Our 4-legged babies are a part of the family.
But as much as we may anthropomorphize them, we need to remember that they are animals. The friendliest dog can still be unpredictable in certain situations.
I recently attended a workshop about introducing your baby to your dog given by Robin from Fydoland. She gave us some really get tips on keeping babies safe while assuring dogs that they will not be abandoned.
Understanding canine body language is important since it is their primary form of communication.
These are some signs that your dog is anxious or uncomfortable:
- ears too far forward or too far back
- tail stiff or moving too fast
- tail between legs
- hair on his back standing up
- stiff body
- head tucked down
- teeth showing
- stalking position
An anxious dog is not ready to meet your new baby.
Get to know your dog — How well does your dog handle change? New people? New surroundings? Knowing how well he does with new situations will help you know how to prepare him for bringing baby home.
It’s a good idea to not “baby” your dog (especially as you get close to bringing your real baby home). Make sure that you are training your dog by providing exercise, teaching them commands, and making them earn your love and attention. If you notice that your dog might need more training, consider classes or hiring a trainer.
Young dogs can see children as litter mates, while older dogs can see children as nuisances. Dogs will defend their resources — food, toys and people. It’s important to always supervise the interactions between your dog and your baby.
Never leave them alone together.
In Part 2, we’ll talk about things to do in the weeks leading up to bringing baby home and in Part 3, we’ll go over how to make the first introduction go smoothly.
If you ever have any concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional dog trainer.