HARTFORD, Conn. — Bringing home a newborn baby for the first time is always memorable, but it can be problematic if you have an aggressive or territorial dog at home. The Connecticut Humane Society does see a few cases where the owners will have to give up their family dog because it doesn’t get along with the new human child.
Susan Wolschlager from the Connecticut Humane Society says with a little preparation and training, you can avoid that stress and ensure a safer environment for everybody to coexist peacefully.
She says, “You can start things early. The first and probably easiest thing to do is to make sure your dog is really in tip top shape on their listening skills, their self-control, and their commands.”
I reached out to Tails U Win, a dog training center in Manchester. Cindy LaPorte has decades of experience learning canine behavior, and told us, “The biggest thing is setting the dogs up to be correct, to be successful, and not to ever punish the dog in the presence of the new baby in the room.”
She says you also want to prepare your pooch for the sounds that come along with a newborn, as ear piercing as they may be. Something as simple as a Youtube clip of a crying baby may help to acclimate your dog to the screech from a newborn baby.
So now it’s time to bring baby home. At the moment you walk in the door, Cindy says, “I would have it just as calm as possible and walk in matter of factly.”
And while of course it’s important to cater to the baby’s needs, you have to remember your dog needs a safe place for when they’re feeling overwhelmed. LaPorte told us that keeping the dog’s crate or bed off-limits to the baby is important. As the kid grows older, it’s wise to give your dog the option to go relax if the baby is stressing them out.
And one last bit of advice from Susan: “Just like with kids, a routine makes your animal feel safe, they know what to expect. It’s comforting to them.”
It comes down to preparation and remaining calm when the introduction is made. As the baby grows up, teach him or her to respect the animal and be gentle. Your dog will appreciate it, and hopefully they’ll return the favor!
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