How do I introduce my baby to my dog?

Many couples think of their dog as their first “baby,” and there’s no question that your furry friend views you as their parents! Dogs are very in tune with human emotions, and your pup will notice things around the house shifting as you get ready to welcome your baby. By slowly introducing your dog to little changes throughout your entire pregnancy, you can prepare them to welcome their new “sibling” to your home!

Dropping hints to your dog that you’re expecting.

Most dogs thrive on routine, and they don’t know how to cope with drastic changes in their daily lives. Take these steps while you’re still pregnant to minimize your dog’s anxiety when you bring home your newborn:

  • Sign your dog up for obedience class. This is a great time to brush up on some classic commands that will help your pup behave around your newborn, including Stay, Sit, Back, and Lie Down.
  • Introduce your fur baby to other tiny humans. If your dog hasn’t been around children before, you can bring them to a park to help them get used to the sights and sounds that will soon fill your home.
  • Use a baby doll for a test run. When your dog sees you talking sweetly to a faux bundle of joy or bringing along a stroller on your walks, they can start to learn how to share your attention.
  • Bank some quality time. Your dog can sense that you’re going through a wide range of emotions throughout your pregnancy. Take some time to slow down and cuddle with them; you’ll both appreciate it.

Staging a meet-cute for your newborn and pup.

Get a head start on your baby’s first impression by having someone bring a baby blanket or onesie to your home while you’re still in the hospital after delivery. That way, your dog gets a sneak peek of your baby’s scent before you bring home your bundle of joy.

When you first arrive home, let someone else hold the baby while you go inside and greet your pup. Then, have someone put them on a leash while you bring your new baby inside for the first time. 

Pro tip: Make sure that person has some treats on hand to reward your pup for being so good!

When you decide it’s time for your dog to officially meet your newborn, have somebody leash your dog and slowly walk them towards you and your baby. Let the dog gently sniff your baby, making sure to talk cheerfully and give them treats for being calm and quiet. 

Dogs are very in tune with human emotions

They’ll be best friends before you know it! 

During the first few weeks or months after your baby’s arrival, your dog may feel like their world’s been turned upside down. These tips can help keep your fur baby feeling happy and excited about the new addition to your family:

  • Try to give your dog extra love and attention when the baby is awake. 
  • Reward your dog often for good behavior around the baby.
  • Install safety gates to keep your pup out of your newborn’s room, and never leave your dog and your newborn together unattended.
  • As your baby gets older, teach them how to be gentle with your pet. 
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Dogs can act out when they feel ignored, so enlisting a friend or family member for the occasional walk or play date can help your dog feel loved and stimulated while you’re caring for your newborn.

The most important thing to remember is that it’ll take time for your dog and your baby to bond. Create meaningful interactions when you can, and they’ll build a foundation for a lifelong friendship!

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September 29, 2022 — Stephanie McClintock