If there is one thing that my baby absolutely loves, it’s our dog – Marley. Fern is 6-months-old now and in the past couple of months, the two of them have become more and more interactive. One of my favorite things to do is lay Fern down on the floor next to Marley and watch the two of them play together. Fern isn’t much of a giggler, but Marley can make her laugh like nobody’s business. The relationship that these two have wasn’t by accident though – my husband and I have been very purposeful in preparing our dog for our baby.
Here are some of the things that helped us to prepare our fur baby for our human baby…
1. Give your dog a chance to spend time around other children.
We got Marley as a puppy and any time we encountered children we would ask parents if it was alright to let her interact with their little ones. We wanted her to be used to these little creatures long before we ever had one of our own.
2. Poke and prod at your dog.
Babies don’t have very good control over their fine motor skills right away and as such, their interactions with pets tend to involve a lot of pulling, poking and prodding. Getting your dog used to this ahead of time is a good idea and really helped us. We would playfully and gently pull on Marley’s ears or tug as her tail and watch for her reaction. We made it sort of a game, so now when Fern accidentally pokes her in the eye she doesn’t even react.
3. Play near your dog during meal times.
Dogs can get very possessive when it comes to their food. When I was a kid, we had a dog who would snap at you if you went anywhere near him while he was eating. It was never a big problem, because my parents just instilled in us that we should never go near him while he was eating, but this wasn’t something I wanted to worry about with our little one. From puppyhood we’ve made sure to spend time playing with Marley on occasion while she’s eating from her dog dish and if she was chewing on a bone we would take it out of her mouth playfully. So far the issue hasn’t come up, but now we know our dog will be ready if it ever does happen.
4. Prepare your pet for the scents and sounds of a baby.
If at all possible, bring home a blanket or article of clothing that has Baby’s scent on it before you actually bring your baby home. This way your dog will have a chance to get used the the new scents about to bombard your home. You can also begin turning on baby equipment (swings, white noise machines, etc…) from time to time in the weeks leading up to your due date so that none of these noises will be startling for your dog when they start happening regularly.
5. Give your furry friend plenty of attention.
Once you bring home Baby, things are bound to get a little busy, but make sure to still give as much love and attention for you pup as you can manage. Dogs get jealous, just like people, so finding ways to keep them included in your new routines is important for keeping them happy and accepting of your new baby.
What did you do to help prepare your pet for your little one?