February 2018 Moms

Advice for introducing the dog to a new baby?

Hi everyone,

We have a 5 year-old rescue pup, who until now, has been our only 'baby'.  We are hoping to proactively learn a bit about how to introduce her to the baby, and would love any tips for helping make this a smooth transition for both us and the dog.  She has 'free range' of the house now, so crating her is not an option.  Any advice, helpful resources, etc.?

Thanks in advance!  :)

Re: Advice for introducing the dog to a new baby?

  • So I had the pleasure of watching a set of 3 month old twins at my house 3 days a week for a few months this year, which necessitated learning how to introduce two very large dogs. Some of what was helpful:

    1. Prepare sooner rather than later. Block areas off now. Adjust how you spend time with the pup (intermittent bursts, as opposed to steady access to you all day, if applicable). Play videos and audio of babies making every possible baby sound (condition these as positive with positive reinforcement, i.e treats or attention).

    2. Safe dog, safe baby. Crates sound like a no, but a place your dog can access that baby can't is a good idea. It helps create a space that your dog is able to be comfortable and feel secure. That helps a lot as many bites occur because of a dog feeling stressed and trapped.

    3. Exercise! This is super important and will help especially in the beginning when baby needs a lot of time and your energy. If you aren't able to provide the walking and/or play time appropriate for your dog's energy level, consider a dog walking service. They're often more affordable than one might initially think.

    4. Training. Consider going to a basic obedience class with the pup. Or private instruction. We found a few basic commands that were helpful, and worked on them daily for about 5-10 minutes, which my dogs really enjoyed doing. I'd suggest: sit, down, look (asking for eye contact), leave it, and drop it. Plus anything else you think would be helpful, but that is a good starting point.

    Just for the record, I am NOT a trainer or animal behaviorist. So this is all just anecdotal experience.
  • Loading the player...
  • We did the blankets with DS and DD and it helped a lot. 

    PP has a lot of good ideas! I would only add to let the dog come to your baby when the time comes. Don't force anything. 

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Thank you so much, @SunflowerMama428, @megandnoodle, and @staryni@Starynightsky24 !  These are some great tips.  Until the baby is walking, she will have the ability to go up or downstairs away from us, to get some peace and quiet if needed.  She is a pretty timid dog, but has never shown aggression toward kids even when cornered and nervous (this happened once by complete accident- we are very careful dog parents, but it did).  I know things can change, and dogs can get weird when their home changes so drastically, but I am thankful for these ideas! 
  • I worried a lot about this but it ended up not being a big deal.  My dog was really young though (7months).  He smelled her a bit, looked at her, then was over it.  He was way more interested in her pacifier.  That thing hit the ground and he was on it!  They are best buds now - they go everywhere together.  
  • I had more thoughts, left of on number 4 so I'll start with 5:

    5. Make baby gear familiar early. Carry a car seat around occasionally. Go for a walk with the dog and the stroller. Rattle, squeak, and play with baby toys (but don't let your pup). Turn on the baby swing. Crawl around on the floor. Pretend to carry a baby or hold one up over your head. For all of these things- treats and praise as you work towards calm, casual responses from your furbaby. 

    6. Like @SunflowerMama428 and @Starynightsky24 suggested, bringing home sometime with baby's scent. Lots of praise and positive reinforcement for the pup while interacting with the item. On the day baby comes home, have someone spend some time walking or playing with the dog before you arrive. A tried dog is usually a much calmer, less stressed dog. I'd suggest that dog is on leash too, when you walk in the door. In my case, the one holding the leash had some really desirable treats, and the dogs could see the parents walk in with the twins, but not get to them. I let the pups smell the stuff the babies had been in (blankets, car seat, etc.) before I let them approach me with one of the babies. And even then, they only got to smell feet and baby's booty while the leash holder calmly praised and offered treats for calmness. If a pup tried to jump, barked, was overly excited, or too stressed, they were made to back up.

