How to Get Your Dog to Welcome Your Baby

Two Methods:Before the Baby Is BornAfter the Baby is Born

If you're about to welcome a baby into your home, you're probably a bit concerned about how your furry, four-legged "baby" will react. For many pets, having a new family member in the house is as big a change for them as it is for you! Follow these steps to help your pet welcome your baby.

Method 1
Before the Baby Is Born

In order for you to prepare your pet for this new addition to the family, you'll need to start planning and preparing months before the baby is due.

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    Make sure that your dog is well-trained. If your dog needs a bit of work with responding to basic commands, now is the time to do it. Don't put it off, otherwise you'll have your hands full with a baby. Figure out any behavioural issues with your dog that need to be worked on. Does your dog bark a lot, nip, or jump up on people? Fix these issues before bringing home your baby.
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    Have your dog socialize with other kids. If your dog is used to being around adults only, he might not realize that babies are humans too. If possible, let your dog spend a bit of supervised time with young children or babies both inside and outside of your home. Make sure that these children are well-behaved and won't stress out your dog, otherwise your dog will associate kids with stress, which is not what you want. Watch your pet so see how they react to being around young children.
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    Alter your dog's schedule. If having your hands full with a baby will change the time of your dog's walks, playtime, or feeding, start making these changes now so that your dog is used to them before you bring home the baby. Do these things gradually, slowly changing the time by about 5 minutes each day.
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    Start restricting your pet's access to certain parts of the house. If your dog won't be allowed in the nursery or playroom when the baby arrives, start restricting him/her now. Use a baby gate to block the doors (using a baby gate instead of simply closing the door will let your pet see and hear what's happening in the nursery and feel less left out) and reinforce that your dog is not allowed in these rooms. By making this a routine before the baby comes home, your dog won't think that he's restricted because of the new arrival.
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    Introduce the dog to new items related to the baby. If your dog will be allowed in the nursery, give him time to adjust to things like the crib, toys, rocking chair, etc. Give him lots of time to investigate the area, and reward him if they're calm.
    • Also get your dog used to scents associated with the baby, such as baby powder, baby oil, etc. Sprinkle a bit of baby powder on your clothes and let your dog sniff you and get used to the scent, and let him sniff things like baby shampoo, diapers, baby wipes, etc.
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    Pretend that the baby is already born. Get your pet used to baby-related noises and sights well before the real baby comes. Play recordings of a crying baby so your dog can adjust to them. Get a baby doll and cuddle it, rock in the rocking chair with it, take the doll in the stroller while walking your dog, change its diaper, give it a bath, etc. to get your dog used to seeing you perform these activities.
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    Get your dog used to spending less time with you. Because the baby will require lots of attention from you, get your dog used to getting a bit less attention. Don't ignore your dog completely, but don't constantly be spending time with him if you won't be able to do that when the baby arrives.
    • If the dog is very attached to his/her "mommy", get the dog's "daddy" to spend more time with him so that they can develop a bond and your dog won't feel left out if mommy is spending time with the baby.
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    Take your dog to the vet. Make sure that your dog is healthy before exposing him to the baby. Also, consider getting your dog spayed/neutered, as 'fixed' dogs are calmer and less likely to be aggressive than dogs that haven't been spayed/neutered.

Method 2
After the Baby is Born

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    Get your dog used to the smell of your baby. If possible, while your baby is still in the hospital, have someone bring a blanket or an item of clothing that the baby has worn over to your house for the dog to smell and familiarize himself with.
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    Greet your dog when you return home. Have someone wait outside with the baby or take the baby into another room, then greet your dog calmly.
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    Let them meet. When letting your dog meet the baby for the first time, consider restraining your dog using a leash if you're uncertain as to how he'll react to the baby. Even though dogs are usually eager to greet new visitors, it's better to play it safe. If you have more than 1 dog, let each of them meet the baby individually.
    • If your dog becomes aggressive, immediately take them out of the room and isolate them.
    • Even if your dog isn't aggressive, it could still unintentionally harm the baby by crawling on them, lying on them, or knocking them over. If this happens, be sure to redirect your dog, and praise them if they can be easily redirected.
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    Be firm. If the dog barks, correct him right away. Show the dog that he is not allowed to get close to or smell the baby unless you give him permission. The dog will learn that it is up to you when he is allowed to be near the baby. Don't forget that you're the one in control.
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    Keep your dog included. Dogs often feel like this new baby has replaced them, and that they're not your baby anymore. Be sure to give your dog as much attention as you usually would, and don't forget to feed and exercise them as you normally did. Frequently ignoring and scolding your dog when the baby arrives will stress your furry friend out and make them dislike the baby. Only scold when the dog is doing something bad. Give your pet attention during the day, not only when your baby is sleeping. Do activities that include both your dog and your baby, like walking your dog with your baby in a stroller, and make sure to still spend quality, one-on-one time with your dog.


  • Always supervise every interaction your baby and dog have.
  • Realize that no matter how much you prepare, a new family member will be difficult for your pet.
  • Consider hiring an animal behaviourist if your dog is aggressive towards the baby.
  • Make each change gradual.
  • Make sure that someone is caring for the dog while you're at the hospital/birthing centre. Preferably have someone the dog is familiar with come to your home, so your dog won't be stressed out before the baby arrives.
  • Be sure to find out early if your baby has an allergy to dog hair.


  • Don't confine your pet with your baby. Your dog might become aggressive out of fear if he's trapped in a room with the baby. Always make sure that your dog is able to get away from the baby and go into another room in case he gets overwhelmed.
  • Don't force your dog to interact with the baby. Your dog might be fearful of the baby at first, so let him interact on his own terms.
  • Never leave your dog and baby together unsupervised. Your dog's behaviour can always change, and even the nicest dogs can bite.

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Categories: Dog Obedience