Expecting?  Here’s How to Prepare your Dog for Baby’s Arrival

The birth of a child is a joyful event for everyone in the family except -- perhaps -- the family dog.  

When a dog is accustomed to being the "only child" in a household, the arrival of the family's first human baby brings changes that can prompt your dog to act out. It's important to start preparing him as far in advance as possible. 

Here are four ways to help get your dog ready for baby's arrival:

  • First, take a training refresher. Baby will be safer and life will be easier with a dog who listens and obeys on command. You won't have time to address problem behaviors once baby comes home, so don't wait. A professional trainer can help. 
  • Next, introduce household changes. Gradually introduce and desensitize her to all the new experiences. For example, get a baby doll and carry it around the house; set up the crib and stroller with the doll in it; and introduce the scent of baby powder, wipes and diapers. 
  • Begin to transition to a new routine. Think about how  your schedule will change and ease him into those changes. Practice walking with the baby stroller. Shift mealtimes. Your trainer can also help you identify other changes to make. 
  • Set up a dog-free zone. Never leave a dog alone with a newborn, no matter how well trained, because dogs can react suddenly to unexpected noises or movements. It's easy to create a pet-free zone around the crib with an Invisible Fence Shields® containment system. No clumsy baby gates or other barriers needed.
When baby comes home, introduce them using a calm voice so you don't excite your dog. It's important to let your dog see and sniff baby -- but keep yourself between them just in case. Praise your dog being gentle and give a firm  'no' if he gets overexcited. 

Finally, carve out some one-on-one time with your dog each day so he doesn't become jealous of baby. Praise and play will reinforce good manners, making life happier for everyone in the home.