Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby
When you’ve had a dog as your only “baby,” then suddenly bring a human baby into the picture, things can go very badly if you are not careful. It’s not that the dog is aggressive or bad, but without the proper introduction, your dog can be very confused by the changes that a baby brings. Here are some tips to help you introduce your dog to your new baby to help make the transition a smooth one.
When you are ready to bring your baby into the house for the first time, make a plan. First, have you and your spouse go in one at a time to greet the dog and let him run around a bit. Then, once he’s said “hi” to you, put him on a leash before bringing in the baby. Then, have whoever is holding the leash offer treats as you bring in the baby. This will create a positive connection between the baby’s presence and treats.
Allow the dog to smell the baby, and stay calm and relaxed while he investigates. Do this in a quiet room without many other distractions. Sit down, holding the baby in your arms, and allow the dog to approach while someone holds him on a leash. Watch your dog’s body language for signs of fear or aggression. As long as the body language is relaxed, allow the dog to investigate the baby gently, offering treats as he does.
No matter how those first introductions go, make sure you schedule some walks or one-on-one play time with your dog. He’s not going to understand why he suddenly gets no attention. Above all, avoid punishing your dog if he does not respond well to the baby. You want his associations with the baby to be pleasant. If there are problems, simply separate the dog to a safe place away from the baby and try again another time.
For the first few weeks home, keep your dog’s interaction with the baby controlled. It won’t take you long to determine if you will have any problems, or if your dog will accept the baby as a member of the family. While you won’t want to leave the baby and dog unattended no matter how well you trust your dog, you can relax a little once those initial introductions are over. Soon, your dog will accept the baby as a member of the pack, and if you do these initial introductions well, your dog and your baby will grow up to the best of friends.