    Sorry I'm writing you a novel. Let me know if you'd like clarification on anything! At the end of the day, most dogs adjust beautifully and love their little humans. :heart:
  • lucylou214lucylou214 member
    edited August 2017
    No need to apologize, @megandnoodle ! I love details, and as a FTM, this is something I'm definitely nervous about.  My two closest friends have recently had babies and they have been GREAT resources for me for so many things, but neither has a dog.  Our pup has not really had much baby experience at all, so I really appreciate all of the ideas!  I trust our dog, and know that her reaction when nervous or scared is to back up or stay away, but I don't want her to be too uncomfortable in her own home.  Introducing her to the new gear, especially things that move, is a good idea for sure. 
  • With out first we had two labs. And I was worried since they were our babies! 

    Before we came home, hubby brought blankets and hats home from the hospital and let them go to town. As long as they wanted. When we did get home I went in first. Let them be all happy and crazy and sniff lol. Sounds crazy maybe. But they seemed to know what was up. And then after they calmed down hubby brought baby in. One was more curious then the other. She wanted to be next to her all the time. Dog mom. It was so cute. 

    we never hated anything off. We let them be around during the process. As we did her nursery they were allowed to go in and check it out. Etc. every step of they way. Maybe not what some people would do but it worked for us. And they were amazing with her. Now we only have one and we will do the same thing with him. He's already been checking out some of the old stuff we have been taking out of storage. A few times given me those eyes like "mom...,," lol. 
    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • Above should say we never gated anything off. Thank you auto correct! Lol 
    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • *lurking from Jan 18*

    I have had the same questions/concerns since we have a dog that also has little to no experience around babies. Someone told me to start carrying a baby doll around the house so our dog would get used to seeing me with a baby in my arms. Also, if this were to trigger the dog to jump to investigate, you can stop that behavior before you're holding a real baby. 
    Me:31 ~ DH: 28
    Swiped Right: 6/2014
    Married: 9/2016
    TTC # 1: 11/2016 
     BFP: 5/2017
    Baby Boy: 1/2018
    Link to FF Charts
  • Thanks so much, @keshupe29 !  I am really hoping for a similar experience, and would love to not have to gate her out of spaces she's normally had access to if possible.  I like the suggestion that you went inside first to say hello, since I'm sure they were thrilled to see you!  

    @SoldiersMom , another great suggestion.  It really is hard to know how they'll handle it, and so many of us consider our dogs our babies, too, so we want them to be part of the family just like they have always been. 
     
    We will also need to tackle how to handle leaving her while we're gone, since the hospital is almost an hour away.  I guess another thing to consider! 
  • We have two dogs and are first-time parents. One of our dogs is the most chill dog you'll ever meet so we're not concerned about him at all. He already shows protective instincts toward kids, that is, he puts himself between kids he's around and any danger he perceives.

    Our other dog is more excitable, especially around new people. So we made a rule of no visitors for two weeks to get him acclimated to the new member of the pack without any strangers in the house to distract or excite him. As it is when he meets kids on the street he sniffs them but generally isn't interested so we're hoping that will translate to the baby. We're planning to do all the above with bringing home baby stuff so he can smell it and lots of praise and treats for good interactions. The baby doll sounds like a good idea too, to get him used to that picture. He has a safe space he retreats to already so we'll let him continue that and keep the baby out of it once he's mobile.
    Me: late 30s | H: early 30s
    TTC #1 since April 2015
    RE Dx: Fibroids, surgery Jan 2016
    IUI #1 and #2, Nov/Dec 2016, BFN
    IVF March 2017: ER - 5R/3M/3F, 1 PGS normal
    Polyp removed May 2017
    FET May 2017 - BFP!
    Baby boy born 2/2/18

