Most parents dream of raising a dog with their child who will become a lifelong friend of the kid. This can generate a lot of excitement for new parents, who have cherished memories of owning Fido as a child or always wanted a furbaby. However, furbabies are just like kids and having two babies – one with two legs and another with four legs – can lead a few skirmishes if you are not well-prepared.
Here are 7 strategies to help you out so that harmony prevails between your baby and furbaby
- Socialize Your Furbaby
It goes with saying that your furbaby needs to socialize with other infants, toddlers and kids before he can be introduced to a little one at home. This process should begin early, long before you go into labour! Take your dog to check out kids playing in the neighbourhood park, or ask friends with infants and kids to visit you so that Fido becomes used to having a child at home. Reward your dog with treats and praise him when stays calm around babies and kids. This will create a positive association.
- Introduce to Your Baby
Don’t spring your baby on Fido and accept him to behave as though everything is hunky-dory. Instead, your dog should be introduced to your baby in a gradual manner. When you return from the hospital with your newborn, allow mommy to enter the house first without the baby so that your dog can greet her and spend few precious moments with her. Then, leash the dog and command it to sit down. Let your partner bring in the baby. Slowly walk towards him and allow him to sniff the baby’s toes. Once your dog’s curiosity is satisfied, he will be fine. In all probability, your furbaby will not be very interested in your baby.
- Habituate Fido to Baby Sounds and Routines
It is necessary that your dog gets used to the new sounds of the baby, smells and other routines involving your baby. It is important your doggie doesn’t get anxious or stressed with the new family member. You can take your dog with you when you go on walks with your baby. Or, let him stay in the same room while you change diapers. By including your dog in these routines, you will be making them a norm for him.
- Create a Dog Zone
Your furbaby too needs his space. So create a zone exclusively for your dog which is out of bounds for the baby. This sanctuary will help your dog relax when having a new baby in the house gets hectic and stressful.
- Don’t Leave Your Baby Alone with the Dog
Remember, your dog will not recognize your baby as an integral part of the family. The new smells and changes in the routine can stress out your dog. So keep Fido out of the nursery, but with you so that he is relaxed in your company. And, when you are spending time with your newborn, your furbaby can stay, but never think of leaving your baby alone with him.
- Avoid Sibling Rivalry
Dogs can get jealous of newborn babies, especially when they are neglected, due to the new arrival. So, if you want your dog to adore your baby, it is necessary, he gets to share you with the baby. Make sure when the baby is around, you also pay attention to Fido.
- Learn Your Dog’s Moods
You should learn to figure out if your dog is getting stressed around your baby. Allowing your dog to get plenty of exercise will help de-stress him. If you notice whining or avoidance, it is best to keep the two apart until your dog accepts your baby as an integral part of the family.