Bringing a new baby into the household that already has a puppy living in it can prove to be a little difficult at times. You need to understand that a puppy who has been in the house for a while views the home as his territory and when you bring home a small child then this toy-like new person can feel like a threat. There is no best way to prepare for this scenario, however we do have a few suggestions to help your puppy adjust to the new arrival of your baby:
1. Once your new baby comes home, the puppy is going to experience times when he will be ignored. It is just unstoppable and he must get used to it. Your baby will need your full and undivided attention and sometimes your dog may not be able to participate.
In order to start helping your puppy adjust to these times, start by ignoring him at least one full hour every day. This exercise should be practiced a few weeks before the due date of your baby. Be sure that you are in the house doing something simple such as watching TV or folding your clothes, etc.
2. Keep in mind that you're going to have a lot of baby items laying around the house, especially toys. While you can do your best to keep your home clear of these toys, there are times when your dog may make an attempt to grab them. Therefore, you must try to discourage your puppy from eating the toys.
You can do this by having a few baby toys laying on the floor next to his play items. When he goes and reaches for the baby toys, give him the "no" command and then shift his attention to one of his own toys. One way to make your dog remember the difference in the toys is to mark all the baby's toys with mouthwash. Soon he will associate the "no" command with the smell and taste of mouthwash and ignore the toys altogether. Needless to say, dogs hate the smell and taste of mouthwash products.
3. You are going to have to allow your puppy to sniff and get used to the baby. However, keep in mind that babies love to tug and pull at everything they see. This may startle your puppy when the baby goes to tug at him. So in order to get your puppy used to this behavior, start by tugging and pulling at your puppy whenever you praise him. For example, give his ears a quick tug when you pet him. Grab at his coat when you go to praise him. And for extra training, perhaps make some baby sounds as you go along. Remember, your goal is to have your puppy desensitized to the new sounds and actions that your baby will display when he or she arrives at the home.
Check back for next blog post: How to Handle Your Jealous Puppy When the New Baby Arrives