example and set the tone as gentle and respectful. Make sure that your dog also gets a break from all the baby business with a baby free zone escape for your dog. This mutual respect will take some time to build but in the meantime, never leave baby and dog unattended.