Bringing a newborn baby into the home is life-changing in just about every way, and often our self-care takes a hit for at least a while, but if you already have the responsibility of caring for a dog, it can be a little trickier. If your dog has been your fur-baby for as long as he or she can remember, it’s natural that the arrival of what is a new sibling in their eyes would take some getting used to. It’s quite common for the calmest and most well-behaved dogs to start acting out when a new baby enters the home.
Remember, your dog is not misbehaving to upset you; they are simply trying to get your attention, whether it’s good or bad. Of course, even if your dog and baby seem to be getting along just fine, never leave the dog alone with the baby.
This guide will give you some hints and tips to help you cope with a new baby and a dog.
Make the baby a positive change for the dog
In addition to feeling a bit forgotten, your dog will probably be feeling overwhelmed by the new smells and noises that the baby has brought with them. Try giving the dog a treat when the baby cries to help him connect the sounds with positivity. Let them smell the baby’s used clothes and diapers as much as possible (with a treat if you wish), so they begin to associate the unfamiliar scents with normality.
Let them burn off their energy
Your baby’s needs are the most important part of life now, but that doesn’t mean your dog should slip off the list of priorities completely. To prevent them from becoming bored and frustrated and taking their energy out on your home, try to schedule in regular exercise. This can be difficult to do if you are home on your own, but a great way to tick off two jobs is to go out for a walk with the baby in a stroller and the dog at the same time.
If you are struggling to find the time to give your dog the attention or exercise, they need, consider booking them into a doggy daycare now and again. This will give you a break and ensure the dog gets the space to be themselves regularly. Take a look at heartandpaw.com for more information on doggy daycare services.
Use positive reinforcement
Positive reinforcement works for both dogs and children, so rather than only showing them attention when they are bad (which only encourages bad behavior in their mind), try to make a fuss whey they do something good. If they are calmly observing the baby or having a relax on the floor, throw them a treat, so they understand that this is what you want from them.
Interact with your baby and dog at the same time Tryto show the dog that they can still have fun and affection when the baby is around. While you’re feeding your baby, pet the dog, or give them a treat. If you need to focus fully on the baby, bring out their favorite toy or throw the ball a few times. The dog needs to see that the baby does not necessarily mean less love or time for them.