  • Everyone gave you great advice already @lucylou214!  Our vet (who is also a mom) suggested the book Can we have One?  by Lynn Buzhardt and Sue Steib.  It is pretty spot on with the advice already given.  
  • Thanks so much for that suggestion, @chucksmom15 ! I'll look into it. 
  • I don't remember doing anything very specific to prepare our dog, though I do think DH took a hat from the hospital when he went home to take care of the dog and let her sniff it. I was worried because she's big and excitable and had never been around kids, but she seemed to instinctively know not to be crazy around him when we brought him home. She actually kind of stayed away from him like she wanted to pretend he wasn't there for a few days, but she started to very cautiously come near his bassinet and peak at him every once in awhile. We didn't gate but if we set DS down for tummy time we had a large quilt that we laid on the floor and made it clear to the dog that she couldn't get on the blanket while he was on the floor. It was a good boundary for her. Now that he's one and has good balance on his feet I let them interact without too much restriction, other than just being close by in case he's not gentle with her (she's never snapped at him, but who knows). It kind of evolved naturally for us, we just obviously made sure the dog was never alone with the baby if there was a possibility of her accidentally bumping into him or knocking him over or anything. She's just too big for that.
    Married 6/1/13
    BFP #1 7/2013 MMC 9/17/13
    BFP #2 5/2014 MC 6/15/14
    BFP #3 11/13/14 (Found in ER with ruptured cyst) Diagnosed MC 11/15/14
    BFP #4  4/2015 MC 7/1/15
    BFP #5 10/21/15  EDD 7/3/16 Praying for our rainbow! 
  • @SoldiersMom That's a good idea with the doll.  You know your dog's temperament better than anyone else and can use that to guide you.

    I have three dogs and two of them are very sweet but had no experience at all with kids.  My third dog explicitly does not like kids, so I knew things probably weren't going to go well with him.  I didn't do anything special before DS was born, but after we brought him home I gave the two girls limited access at first and let them sniff his feet and head and let them hang around the room when he was in his crib.  After a couple of weeks they had more (closely monitored) access and it turns out one of them was absolutely in love with this little baby and the other one was interested but didn't care as much.  Now that he is a toddler they are great with him he loves them too.

    My third dog, unfortunately, has to be kept completely separate from DS.  (We're able to reasonably accomplish this as he is crate trained and the dogs have their own baby-gated room and we have a fenced in yard.  And he's a small dog, which makes the situation easier to manage.)
    DS 2.07.15
    #2 due 2.15.18
  • My advice is that after the baby is born,  you enter the house before baby and give then all the love and cuddles, you will have been gone several days,  and they will miss you and be excited you are back.  After loving them up and calming then down,  then bring the baby into the house and introduce them. 

    Also talk to them,  you would be amazed at how much animals understand. Tell them you are having a baby and it will live with you,  and tell them when you are leaving for the hospital that you'll be bringing the baby home when you come back in a few days
    BabyFruit Ticker
    older siblings: ds 16 dd 14 ds 13 dd 11 dd 7 
  • Thanks for the advice, @mamaof5already ! Those are great suggestions. 
  • So much great advice here! just wanted to say that! It can be rough on your fur babies at first, but they (usually, not always) adapt quick and grow to love your baby as much as they love you. My only thing would be don't force interaction, and never leave unsupervised even if your puppy seems to love Bub (though I'm sure most would already know that and not need to be told) 
  • Thanks, @ashhsa ! I have seen that a lot- to never leave them alone together.  If your dog is uncrated, any suggestions for making this happen?  Also, how long should that period last?  I assume you get to a point where you're comfortable with it, if things have gone smoothly? 
  • @lucylou214  I started leaving my dogs alone with DS once he was a little bigger and less fragile, so they couldn't accidentally hurt him.  Maybe around 6 months, but my dogs are 15-20 pounds.  Might wait longer with a bigger dog unless they're really calm and cautious around the baby.

    Now I leave them alone for longer periods (they play in the backyard together for hours with me just popping my head out every few minutes to make sure DS is okay), as long as the dogs can get away from DS if he starts to pester them too much.
    DS 2.07.15
    #2 due 2.15.18
  • @awb1216 , thank you! That's helpful to know! 
  • We adopted our son Lucas so we had no way to prepare our dogs with a pregnancy so I think it was a bit of a shock for them. We did know that once we had children we wouldn't want them jumping on the couch so we stopped that when we decided to adopt so they never associated that with the new baby.

