Having a baby, whilst clearly a wonderful moment in your lives, can also (allegedly) be rather stressful, emotional and (if the rumours are true) quite tiring. This can also be true for your dogs, as well as you, and of course you are right to be concerned about your dog sniffing around the new addition - just think of all those bugs, infections and nasty bacteria that a dog can catch from an un-vaccinated toddler...
Of course, having a new addition to your household, and an uneducated, totally dependent one at that, brings with it a myriad of changes to both your (and your dogs) normal routine, so amidst all the excitement of bringing home your new baby, your dog may end up sharing most of the anxiety and less of the fun. There’s quite a bit that can be done with your dog to make the new transition easier, and with 9 months to go, you’ve got time on your side.
The Calm before the Storm...
It’s no surprise that your dog needs to adjust to the idea of having a baby around the house because frankly, so do you. Changes in your routine, unfamiliar noises, less recreational time, increased stress, etc, all these things have a huge impact on you physically and mentally and as such, has a big impact on your dogs state of mind too. The first thing to think about is what kind of exposure has your dog already had to children, small kids and animals? How did he react, what kind of experience was it? Don’t mistake dog “breed” for safety. Sure, some dogs are advertised as “great with kids and babies” but all dogs are different, and if there’s any chance he could react badly to a new baby - you need to know before it happens. If you are ‘expecting’ its certainly worth consulting a canine behaviourist to assess your dog - if only for peace of mind!
New Baby Boot Camp
Having your dog enrolled in obedience training prior to baby’s arrival should be given serious consideration. You’ll truly appreciate the added benefits of having a dog that will sit, lie down, go to place, leave it, or settle down, all on command. In fairness, your priority, and thus all your attention and patience, is going to be spent on your new born, not your dog. You’re also likely to react more strongly to bad behaviours that previously, you might have been more tolerant of. Some people don’t mind if their dog barks every now and then, or jumps up to say hello - but if baby is trying to sleep, or you are holding baby in your arms, barking and jumping are going to cause problems. You can take a lot of pressure and worry off your shoulders (and your dogs) by enrolling in some obedience sessions.
The Beagle Has Landed
Our first instinct when baby finally arrives home is to forget everything else and focus on them. But its really important not to forget about your dog, or to act differently with them. Maintain your status quo, continue with your normal feeding and walking routines and incorporate them into your new ones. By being involved with you and the newbie, you’re preventing a build up of any frustration or anxiety in your dog. You dog will no doubt be curious of the new sounds and smells associated with your baby, but will not understand how delicate he is. Obviously, you will want to supervise all interactions between baby and dog. Your dog might be awesome with them, but that doesn’t mean he won’t snap if awoken suddenly by a baby yanking on his whiskers.
The humane treatment of all animals is an important lesson for children of any age as is the awareness and respect of a healthy set of canine teeth. Having a pet in the house is by far the best way for your child to learn about how to properly handle a dog, or other animal. Having them involved in walking, bathing, feeding or even training your dog will have immense benefits to them personally, as well as the added benefits to your dog.
If you would like some more information on canine training, or behavioural issues, then please to contact us on 091 654 1960,
or check our website www.k9pointacademy.com.
CPA is the only K9 organisation in Thailand accredited with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), and as an American Kennel Club (AKC) Evaluator.