For many of us, before we had kids we had fur babies. Our dogs were our whole world. We would go on walks, play fetch for hours, even take trips together. We’d buy them lots of toys and expensive treats. We swore things would never change. And then you get that positive pregnancy test!
While we would like to believe that we can keep things the same once Baby arrives, the reality is that our routines are completely shaken by our new bundle of joy.
We lose sleep, energy, and sense of time but we should not lose our love for our firstborns (fur babies). Below are a few steps I think are essential in introducing and adjusting our dogs to newborns.
STEP 1 Reducing activity time
While this step may seem harsh and mean, believe me, getting our dogs accustomed to less attention and time before Baby was born was crucial to reducing the impact of newborn life. It is just the reality that there will be less time for walks, fetch, and cuddles with our fur babies. Letting them get used to less attention before the baby comes helps lessen the feeling that its the baby’s fault.
STEP 2 Baby noises
This step can be beneficial to both fur babies and dads alike. (Insert laughing emoji here.) Dogs have a very good hearing. In order to not startle them with a baby’s cry and screams, it may be beneficial to have a baby doll that makes those sounds. You can also randomly play videos of babies crying and cooing to help the dog become accustomed to the sounds.
STEP 3 Walks with the stroller
This one is short and sweet. Your dog is used to going for walks with a leash or without a leash. Throw in a big stroller and it may completely throw them off. Before the baby is born, take a few walks with the stroller and break it in. Show the dog how to walk alongside the stroller and not to run into it.
STEP 4 Nursery rules
Depending on your house rules, the nursery may be off-limits to your dog. If that is the case, try placing a baby gate at the door of the nursery and teaching the dog to not whine or bark. Instead, teach it to lie next to the gate and watch what you do inside. This will hopefully train the dog to behave when you have the baby asleep in the nursery.
STEP 5 Baby scent
This step in my opinion is one of the most important. Before the dog meets the baby it is helpful to introduce the dog to the baby’s scent. You can do this by bringing home the baby’s first worn hat from the hospital. When you arrive at home with the baby, come in alone and let the dog express its happiness and energy to see you, as to not harm the baby while jumping. Then introduce the hat to the dog and let it smell for a while. If it’s possible to do this before the baby arrives great! If not right before is fine too.
STEP 6 Still give lots of attention
Always remember that the dog is adjusting just as much to the new routine as the rest of the family. It is still crucial to pay as much attention as possible to your fur baby. It’s important to let them know they are welcoming a new addition to the family and not their replacement.