To a dog, a baby is a strange toy that doesn’t need any batteries. What’s more, a baby is an attention magnet and routine changer in family life. Once a baby arrives, life, as the dog knows, is not the same. Some dogs take this in stride; others struggle with the new way of things. Here are some tips to help Baby and Dog live side by side.
Dog Training Before the Baby Arrives
Before the baby arrives, get your dog on an intensive “pre-baby” training plan. Most of our clients use the Drop Off Training program and inform their dog trainer that a baby is expected. This way, we can tailor the training to fit the family’s lifestyle. Commands that are helpful for your dog to know are: Come when called, sit when asked, loose leash walking, waiting at the door for you to cross the threshold, and Place. Now is the time to get a dog walker set up (Little known fact: our dog trainers make excellent dog walkers, contact us for more details). Inform your dog walker that after giving birth, you will need a few weeks or even months to help adjust to the new routines. Now is also a good time to enforce the Place command so that the dog is well versed in settling down for potentially long periods in their Place.
Dog Training After Baby Arrives
After the baby arrives, dogs don’t experience “jealousy” as we do. But they do notice when someone or something is getting attention, and they are not. Ways to help with this is to feed your dog before feeding the baby in the same room. Praise your dog while carrying your baby. When the baby is sleeping, have your dog practice downtime in his Place. Remember to reinforce that “good things” happen when the baby is around.
The number one rule: NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY ALONE WITH YOUR DOG. However, much confidence or however much you think your dog is perfect; they are both sentient beings. Dogs may accidentally hurt babies. The shrieking, kicks, and wild gestures of kids can startle dogs, and the dog’s reactions are unforeseeable.
Be sure to teach your child how to behave around dogs appropriately. Always ask the owner of a dog if it’s ok for the child to touch a dog. Teach the child to be gentle when petting it. Teach them to pet the dog away from sensitive areas like the eyes. Note: if you need help with this, let your trainer know, and we can work with the children as well.
Remember ALWAYS to supervise your child with any dog. If you keep these things in mind, your chances of having excellent interactions with your dog and baby will increase. Now, before you forget, reach out to us for a free consult at our new location and schedule a Drop Off Training session! All you have to do is call us at 405-353-0015 and ask to schedule a consultation or reach out via text by clicking/tapping on the chat bubble.