    Once we brought Lucas home every night we would sit on the floor with him and the dogs and let them smell him and be near us. During the day it was a lot of "get down", "go lay down" and I felt terrible. So it let them know it wasn't like we forgot them. Once we started with tummy time, I would sit on the floor with them and just wouldn't let them on the blanket he was on. They caught on to boundaries pretty quickly. Although now Lucas is 11 months and has no ideas what boundaries are lol. He loves to hug the dogs and pet them (which skis sometimes more of a grab!) so now I'm working on him more than the dogs haha.
  • ashhsa said:
    So much great advice here! just wanted to say that! It can be rough on your fur babies at first, but they (usually, not always) adapt quick and grow to love your baby as much as they love you. My only thing would be don't force interaction, and never leave unsupervised even if your puppy seems to love Bub (though I'm sure most would already know that and not need to be told) 
    Well, my puppy sleeps in the laundry, and is inside/outside during the day, he didn't have free access to the house though, I have to let him in and out so it isn't that hard to keep an eye on him when he is inside, as I let him in. And if my daughter is outside so am I. My puppy does love my daughter but she at 19 months still has no idea how to be gentle, the cats can jump up high and get away, but the dog can't, so I do always supervise. We do lots of stuff all together though, like all the time, they cuddle and everything- which the cats have no interest in.  I'm just aware that one pinch on the belly is all it could take from dd for him to snap. One of my cats has scratched her on the head- it was probably in retaliation for hair pulling... so you know, it does happen even if you are careful, but generally all animals do adapt.
  • I agree with everything everyone above has already said! I had my first in February 2016, and we have a 5 year old husky/shepherd mix! He is very stubborn and energetic. 

    1. Allow your dog to be part of all the baby preparation. We allowed him to be in the room while we painted, set up the crib, put together car seats/strollers/pack n play, etc. after my baby shower he laid next to me as I organized all the new stuff!! let him get familiar with everything.

    2. Send someone to your house with a blanket or onesie from the hospital. Let him or her sniff all the new baby smells before you come home!

    3. If there is anything with your dog that needs to be taught. Do it now! My dog likes to freak out everytime someone walks in front of our house....obviously NOT what I want while a baby is napping! So we worked on that! 

    good luck! I'm sure everything will go fine! Here's a picture of my little being introduced to him for the first time! He loves her now!! 
  • RachelR17 said:
    I agree with everything everyone above has already said! I had my first in February 2016, and we have a 5 year old husky/shepherd mix! He is very stubborn and energetic. 

    1. Allow your dog to be part of all the baby preparation. We allowed him to be in the room while we painted, set up the crib, put together car seats/strollers/pack n play, etc. after my baby shower he laid next to me as I organized all the new stuff!! let him get familiar with everything.

    2. Send someone to your house with a blanket or onesie from the hospital. Let him or her sniff all the new baby smells before you come home!

    3. If there is anything with your dog that needs to be taught. Do it now! My dog likes to freak out everytime someone walks in front of our house....obviously NOT what I want while a baby is napping! So we worked on that! 

    good luck! I'm sure everything will go fine! Here's a picture of my little being introduced to him for the first time! He loves her now!! 
    This pic is the sweetest! I love it! 
    Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • I love that everyone is being so proactive getting their dogs and cats ready for new baby.  Animal behavior is kind of my thing so I'm loving this.  In addition to all of the great advice listed above, I'm going to add two things. 

    Just like Feliway for cats, there is a product called Adaptil for dogs.  It works the same way with friendly calming pheromones. It comes in room diffusers, sprays, wipes and collars.  If you think baby will make your dog anxious, look into the products.  It is odorless (the spray initially has a slight alcohol odor) and don't have any effect on cats or people.  

    Always always always use positive reinforcement with any training associated with baby stuff.  


Sign In or Register to comment.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards
"
"