Top tips to prepare your furry friend for a baby

Preparing the family dog for a newborn.
Preparing the family dog for a newborn.

IT can be a scary prospect, bringing your newborn home to meet the family dog.

Even the most dependable pooch cannot be totally trusted, as you never know how the dog will deal with the change of dynamics and lack of attention it’s about to receive.

We spoke to dog behaviour consultant Kathy Kopellis Mcleod about preparing your furry friend for this big, new change.

She said you should never leave the newborn alone with the dog, not even for a moment.

When dogs are fearful or uncomfortable, they can bite and that can be fatal.

She also suggested parents invest in a professional trainer beforehand to ease the dog into the process.

 

 

Top Tips For Parents

– Preparation is key: A few weeks before the baby is born, get into a routine of when it comes. Reduce the attention levels you are giving your dog, because when the baby comes they are going to get less attention. Then when bub arrives, give the dog more attention than previously.

– Make the nursery area familiar to the dog: Before baby comes, allow the dog to explore the nursery and become accustomed with smells like baby powder and lotion.

– Use the doll technique: Buy a toy doll and wrap it in a blanket and hold it around the house so the dog gets used to you already having that closeness to baby.

– Play newborn noises: laughing, squealing, crying. Go to YouTube and get a soundtrack so the dog gets used to those sounds and make sure the pooch sees you calm and relaxed when those noises are playing.

– Understand your dog’s body language: If you understand when the dog is nervous, stressed or uncomfortable, then you can prevent an incident. Even if a dog yawns, that can be a sign of stress. A professional trainer can help with this.

– Educate kids: Teach them from a young age that many dogs don’t like being hugged – hugging is a human thing and dogs don’t understand it.

Are some breeds safer than others?

It all depends on the way the dog is brought up. There’s a stigma with staffies that they are not good family pets but in fact they are fantastic family pets as long as they are trained and raised correctly. People tend to go for smaller dogs with kids because they think there is less risk, but any dog can bite, it just depends on what you do to prevent it.