Introducing your baby and pet can be the first step to a lifelong friendship, but it can also be a bit stressful for everyone involved. As parents, you want to keep both your baby and pet safe. Your pet is likely overwhelmed by the new smells and objects that accompany your baby. And your baby is just trying to figure out how this whole world works as they interact with it.
When you bring a new baby or pet into your home, many things change in your life. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to make sure that introductions go as smoothly as possible.
Create a Training Plan
While this is not exclusive to introducing your pet to a new baby, it is essential to create a training plan to ensure they have basic obedience skills. Establishing basic commands such as sit, stay, come, drop it, and settle will be extremely helpful when you have a baby around and need your dog to listen to you. It can also be beneficial to get your pet comfortable with new sounds, smells, and environments that may accompany the baby and reward them to create positive associations.
Prepare for Lifestyle Changes
If you already have a pet in your home, bringing home a new baby will create the need for lifestyle and routine adjustments, which may cause some anxiety for your pet. If possible, minimize the stress your pet experiences by preparing for these changes ahead of time. This could mean slowly adjusting your dog to a less regular feeding schedule or hiring a dog walker to help your dog get used to other people helping you out. If your dog is used to time at the dog park, look into doggy daycares where you can drop them off and do some trial sessions before the baby comes.
While it can be tempting to give your pet lots of extra attention in the weeks leading up to the baby, this can actually make it more difficult for your pet to adjust after the birth. Instead, try giving your pet short cuddle or play sessions at random times of the day so they don’t get attached to a particular schedule.
Prepare for Baby
When your baby is young, they will not know the best way to interact with your pet, so it is important to prepare your pet for more aggressive handling. Babies may grab ears, poke, or prod, so it can be helpful to get your pet used to this kind of handling and provide them rewards for positive reinforcement.
The first time your baby and pet meet can set the tone for their relationship. You want to help make their first interactions as enjoyable as possible. The first time they meet, let your pet greet the rest of the family as usual, and then put them on a leash and have treats ready. Calmly introduce the baby to your dog and reward them to create positive reinforcement. Have a helper distract your dog with commands or toys, so their attention isn’t fully focused on the baby. Provide praise and rewards for calm interactions with the bay.
Finding a Routine
Once your baby and pet have established a positive relationship, it can be helpful to find a routine for your family that involves both pet and baby. If you are taking your pet or baby on a walk, bring the other along. Teach your pet to enjoy quiet time with the baby by providing them with a bed or comfy spot in the room where you feed your baby. Most importantly, always reward calm, polite behavior from your pet while they are around the baby.
Teaching Respect for Pets
As your baby grows, start to teach them to respect your pet and appropriately interact with them. Provide examples of how to best communicate and play with your pet as they develop their own relationship with them. Teach them what kind handling and pets look like and that hitting, pinching, riding, etc., is not ok. It can also be helpful to teach them structured types of play like fetch or tug and get them involved in training by teaching them commands that your pet knows.
Contact Superior Dog Fence Today!
Superior Dog Fence specializes in pet containment systems that go under the ground. This provides a safe way for your pet to learn boundaries and protect them from strangers and running away. We have many solutions for pets depending on the size of your yard and other options for your convenience. We are locally owned and have lower overhead than some of our big competitors – which is obvious by our pricing! Give us a call today to learn more!