Bringing a new baby into your home can be an exciting time, but the chaos it can create is often a challenge for the whole household.
Planning and preparation can help your fur baby get along with your new baby as the entire lifestyle of the family shifts.
According to Lost Dogs’ Home post-adoption trainer Elonnah Dutton, preparing your dog months in advance “is the best outcome for the whole family”.
“During the pregnancy, buy a baby doll from a toy store, the more realistic the better,” said Ms Dutton.
“Then start to carry the toy baby around and teach your dog to be calm or on their bed when the baby is being held.
“When the toy baby is in the same room as the dog, ensure all games and toys are paused so the dog responds calmly … When the toy baby is in another room, the dog should be free to play.”
Ms Dutton said that giving your dog treats while playing low volume recordings of a baby crying helps to desensitise them to the sounds.
“Make sure you play with your dog or use a food-dispensing toy while the sounds play so they associate the sounds with good things,” she said.
“Place the toy doll on the ground and practise pretend ‘tummy time’. While doing this, direct your dog to their bed and reward them for staying there. This is also the perfect time to give your dog a yummy food puzzle.”
Planning ahead can also help reduce any overexcited, jealous or territorial behaviour.
“If you are patient and consistent with your dog as you prepare for your new baby, you can ensure a smooth transition,” Ms Dutton said.
“When it comes time to leave the hospital, take the baby’s blanket home first to allow your dog to smell the scent of the newborn before they meet in person.”
Making every experience together positive is the best way for your pet and baby to bond, but dog owners are reminded to never leave their dog and baby alone together.
If your dog is struggling to adjust, speak to your vet about behaviour management options available to them.
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