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How to Prepare Your Dog for the Arrival of a New Baby: Tips and Advice

Baby and Dog

During pregnancy, future parents face preparations, fatigue, and sometimes even renovations. There are so many things to do and think about that can cause a feeling of neglect for the family dog.

Here are some tips to ensure that when the baby arrives, no one is left feeling sidelined.

Through pheromones and various scents, the dog can sense when its owner is pregnant. "Sometimes, he knows it even before she does," explains Elisabeth Figéa, a canine behavioral educator in Lyon, France. That's why it's essential to prepare for the baby's arrival during pregnancy. Especially since all these changes can have an impact on your dog. "Some will be irritable, excited, some will have a protective behavior towards their pregnant parents, details the behavioral educator, who advises communicating with the pet while conveying positive emotions related to the baby's arrival.

Gradually reducing the attention given to the dog, preferring more quality interaction moments, is a good way to prepare the animal for the arrival of a baby. This period, as wonderful as the birth of a child is, also brings along stress, fatigue, and less attention given to the pet. These are all emotions that the dog feels. For an owner concerned about the well-being of their pet, it is therefore crucial to adopt the right attitude.

Conveying positive emotions

At birth, Elisabeth Figéa recommends bringing the baby's belongings home so that the dog can smell them. "You have to present the baby's clothes, but also the mother's, to create a sort of olfactory introduction." You can even bring back diapers or dirty laundry, "it's better to do too much than too little," adds Elizabeth. By doing this, the dog assimilates new smells that will be familiar to him when the mother and child return home. Introductions between the dog and the child should be done in a calm moment. "Parents must convey positive emotions," adds Elisabeth Figéa.

During the first few months, the attention given to the dog is less important, and the dog understands that this is in favor of the baby. "We can't say it's jealousy per se, but since dogs function by associations, they will associate the baby with having less time with their masters," explains the educator. Fortunately, this canine thought process is not one-way. "We will give reinforcements to the dog when we see the baby, so the dog makes a positive association," recommends Elisabeth Figéa, before adding, "involving the pet in activities related to the child helps it become aware of the baby's presence."

A unique bond

This work is necessary for the well-being of your dog. By doing so, you avoid potential accidents. But it's also to create a unique bond between your pet and your child, a relationship that a canine educator can testify to. "My son has an incredible relationship with my dog. He has made him do things that I could never have asked him to do." Because it's important not to forget that once your child is on their two feet, their best friend will most likely be the family dog.

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