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How to Prepare Your Dog for A New Baby
For most of us, our four-legged companion happens to be our first baby. We get married and adopt a dog to become pet parents and the journey of unconditional love thus begins.
However, there comes a point in all our lives when we finally settle down to have a baby and that is when apprehension come visiting.
How to introduce your first child to the idea of a second human child who is on its way and might take up the space of the former entirely in the beginning?
The thought of breaking the news in a way that your pet can comprehend haunts us so much so that we simply miss the very concept that dogs are as compassionate and loving as human beings are and probably more.
If you can introduce the concept early in pregnancy and can prepare your dog for it then there is nothing like it. Your dog will probably be the best companion that your child could ever have.
From Day 1
As soon as you find out that you are expecting, it is time to train your dog accordingly. While a furry friend leaping into your arms the moment you unlock the door sounds wonderful, it might not feel as good when you are pregnant or carrying a newborn around.
Sign up your pet for an obedience class if he hasn’t been to one already. A behavior instructor can help get your pet accustomed to the idea of doing things as asked to.
Most dogs that are raised in a childless home would not know how a newborn baby reacts to things around. Little humans can do a million unpredictable things that your pet might not like all of a sudden. They might shriek, cry, make sudden movements etc., which might scare your pet.
To give your pet a proper exposure of how babies can be, take him for a stroll to the nearest park and show him how babies behave so that he can roughly comprehend what’s coming his way.
Around The 3rd Month
When you are around 67 days pregnant, try bringing your pet near your growing belly and caress your belly to show him that there is something inside it to be loved and cared for. Buy a doll that resembles an infant and carry it around in your lap so that your pet gets accustomed to the idea of you carrying a baby.
You could practice pushing around a stroller while walking your dog in the park. That will not only help to give your pet a feeling if being walked along with the stroller but will also help you get accustomed to the idea of it all.
You could also make your pet get used to the scents and smells of baby powder, lotion etc so that he is familiarized with it way before the baby arrives.
A dog will naturally have the tendency to jerk away from the leash if he notices a fast-moving object. This is the time to teach him that he should stop jerking when asked to “back” off. “Back” should be the code word that he must remember. Dogs fall into a habit or a pattern easily and if you follow this pattern for a few days, you will notice how he gets used to the word and the caution around it.
A Month Ahead
A month before you are expected to deliver, try looking for people who can act as proxies in your place. If your pet is used to being fed by you, it could mean trouble because he would not want to be fed by anyone else in your place. Also, be sure keep your dog’s nails well-trimmed too! This minimizes the chances of your pooch accidentally scratching your baby’s delicate skin.
Make a list of sitters or close friends and relatives whom you could appoint for this important task and request them to start practicing around this phase. This will help your pet to get used to the idea of someone else looking after him or her and will also earn you some relief.
Around Two Weeks before the D-Day
While your doctor is still unsure of when you could deliver, two weeks before the tentative due date is when you should stack and freeze all that you can. You are probably dealing with a million emotions at the same time and it could be difficult to focus on anything.
However, this is the time to start thinking of dividing the chores and responsibilities. It is also important to divide his food in batches and freeze them properly so that the person in charge will simply have to take it out, thaw and heat it before serving.
Some of the breeds that are very friendly with kids are Beagles, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Collie, Pooch, New Foundland etc. If you intend to adopt a dog and have human babies in the future, adopting one of these breeds might make your preparation and introduction easier.
This post was contributed by Pete Decker, the Lead Editor at The Goody Pet. Pete loves to share his passion for pets through snippets of interesting and helpful information. You can find more of Pete at his website, Twitter or Facebook.
“Pets are such agreeable friends, they ask no questions and they pass no criticisms” said George Eliot about pet animals. Pets often reciprocate the love that their masters lavish on them by demonstrating various forms of affection including licking, hickeys, even love-bites.