What To Expect When You’re Expecting! Introducing Your New Bundle of Joy to Your Furry Four-Legged Family

Story by Jeremy Brown, The Complete Canine

Expecting a baby can be a stressful time in the family, so we will look at ways to alleviate some of the stress that comes with introducing your pets to this curious new little family member. By planning ahead, there are many things that you can do to make for a less anxious event. For starters, bringing the scent of the newborn home before the dog and baby meet one another, will not only desensitize your pup to a chaotic situation, but it can be an integral part of the introduction process. Adding a canine to the family requires different approaches considering the age of the kids and dog. Rushing any introduction can cause difficulties to arise, so calming your pet will help immensely.

Adding a Baby to The Pack

When bringing a new baby into the family, there are things you can do to help dogs adjust. It’s important to train and set boundaries in the new baby area.Training them to stay and go to their bed or space can help them gain control when they are around the baby in the future. Desensitizing your pup to young voices like crying and small children before the baby comes home can be beneficial. I recommend playing baby sounds, cries, and noises, you can find them online. Rewarding your dog shortly after hearing the new sounds will help make these new noises familiar before they are the new constant. I especially like to do this if the dog is particularly sensitive to noises. Rewarding them with high-value treats will drive the message home faster. Hot dogs and cheese are my go-to rewards! Once the baby has arrived, bring home a blanket or article of clothing that the newborn has worn. Let your pup sniff and reward him around that smell. When meeting for the first time, introduce your dog in a neutral location, such as the front or back yard of the home. Being outside helps those canines that are more territorial or more reactive in their space, plus the outdoor distractions help the canine to not focus solely on the baby. Keep your dog on a leash to help control where they go and how excited they become. I recommend walking past the newborn at a distance and gradually getting closer as they’re doing well. Keeping the actual greetings short at first can help too. I look at this like doing reps at the gym, more short introductions are better than one long greeting that may not go as well as expected.

Dog and Baby Safety

Dogs can sniff the baby, but never force the introduction by initiating
Include the canine in a comfortable and safe way
Isolation can magnify potential issues
Never scold the canine for being curious
Supervision is important!

Adding a Puppy to the Pack

Adding a puppy to the family requires a different approach, but being proactive can make this process less stressful as well. Having a special space for the puppy, like an exercise pen or crate is vital. This allows the pup to have a safe space to be in, as well as preventing accidents and destruction. Preventing chewing is important, so having ample things for your puppy to chew on like Kongs, Bully Sticks, etc can help alleviate the stress of adding to the family. Bitter sprays also prevent destruction, so find one that works to help in moments when you are not able to keep your eyes on them. Short interactions between young humans and the puppy can help keep control of both of their actions and keep everyone safe. Keeping your new pup on a leash and under control in new situations is vital for success. Training can be a wonderful asset as it helps confidently connect new family members and set boundaries!

Ways to Calm the Canine With the New Transition

Tellington T touch “TTouch”, is A calming touch method you can use to help them relax. www.ttouch.com
Calming Collars (Sentry or Adaptil)
Rescue Remedy
Calming Treats

Examples of High-Value Rewards

(Rewards that are so special and happen only for those difficult or new moments)
Hot Dog
Freeze-dried beef liver
Lunch Meat
Something extra special
(doggy’s choice)
For more information and training contact The Complete Canine completecaninetucson@gmail.com



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