Thursday 12 August 2010 by Erika

photo - small dog and baby

They say one human year is the equivalent to seven dog years. This would make my dog, Scrap, 70 years old. Pretty old really, when you consider a 2-day-old screaming baby is soon to enter the house. Prior to my baby’s arrival, this was a big concern for me - Just how well was old dog going to mix with new born?

Scrap is a laid back dog, to say the least, but, ultimately animals and children are both unpredictable. As the great comedian, W. C. Fields said ‘never work with children or animals’, a line which has come into my mind many a time during previous encounters with friends pets or little ones... So here are a few suggestions I followed to try and maintain the harmony!

Prior to baby’s arrival...

  • An animal is like a child in many respects and everyone, I’m guessing, tries to treat their children fairly. So, I was keen to make sure I didn’t suddenly take all my attention away from Scrap. In the weeks leading up to my baby’s arrival, I gradually gave Scrap a bit less attention, making sure I didn’t cut him out completely. This allowed him a bit more time to adjust to not being the centre of attention.
  •  I was lucky that Scrap, being an OAP, was unlikely to jump up or be too boisterous with my new arrival.  But I can understand that dog’s energy levels would be a concern for people with younger or spritelier dogs.  From what I have read, it’s suggested that you ring in the changes as far in advance as possible before baby comes home.  In other words, it’s a good excuse to get round to that dog training, to try and put a stop to jumping up, nibbling, or any other bad habits that your dog might have picked up.
  •  If your dog normally sleeps in what’s soon to become the baby’s bedroom, or in a place where the baby is going to spend a lot of time, then move the dog’s bed elsewhere, get it used to other surroundings as soon as possible.

I have to confess I didn’t personally try these last two, but they might be worth a shot...

  • Make a tape recording of a crying infant and play this at a gradually increased voulme whilst practicing obedience commands with your dog.
  • Dogs are all about smells, so try presenting your dog with a blanket that has your baby’s scent on it, allowing it the time to add the smell to its sniff radar.

The key seems to be preparation. Easier said than done though, when you already have a ‘list of things to do before baby is born’ as long as your arm. I was lucky in that Scrap is a very tolerant, and also quite hard of hearing! I would say it might be trickier with a baby and a puppy, but all the same as long as you err on the side of caution and don’t leave your dog alone to babysit, I’m sure everything will be fine. It has even been reported that if a child and a pet grow together, a brotherly or sisterly bond can form.

Photo credit – Molly and Lisa deanwissing

  Currently rated 4.8 by 4 people

Tags: Baby |  pets | 
# re: Introducing your new baby to your dog
Tuesday, August 24, 2010 9:51 by Rachel
I was soooo happy to find this article! I'm 8 months pregnant and have been worrying about introducing my first born to our dog for ages! Cheers! Now all I need to find is an article about introducing my new baby to my 5 cats! x
# re: Introducing your new baby to your dog
Thursday, August 26, 2010 2:16 by erika
Really glad it was helpful. 5 cats, wow! Let us know how you get on. All the best.

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