Dogs are known for their unconditional love and loyalty – so of course you want to extend those good feelings towards your baby. But babies mean big changes – going from top-dog to second on the priority list; so it goes without saying that your pooch may need some help adjusting to (and learning to love unconditionally) the new family member. Here’s a few tips to help foster the ‘sibling’ bond between furball and bub.
According to thebarkbuzz.com, your dog takes his cues from you – so having him around to see how you love your little one will help him emulate that emotion. This will take time, though, and plenty of patience – just as it would if you were expecting an only child to get used to a new brother or sister!
Because smell is their strongest sense, and their primary way of gathering information about the world, it’s best to start making your dog comfortable by getting him used to your baby’s scent. Let him sniff a piece of your baby’s clothing – but keep it in your hands and don’t allow any chewing.
Now it’s time for setting some boundaries. A dog may be a man’s best friend, however – babies are very different to adults, and for a while, your furry pal will not assume your bundle of joy is part of the family. In other words, there’ll be a lot of suspicion – which may manifest as fear or aggression – so keep baby and dog a safe distance apart for the first few weeks. And ensure you are always in the room should the two be together there.
Newborns have also never encountered animals before (or pretty much anything except for your uterus); so their etiquette may leave much to be desired. Watch that baby does not unwittingly provoke a negative reaction from your dog by doing the things that come naturally – making noise and pulling on appendages. Stick with space between the two until they have both learned how to be proper playmates.
Finally, do not encourage or react to any of your dog’s ‘bad’ behaviours – instead, see the misdemeanours for what they are; your BFF could be feeling put aside, so make sure you take time to make him feel special despite the change in pecking order. And remember, before baby, he was your baby!