Having a loyal friend for your entire life is one of the best feelings in the world. It is commonly known that dog is man’s best friend, and it is not without reason. Dogs have a millennia-long history of loyalty, close relation and companionship with man.
Dogs reciprocate the feelings of their owners and tend to get possessive and jealous about their companions. Therefore, if you are about to have a baby or in general, want to make your dog familiar with your baby, it should be done in a systematic manner to avoid any kind of accidents.
You can adopt the following measures to ensure a safe way of introducing your dog to your baby.
Self-awareness in this matter is important. You need to be aware of the significance of your actions. If you are pregnant, you should have control over your emotions so as not to let any negative emotions out that your dog would counter. Make sure to educate yourself about training a dog according to its breed and observe its behavior around strangers to plan your introductory meeting accordingly.
Train Your Dog
It is plain ignorance if you believe your dog is already trained and it won’t be a problem. No matter how trained your dog is, it will need additional training before meeting your baby.
- Communicate with your dog and talk to it about the incoming child. Dogs are able to sense our emotions, and communication allows them to feel what we feel.
- Show your dog some baby stuff such as clothes and the location of the baby’s bed.
- Incorporate slow changes into your dog’s routine. Train it to stay away from certain things and teach it to leave when signaled.
- Keep a stronger control over your dog so that you are able to handle the situation when your dog is too excited.
Plan the First Meet
For the development of a good relationship between your dog and baby, it is essential that you pre-plan their first interaction instead of directly bringing the child in front of the dog. For the first interaction, make sure your dog is in a calm state.
Calming Your Dog
- Take your dog out on a long walk.
- Play with it.
- Make sure it is properly fed and not hungry.
- Make sure your dog is done with its business.
- Keep your dog in a pleased and happy state.
- The long walk and playing will tire out the dog and make it less excited and, hence, calmer.
When you bring your baby, do not place it too close to your dog. Rather, keep a safe distance and gradually reduce the distance according to your dog’s reaction. Before bringing your baby closer, allow the dog to sniff and familiarize itself with the child from a distance.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Show the dog how the baby is sensitive and is to be protected and taken care of during each baby chore like feeding, a diaper change or tucking in the baby for sleep. All these actions should be carried out by all members of the family so that it is evident that everyone is respecting the new baby. As a result, the dog will also respect the new baby and not consider it as a stranger.
Make your dog aware of its boundaries. Teach it not to go toward the nursery or where the baby is sleeping. Train it to leave the room when you require privacy.
Don’t Overdo Things
It is a common misconception that upon the arrival of a baby, the dog should be given more attention. Don’t overdo the process and don’t provide the dog with any extra unnecessary attention. Otherwise, your pet will start thinking it is the leader and it will be difficult to get it under control.
On the flip side, do not give time to your dog only when your baby is asleep. This creates ill feelings between the dog and the baby. Keep a balance and give time to both while they are awake.
Before you introduce your baby, take your dog to the vet and carry out routine tests. Make sure your dog is vaccinated and not sick. Also, ensure it does not have lice, mites or anything of the sort that could be harmful to the baby’s health in any way.
Keep an Eye on Everything
Never leave even the most trusted dog(s) with the baby alone, especially in the beginning. It is very important that you observe your dog’s reaction to the various activities the baby does and keep an eye on it 24/7. It is better to keep a cage around the baby’s crib if you feel the need to. That would also enable your dog to get a sense of boundaries.
Companionship – Two-Way Street
Respect and love are a two-way street. If you are putting all this effort into developing respect in your dog for your baby, you also need to develop those feelings in the mind of your baby. Only when both participants show these feelings of respect will they get along and be great companions.
The introductory plan is flexible and can be adjusted to your needs and the way you want to perform it, but the important consideration is that you must develop a plan. Developing a good relationship between your dog and baby will provide your baby with the best loyal companion for life. Furthermore, taking care of a dog shows your baby while it is still developing about love, care and responsibilities. Dogs can also significantly raise a child’s self-esteem.
Accidents do occur and dog bites are dangerous and injurious, but they can be avoided if the correct measures are followed and necessary precautions are taken.