Top tips for introducing your puppy and newborn

Most expectant parents have plenty of time to spend preparing for a baby, but it can be an unpleasant surprise for your four-legged family members! So why do some pups find it hard when a new baby joins the family?

A new baby means a lot of big changes for your pup, their routine will be completely thrown off and this can cause a lot of anxiety.

As much as we tell ourselves it won’t happen, a new baby will also mean less attention for your pup, a lot of changes to their environment and a lot of well-wishers invading their space.

What can we do to help puppies get used to babies?

Gradually set up equipment for example; highchairs, playpens, mobiles, prams and toys etc in the months leading up to your baby’s arrival. This will give your pup plenty of time to get used to them being around. Make sure your pup is always allowed to approach and smell these things as they wish and try to make it a positive experience by dropping a few tasty treats around whilst they investigate.

The same applies to baby noises, there a lots of sources of baby noises available online, if you play them regularly at a low level for your pup to get used to (again, giving them something tasty while they are doing it) it will make your baby’s arrival much less scary for your puppy.

Plan for having less time with your pup after the baby is born and start introducing a “post birth” routine. Do you need a dog walker to take your pup out and give them some TLC when you have your hands full? If so, it’s best to set up a routine in advance so that it’s not another new thing for your pup to get used to.

If you need to reduce your pup’s access to areas of the house, start doing it gradually now so that your puppy knows what the baby boundaries are well in advance. Baby gates are your best friend but they will take some getting used to. Take it slowly with your dog, install them but leave them open for your pup to investigate, then gradually start closing them for short durations so your puppy can slowly become accustomed to the new rules.

Create a doggy den for your pup where they can be comfortable and safe in a quiet space if it all gets too much. It will really help them adjust if they have this safe space to retreat to. If its regularly well stocked with yummy things it will soon become their favourite space!

If your puppy seems anxious at any stage, stop what you’re doing and go back to a point at which they were calm and relaxed for a while longer before trying to introduce anything new.

It’s important to always be actively engaged when your puppy and child are in the same room and never leave dogs and babies alone. You can use filled Kongs, long lasting treats, or puzzle toys to give your pup a fun job while you spend some quality time with your baby without having to worry about them!

Written by Amy Pearson

My special knowledge is all around dog training. I love trick training especially and have recently become a Canine Hoopers instructor. I think training shouldn't be about your dog obeying commands, but about your dog having fun learning with you. I've worked with dogs for around 15 years and trained at the Association of Pet Dog Trainers. My own two dogs are completely different to each other! I have one little Maltipom called Rascal and a large German Shepherd called Fen - both are adorably daft! My two cats rule the house really though. What's so great about having a pet is that no matter how rubbish your day has been, they are always there to make you feel better! A house isn't a home without them.

Topics: puppy, family

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