Introducing your dog to your new baby

Not sure if you can tell by the huge smile on my face in the pic below, but introducing my dog Cooper, to my first human-baby, Harper, was probably one of the most exciting and special moments of my life! For me, and for like many of you other mammas or mammas to be, bringing your new baby home to meet your fur baby is an experience that you very much look forward to and one that you hope goes smoothly. In this post, I run through why introducing your dog to your new baby is so important and how to do it safely.

Introducing dog to new baby

The first time Cooper met Harper!

It is important that your dog and baby get off on the right foot, as first impressions are important.  We want to ensure that your dog has a pleasant experience with your baby right from the start. So please make sure to put some thought into how you are going to do this. The likelihood is that a new-born baby is something that is going to be completely new to your dog so whether you choose to allow your dog to investigate the baby right away or to wait until a later time, it’s important that you arrange the meeting carefully.

 

When coming home from hospital, make sure to have your excited reunion with your dog, before bringing the baby in as you want to encourage your dog to be calm around the baby. When we got home from the hospital, Jase stayed in the car with Harper and I went inside to see Cooper. I knew that he would be crazy excited as my hospital stay was the longest we’d been apart in ages. I was also super pumped to see him. So, we had our reunion inside and it was amazing.

Introducing dog to new baby

We are very lucky in the sense that Cooper is just a good dog. He has never displayed any form of aggression to anyone so I wasn’t worried about him getting territorial over the baby. But we were a little concerned about him getting overexcited and potentially knocking over or squashing the baby and licking her. So, we had to set some boundaries very early on.

 

Once Cooper was calm, we put his lead on him so we could have full control when introducing him to Harper. I had a little stash of his favourite treats set up so we could reward his positive and calm behaviour around her. It is very important to stay calm and positive for the first meeting – as you want to convince your dog that meeting and interacting with the new baby is fun and not stressful. Jase came inside the house with Harper, Cooper was very curious and sniffing everything. Having him on the lead was a saviour, as it allowed us to create those boundaries straight away. We let him have a good sniff, starting with her feet. We rewarded his positive and calm behaviour with treats. He did get a little overexcited a couple of times, so we pulled him back and gave him a little break before the next interaction. And it went on like that, until he was totally calm and just left her alone.

Introducing dog to new baby

Me, Harper and Cooper

During the interaction, make sure to really pay attention to the body language of your dog. If your dog stays calm and relaxed; praise and reward him. But if your dog looks uncomfortable and stressed out at any point, please do not rush this. If you have a territorial dog and you are concerned about aggression, anxiety, etc when bringing the baby home, I suggest you introduce baby and dog out of the house first, on mutual territory, so perhaps on a walk in the street. It will help to make the situation less confronting and stressful for your dog. And if you are really concerned, please make sure to do this in the presence of a professional dog trainer.

Introducing dog to new baby

When Cooper first met Paxton

** And please, no matter how much you trust your dog, always ensure your dog and child are supervised when together.

 

If you haven’t already read my post on How to Prepare your Dog for your Baby, make sure to click this link and have a read now. Life with a new born will be so much easier for you and your dog if you have prepared your dog before the baby comes. Let me know if you have any more questions on this and I’d be happy to help or if you have any personal experiences you’d like to share, I’d love to hear them.

 

Mel xox

Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. I will not be liable for anything that happens to your dog or children by following my advice and tips. If you have real concerns or worries about your dog and/or safety of your children, please seek out a professional to come and assess the situation.

 


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