MEL’S Q&A WITH MELISSA: Tips for Preparing dog for new baby

That’s right, today is the 1st of the month, so it’s time to answer YOUR questions!

Today, Melissa is our lucky soon-to-be mum whose Golden Retriever, Leo, needs a bit more preparation before her first baby is born. I am here to answer her questions and help her with some good tips for preparing dog for new baby…

preparing dog for baby

Melissa with Leo

MELISSA’S Question 1:

What tips do you have when introducing the dog to your new baby? 

MY ANSWER: It’s so important that this introduction is done right. You want to create a happy and positive environment for your dog when you bring baby home. This is not something that should be rushed and in fact it’s SO important that I’ve written a whole post about it. Make sure to Click here to have a read of all my tips for introducing your dog to your new baby.

preparing dog for baby

Leo sleeping on Melissa’s pregnant belly

MELISSA’S Question 2

Is there any specific training you found useful when preparing dog for new baby?

MY ANSWER: YES, there’s lots you can start doing now to prepare your dog for the baby. Rather than having Leo’s world flipped upside does when the baby arrives, you can actually start implementing some of these changes now. You want your dog to be happy with the arrival of the new baby and not associate it with lots of negative changes, i.e. less walks, less attention, not being allowed on the couch anymore, etc. So my advice is to get onto it NOW! As this is also such an important topic, I have also written an entire post on it. So please click here to have a read of my article on Preparing your Dog for your New Baby.

preparing dog for baby

Melissa and Leo spending some quality time together

MELISSA’S Question 3

I currently sleep with my door shut so my dog doesn’t come in during the night. I imagine this will change when I have the baby. Do you have any suggestions for how to stop the dog from coming into your room during the night?

MY ANSWER: My best tip for this is to get onto it now!! As mentioned above, the earlier you slowly introduce these changes before the baby comes, the better off both you and your dog will be. Don’t wait do them all at once. It will mean you will have less to worry about when you have a new born baby keeping you up all night (but let’s hope that’s not the case either). My hubby Jase and I also used to sleep with the door closed until the kids came along. We now sleep with our door a tiny bit open so we can hear if the kids call out. I suggest trying it tonight and seeing what Leo does. If he has a bed outside of your room, make sure he knows the command “on your bed”. That way, if he tries coming into your room, you just say, “on your bed” and he knows what it means. Alternatively, you could put him to sleep in his own room like a laundry if you have one. If you don’t have another room for him, and he is constantly testing the boundaries and trying to sneak his way in, I would suggest putting up a baby gate outside your room initially to teach him that it is out of bounds. Eventually you should be able to remove this and he will understand that there is an “invisible boundary”. Just make sure to get onto this before the baby comes.

 

To train your dog the “on your bed” command, get some delicious treats that you know your dog will love (click here for Cooper’s favourite training treats) . Put them to your dog’s nose and literally lead him to the bed/mat/towel/blanket you want him to lie on, say the command “on your bed” and once he is on the bed (preferably lying down) give him the treat. You want him to stay there and not jump straight up. So make sure to give him lots of praise and rewards when he is calmly lying on his bed. Make it a positive and happy place for him to be. Practice this throughout the day, so that when it comes to night time, he will know what to do. Like any new training, you need to be persistent and patient. Don’t get frustrated if he doesn’t get it straight away, just keep up the positive reinforcement. I promise you, this command will be a goodie for when the baby arrives too, especially if you have a needy dog who loves attention. It’s command for your dog to know as it will really help to give you a bit of personal space while breastfeeding and settling your new baby or when you have visitors come over who don’t want to be bothered by a boisterous dog.

preparing dog for baby

Melissa with her husband and Leo

MELISSA’S Question 4

My dog often pulls on the lead when walking. Do you have any tips for how to control him, especially when walking with a baby and a pram? 

MY ANSWER: My big tip for you is let’s get it right without the pram first and then once he’s walking nicely we can introduce the pram. Start small and slowly work your way up always trying to set him up for success. First practice walking him on lead in the house, always having him on your left side. Once he’s mastered that, move out to your garden, then down your driveway. Get it right in quiet places before introducing distractions. Once he gets the hang of walking nicely in quiet places, try taking him out to a quiet street, get it right there, always rewarding the good behaviour, then move onto a slightly busier street. Just keep working your way up. I’m not too fussed about making your dog heal by your side the entire walk, you just want a lose lead, so he is not pulling you. Teach him the “look” command to get his focus in a busy environment, so he looks up to you and gives you eye contact, rather focusing on what’s exciting him and making him pull.

 

To teach your dog the “look” command, hold a treat in your hand, show it to him by literally putting it in front of his nose so he can smell how delicious it is, then put the treat up to your eye so he looks at you (the Get WAG liver treats are great for this). Give him the treat as soon as he gives you eye contact. Not all dogs love direct eye contact, so don’t push it or hold a stare for too long, it should be very quick. You just want him to shift his focus to you so that when he’s distracted out in a busy place, he knows if you say “look” and he changes his focus to you, he will get rewarded. You can practice this with him sitting or standing, it doesn’t matter. But ultimately on the walk, he will be standing when doing it.

 

Give all that a go being very patient and persistent. It will take time and effort to get this right. But make sure to get it all right first and then introduce the pram. If after a few solid weeks of practice practice practice and you are getting nowhere, I strongly advise getting a dog trainer to come in and help you out. It’s so nice as a new mum to be able to walk your dog and baby together confidently. So definitely worthwhile putting in the effort now to get it right.

preparing dog for baby

The gorgeous Leo cooling off on a hot day!

Melissa, I hope this has answered all your questions…

Good luck! Please get in touch if there is something else I can help you with. I would love to hear how you go with Leo so please keep us up to date with your progress.

 

How YOU can get involved with Mel’s Q&A’s

Please feel free to comment below with your questions or get in touch via email [email protected]. I would love for you to send me through 3-4 questions you may have about your kids/babies/mumlife/dogs and if you get lucky, I will feature your questions in a blog post on my website!

 

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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  1. Wiki
    Wiki says:

    Hello ,

    I saw your tweet about animals and thought I will check your website. I like it!

    I love pets. I have two beautiful thai cats called Tammy(female) and Yommo(male). Yommo is 1 year older than Tommy. He acts like a bigger brother for her. 🙂
    I have even created an Instagram account for them ( https://www.instagram.com/tayo_home/ ) and probably soon they will have more followers than me (kinda funny).

    I have subscribed to your newsletter. 🙂

    Keep up the good work on your blog.

    Regards
    Wiki

  2. Jen
    Jen says:

    A dog psychologist recommended a Gentle Leader for our golden when i was pregnant, and he walks like a dream next to the pram! It took a lot of treats to get him used to it but he doesn’t pull at all! Good luck!

  3. Cooper and Kids
    Cooper and Kids says:

    Thanks so much for sharing that with us Jen! And yes, Gentle leaders can be fantastic for some dogs. It didn’t work for us as Cooper got so bothered by it, he ended up giving himself a rash from scratching it so much, but i have heard lots of success stories with them too.