Monday, May 17, 2010

Dog, meet baby

Having a baby is time for big changes.  If you already have a furkid in your life and are soon brining home a human, it is important to think through the impact on everyone.  Think about it from a dog's perspective--suddenly there is a ton of new furniture, toys that are off limits, lots of visitors in the house, a new sleep schedule, not to mention the new squirmy, noisy, smelly creature you are carrying everywhere!

Maggie Marton from EcoSalon has some great suggestions in her recent column Bow Wow and Baby.  Marton suggest some important things to do before the baby comes home to get your dog ready: set out some baby toys, run the mechanical swing, and maybe even play a tape with some baby sounds.  The key is to desensitize your pup to as many new things as you can using positive reinforcement.  When the human baby does come home from the hospital, the first introduction might be a little overwhelming to your dog.  Marton has some tips for making sure that goes smoothly too.

Human babies can take up a lot of time and energy, but it is important to not forget that your dog still has needs too.  Make sure you find time to still give him proper exercise and steal away some play time with your old buddy too.  Marton has some good ideas for finding time and making it all positive.  Planning and patience will keep the whole pack happy.


  1. Thanks for sharing this! It's so important that people remember... as far as your pet is concerned, he was there first! So transitioning a new baby into your home means working a little bit harder to ensure your furbaby still feels the love!

  2. I just recently went through this and I think that in addition to what Marton suggests, there are three things that are really helpful for helping my dog live with the new baby:

    1. As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I stopped doting on my puppy as much and let my husband take over more of the doggy duties. That way, when the baby arrived and I couldn't physically pay as much attention to my puppy, it wasn't as big of a shock and my dog wouldn't blame the baby for the change in attention. This was probably the hardest thing to do. But even so, I still try to make special time for my puppy.

    2. Just as my puppy can't have access to all the baby's toys, furniture, and space, the baby can't take over the puppy's space. The dog needs to have its very own space to get away from the baby and to take a break when it needs to. Whenever the dog is overwhelmed, she can always go to her safe spot and know that she won't have any baby intrusions.

    3. No matter how good your baby and dog are together, their relationship will change over time, especially as the baby gets to be more mobile. Keep all dog and baby interactions under your supervision and never leave the dog alone with the baby. Just because your dog was great with a baby doesn't mean they'll be good with a toddler that yanks on it's tail and steals its food.