Preparing your family for life with your dog and a new baby

The wild hormones, the sleepless nights, the aching private bits, the scream of a new born baby… nothing can really prepare you for becoming a first-time parent. Bringing your baby home is daunting on its own, let alone trying to prepare your dog for your new arrival. In today’s post I will do my best to give you some tips and advice to help prepare your dog for your new baby and ensure that your dog’s world isn’t entirely flipped upside down when the baby arrives.


The Change. 

From being your only child, your dog will very quickly move down the ranks when you bring that baby home. Dogs love routine. So before the baby arrives, start to think about some of the changes that might occur to your dog’s world and start to introduce them before the bub arrives. For example, if you currently let your dog on your bed or your couch but you don’t want that to happen when you bring your baby home, start training them now. If you don’t want the dog going into the baby’s room uninvited, start putting the boundaries up now. If you don’t think you will be able to walk your dog at 8am every day like you do now, start mixing it up. Start to drip feed the changes to your dog a little bit at a time, rather than making all the changes at once which can be a lot for the dog to handle. If you do this before the baby arrives, your dog will be more relaxed and prepared when the big day comes.


The Walk.

I know this sounds a little silly, but get your dog used to walking beside the pram before the baby arrives. The pram is generally a purchase that is made before the baby’s arrival, so it’s a good idea to get the dog comfortable around the pram without the baby in it to start with. And yes – that is pregnant me in the photo walking Cooper with an empty pram! Super embarrassing yes – but so worth it! Cooper learnt to walk so well with the pram and it’s really paid off as now we walk every day with no issues. If your dog pulls on the lead, make sure to get the walk right first without the pram, before adding the pram in the mix.

Preparing dog for new baby

Yep that’s me, pregnant with Harper, walking with an empty pram!

Preparing dog for new baby

Make sure to reward your dogs good behaviour.

The Touch.

Baby’s and kids are curious beings and like to explore with touch and feel – and this means your dog could be in the firing line to some roaming baby fingers. So you must get your dog used to being poked and prodded everywhere. Gosh, I remember the day I turned around and saw Harper standing there with her hand in Cooper’s mouth. He just stood there looking at me. And it happened with Paxton too, but he stuck his fingers up Cooper’s nose. Those moments always make me feels so proud of Cooper and all the hard work we did with him as a puppy. When I did my dog training course, the trainer taught us to sit down every night with the puppy and just give them a bit of a rub down, poke and pull; touching every part of their body – paw pads, tail, inside the ears, mouth, everywhere. Not only does this help big time when going to the vet and being examined but it also means that when your baby turns into an annoying toddler who likes to pull, poke and prod – your dog should be ok with it. In saying this, not all dogs are as understanding and tolerant as Cooper. All it takes is one second for you to turn your back and something to happen. So please never leave your dog and baby/kids unattended.


The Attention.

I know this may be super difficult for some, but a big pitfall is to give your dog extra attention in the lead up to having the baby. Some fur parents think this is a good idea because they feel bad that the baby is coming and they won’t have time for the dog. But if anything, it works the other way. If you start getting them used to having not as much attention in the lead up, then it will be easier for them when baby comes and hopeful they won’t be as needy. It’s also a good idea to make sure they have some great toys that can help to entertain themselves on their own.Preparing dog for new baby

Safe Zone.

Make sure your dog knows it has a safe kid-free area in your house. The laundry is a good idea. Or even just a doggy door so the dog knows it can go outside and relax in peace. We regularly find Cooper outside around 5.30-7pm (mad time in our house). More often than not, I wish I could join him!


Other Children.

Get your dog used to being around friends and family’s babies and toddlers if you can. If in doubt, always do this in a controlled environment, starting by keeping your dog on the lead so you have full control over your dog. Click here to read more about Teaching your Dog how to Behave around Children.


The Smell. 

There is a misconception that getting your dog to smell a blanket, it everything when it comes to preparation. But this is not the case. Yes, dogs can get very excited by new smells. But your dog has already smelt so many different hormones on you in the lead up to the arrival of your baby, and especially if your waters break at home. In saying this, I know for so many families this is a something they like to do, as it is tangible. So if this is something you would like to do, please don’t make it too big of a deal. We don’t want to excite our dog as we want them to learn to be calm around the baby. We just want them to have a sniff. Once bub is born and you are in hospital, you can give your partner some of the baby’s worn clothes and/or dirty nappy clothes, for the dog to smell before you come home with the baby. Make it short and sweet. Let them sniff and if they are calm about it, give them a little treat and move on.

Preparing dog for new baby

Cooper having a sniff of Paxton’s dirty clothes before bringing him home from hospital

Preparing dog for new baby

This behaviour should be rewarded. Calm and relaxed despite the exciting new smells of our baby.

The Sounds.

Babies also come with lots of new and interesting sounds, many will be new to your dog and some may already be familiar. The obvious is the sound of a new born cry. New borns can also be very noisy sleepers. We really want our dogs to remain calm when they hear these sounds. The last thing we need is for them to react, become stressed, anxious, etc. So, I strongly advise grabbing a copy of Lewis Kirkham’s, “Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby”. It is a fantastic book about everything I have discussed in this post. Plus it comes with a CD of all different baby sounds, so you can actually prepare and desensitise your dog to these noises and get them even more ready for the new arrival (I am in no way affiliated with this book – I just think it’s bloody fantastic and you should all buy a copy!). Another sound that very often comes with babies, is the sound of squeaky toys. Cooper loves squeaky toys! So very early on, Jase and I made the decision that squeaky toys would be for Cooper and not for the baby. He just gets so excited by them that we didn’t want to risk him bowling the baby over with excitement if a baby toy squeaked. The trade off was that the baby would have soft toys and Cooper wouldn’t. So in the months before Harper was born, we removed all of Cooper’s soft toys. That way he didn’t associate the removal of his soft toys with the arrival of baby Harper.


Preparing to become a new parent is so daunting and exciting all at the same time. Set yourself and your dog up for success. I know I’ve provided you with some basic hint and tips but if you’re at all are worried about your dog and how it may behave when bringing a baby home, please seek professional help before the baby arrives. Don’t take risks. Be safe.


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

Lastly, it is so important to make sure the introduction of dog and baby goes smoothly, so make sure to have a read of my post Introducing your Dog to your New Baby.

Let me know if you have any more questions on this and I’d be happy to help.


Mel xox


Ps. I am very excited to let you guys know that this article has also been featured on Mamamia !

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. Amelie Yates
    Amelie Yates says:

    Hi there, Thanks for putting such an effort in developing this post. You have solved mine and every parent’s problem. My dog is a wonderful pet and he seems to be waiting desperately for the new comer in the family. I hope they get along well.

  2. Cooper and Kids
    Cooper and Kids says:

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks, I’m so glad you found it helpful.

    Make sure to have a read of this article I wrote, it has lots of information on bringing baby home to meet you puppy. Lewis Kirkham’s, “Tell Your Dog You’re Pregnant: An essential guide for dog owners who are expecting a baby”. is also a fantastic book with lots of great info.

    Please let me know if i can help further.