Dogs and babies are maybe the two closest things that give us a taste of heaven. Dogs by nature are beings that can consistently be a friend and a companion while loving you more than they love themselves. So, it’s almost obvious, if you choose for your newborn and your dog to share an affectionate bond. But as a new member of the house and as your guardian, it’s important to introduce and habituate them to one another in sync.
Prep Before Time
During your pregnancy, the dog is capable of sensing the situation but not to its full reality. Hence, these nine months would be the perfect time for you to condition your dog, neat out his uncomfortable habits and train him to heed to your commands while you establish to them clearly that it is you who calls the shots and for them to follow by your command. This way when you bring your baby home, you would have a sense of relief bringing them into a calm and peaceful atmosphere.
Scent is a key trigger for dogs to identify and act. Hence, it’s important for you to introduce your newborn’s scent in a periodic way to your dog. Use a burp towel or any clothes that the baby has worn for your dog to sniff but from a distance, by this you are teaching your dog that this new material belongs to you and that the dog needs to respect it. Repeat the activity in a scheduled manner, so that your dog gets used to it and is not totally startled when you bring the infant home.
An Ideal Rendezvous
So, imagine you could be bringing your baby home today from the hospital, what you could do is, take your dog for a long walk and make sure to exhaust them while on the way back. Before you could enter, make sure to stop for a minute to ensure that they are in a calm/submissive state. When you take the dog inside after, it will automatically pick up the newborn’s scent but since the scent is already introduced, your dog will be able to familiarise with it. As a mom or dad holding the baby, be sure to remain in a calm state. Allow the dog to sniff the baby from at a distance and do not bring the baby closer during the first meeting but could eventually be allowed to get closer, hence this establishes the baby to the dog as another key or commanding member of the family.
Since your baby is going to be spending a considerable time in their nursery, it’s vital to train your dog about the boundaries surrounding the place. Make sure you communicate to the dog that there is a barrier between them and the nursery. Train it to enter when you allow it to, during which it can sniff around and to leave at your command. While you repeat it periodically, the dog would be able to recognise that the room belongs to a key member of the family and that they must respect it.
Babies, when they are as old as 6 months, develop an interest in patting and touching the dogs. It’s important to know if your dog is comfortable with that touch and physical affection and make sure that their physical interaction is constantly monitored, because older dogs are more often very intolerable to toddlers and puppies could be very unpredictable in this case. I know for a fact that we all love Instagram reels and videos where the dog is showering the baby with kisses and licks. It might look cute, but is it okay?
A dog can lick your baby for a variety of reasons. It could be wanting to play or trying to assert its dominance over the baby. Either way, it’s not a good idea because a dog’s mouth could contain a variety of germs and bacteria that could cause infections to the baby and if it’s trying to lick to establish dominance then that is even dangerous because it could bite your baby later. Although the dog’s mouth can harbor bacteria, several reports suggest that they are species specific and will not affect your baby, hence, you might not let your dog kiss and lick your baby regularly, but a lick here or there shouldn’t be a bother, if you clean your baby immediately after.
As much as you teach your dog to stay put, it’s also important for your child to learn some doggie manners. Make sure to teach your baby to lower their voice and to avoid sudden movements that might alarm the dog. Teach your child to always request permission from a dog’s owner before petting them, continuing by offering their fist as an introduction for the dog to sniff them and get comfortable with them and not approach loose dogs or tied up ones without the permission of the owner.
These would help you kick start a beautiful relationship between your dog and your baby and make some beautiful memories for your child.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Gradual Introduction: To avoid overwhelming your dog, it’s important to introduce them to your baby gradually. Start by allowing your dog to sniff around the baby’s items such as the crib, stroller, or car seat. This will help them become familiar with the baby’s scent. Once the baby arrives, let your dog come close to the baby while you hold them, but be sure to supervise their interactions at all times.
- Training: Before the baby arrives, it’s a good idea to train your dog in basic obedience skills such as “stay” and “come”. This will help you maintain control of your dog during interactions with the baby.
- Maintain Your Dog’s Routine: Change can be stressful for dogs, so try to maintain your dog’s normal routine as much as possible. This will help them feel secure and reduce any anxiety they may have about the new addition to the family.
- Encourage Positive Interactions: Whenever your dog interacts with the baby, be sure to praise and reward them for good behavior. This will reinforce the positive relationship between your dog and baby.
- Supervise: It’s important to supervise all interactions between your baby and dog. While dogs are often gentle and loving with babies, accidents can happen, so it’s best to be safe.
- Teach your Baby: As your baby grows and becomes more mobile, it’s important to teach them how to interact with your dog. Show them how to pet your dog gently and how to avoid pulling their tail or ears.
With these tips, you can help your baby and dog form a strong and loving bond. Remember, it takes time and patience, but the results are worth it. Your baby and dog will have a lifelong companion and playmate, and your family will have a bond that is unbreakable.
In conclusion, your baby and dog can bond and become friends with a little patience and effort. By following these tips, you can help your baby and dog form a strong and loving bond that will last a lifetime. So go ahead and enjoy watching your baby and dog play together and create memories that will last a lifetime!