Many people get worried about having a dog around the house when planning to have a child. If it’s any consolation, most dogs are great when it comes to coping with children, but for those of you who are more skeptical about the choices you have, here are a few tips. Dog obedience is a big part of child safety, so when bringing a baby home, you should have already laid down some laws. It is important to establish some basic rules based on what you are comfortable with. Dogs are often very ‘in-tune’ with their owners. Therefore, with an event such as pregnancy, they know something important is happening, just as you do. A few things definitely need to be established before the baby shows up, and you have nine whole months to do it, so if you get on the ball and teach your dog while you have time to spare, things will be easy!
Firstly, your dog should know who’s boss in the house. You need to establish that you are their owner, because when you have an alpha in your house, it should be you and not your dog. Failing to do this will lead your dog to think that everything in the house is theirs, including your baby. The reason why we bring this up is because dogs need to be especially well-mannered around a baby, and if you proclaim your dominance through time, they will learn to mellow out and accept the change.
Claiming your baby
Many people go about this in different ways. Most people have ‘look but don’t touch’ relationships established with their baby and their dog, and this is established by claiming your baby. Before you introduce your baby to your dog, bring your dog something that has the babies scent. When you show your dog the item, they can sniff it, but don’t let them touch it. This exercise will let your dog know that the smell belongs to you, so that when you bring the baby in, they will understand that the baby is yours. This will keep it so that they wont get too close to the baby.
Another option is teaching your dog not to go inside the nursery. Many people are comfortable with their dog visiting the baby regularly, but if your dog has repeatedly shown signs of aggression, you should be concerned. Aggression can either grow, or dissolve when a new family member is introduced. Many dogs fall in love with ‘their’ babies and watch over them like their own, but others grow frustrated and confused, leading to possible outbreaks of violence. Remember, dog training is always the best route if you are concerned with the relationship between your dog and your baby.