As someone who had two rambunctious pups living with us when I first brought
my daughter home from the hospital, I know how difficult of a task this can
seem. Don’t worry; our family is living proof that it is possible! Follow these five tips to help make the transition easier.
1) Let your dog sniff something your baby wore.
This tip was actually given to me by one of the nurses that took care of me
postpartum. My husband took my daughter’s hat home for our dogs to sniff
several hours before we came back from the hospital. They were relatively calm
the first time they met her since they were already familiar with her scent.
2) Change your dog’s schedule BEFORE you bring your baby home from the hospital.
Your precious pup’s schedule will probably not be able to stay the same once
your new baby is in the picture. If you change your dog’s schedule (their
feeding and walking times) a couple of months before your due date, then your
dog will have time to adjust before your baby arrives. This will make the
transition easier for both them and you. It will also help prevent your dog from
feeling resentment towards the newest addition to your family.
3) Let your dog join in on activities with you and baby.
My dogs were fascinated with my daughter right from the start. They wanted
to join in on almost every activity we did. While it wasn’t always possible to
include them, I found tummy time to be a great way for them to spend time with
her. They were content watching her lay on the ground and try to lift her head.
As she got older, she would work hard to lift her head so she could see them.
It was precious and great for her neck muscles.
4) Avoid yelling at your dog for wanting to get close to your baby.
Instead of yelling at your dog when they start approaching your baby,
encourage them to be gentle. Keep your voice calm even if you’re nervous.
Chances are if you stay calm, then your baby will too. This will also help your
dog feel more at ease around your baby, making bonding with her possible.
5) Be patient.
Your dogs will adjust and learn to love your baby, but it will definitely
take time. Every dog is different. Some dogs may have more accidents in the
house, some dogs may wine more, and some dogs may even bark at the most
inconvenient times. Just breathe. You will survive the adjustment period and
you will appreciate the wonderful moments you can share with both your new baby
and your dog together.