Making your Pet Dog Baby-Friendly
If you own a pet dog, then it is important that you train it before the arrival of your new-born baby. In fact, animal behavior experts advise to start the training as soon as you confirm your pregnancy so that your pet is prepared well to welcome the new baby.
Your pet dog will need some amount of help to adapt himself to the presence of a new baby. The right training ensures that your pet is comfortable around the baby and also develops a bond with the new addition to the family. When you were a couple, your pet would have received ample attention; in fact, it would even have been your ‘fur-baby’ being pampered and lavished with attention and time. But with the arrival of the newborn baby, all the focus and attention will be on the baby which can cause problems with your pet.
Create a private spot:
If you already have a kennel and your pet is used to spending time inside it, then you will not have too much of a problem. But if you had given free rein to your dog inside your home, then the first thing is to find an area where you can create a private spot for your pet.
The fact is that dogs can tend to get over stimulated when there is a lot of commotion, crying and wailing at home which is bound to happen with a newborn baby around. So pick an area where your pet is least likely to be disturbed and also away from all the noise and commotion. You can locate this spot ahead of time and get your dog used to this place by arranging his bowl, water dish and his favorite bone so that he feels comfortable and at home here.
Desensitizing your pet:
Young children are often curious about pets and tend to touch them in areas that they don’t favor too much like tail, paw pads, face, ears and underside. Desensitize your pet by touching him in these areas so that he gets used to this even when your toddler is doing the same. If your pet is resisting your touch in these areas, then get the help of another person who can feed him treats while you carry out this exercise. Perform this at least five to six times every day for 5 minute periods so that he gets used to this.
Get professional help:
If you don’t have the time or find it difficult to train your pet, then get the help of veterinarians or dog trainers who offer ‘baby readiness’ sessions. You will also have to attend certain sessions during which the trainer will advise you on how to handle your pet in front of your child and also things to be avoided when your baby and pet is together. There are also several guides available like ‘Tell your Dog You’re Pregnant’ by Lewis Kirkham, dog-training videos by Ian Dunbar and ‘ Childproofing your Dog’ by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson which can also be of great help.