How to Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog

Four Parts:Preparing Your Dog for the Baby's ArrivalAdjusting Your Dog's SensesIntroducing Your BabyEncouraging a Good Relationship Between the Dog and Baby

There is a very slim chance that your dog will be thrilled with the arrival of a new baby in your home. Dogs are very attached to their owners and your baby can feel like a threat. To make sure that the dog will accept the baby, try to introduce your baby to the dog gradually. Start with Step 1 below for more detailed instructions.

Part 1
Preparing Your Dog for the Baby's Arrival

  1. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 1
    1
    Begin the preparation on time. Pregnancy lasts nine months, which gives you enough time to prepare your dog for the arrival of the baby. Start thinking about ways you can prepare your dog for the baby's arrival as soon as you find out that you're pregnant. This way you will have enough time to prepare the dog for new routines.
  2. 2
    Make sure that the dog understands basic commands. Making sure your dog understands basic commands such as “No!” “Sit!”, “Stand!”, “Quiet!” will be very important once the baby arrives. Therefore, you should invest some time in training to respond to these command, while you still have the time.
    • If you don't have the time or energy to do this yourself, send your dog to a professional dog trainer. It may be expensive, but if it teaches your dog obedience it will be worth it.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 2Bullet1
    • For more information on training your dog, see this article.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 2Bullet2
  3. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 3
    3
    Gradually reduce the amount of attention you give your dog. Prepare the dog for the arrival of the baby by gradually reducing the amount of attention that you give him on a day to day basis.
    • You don't need to ignore him completely, you just need to teach him that you won't be at his beck and call anymore and sometimes he'll just have to wait his turn.
  4. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 4
    4
    Provide your dog with his own space. Give your dog a place inside the house that is his and his alone, such the corner of the kitchen. It should be somewhere out of the way, which still lets your dog feel like he's part of the action.
    • Put his bed in this spot, along with his toys and food bowls. Train him to go to his bed when asked, and reward him with a treat when he does what he's told.
  5. 5
    Set strict boundaries inside your home. If you do not want your dog to enter a specific room (like the baby's room) teach him that it is a restricted area. Do not allow him to enter.
    • If you do allow him in, let him sniff a few things and then give the command for him to leave. He will soon come to understand that he is no longer allowed inside this room.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 5Bullet1
    • A good alternative is to set up a baby gate in the door of the baby's room. Then your dog can still see what's happening inside without entering the room.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 5Bullet2

Part 2
Adjusting Your Dog's Senses

  1. 1
    Introduce the dog to your baby's smell. Before you bring the baby into the house, let the dog get used to the baby's scent. Ask someone to bring home an item of the new baby's clothes or a blanket they have been wrapped in, so the dog can sniff it.
    • This will prepare the dog for the new baby's scent, so when the baby comes home it will already be familiar to the dog.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 6Bullet1
    • Dogs are very sensitive to smells, and an unfamiliar smell can seem like a threat. Therefore, exposing your dog to the baby's scent ahead of time is a smart move.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 6Bullet2
  2. 2
    Record the baby's sounds and play them for your dog. The sounds a baby makes (crying, gurgling, etc.) can make a dog nervous if he has never heard them before.
    • Therefore, it's a good idea to make a recording of the baby crying in the hospital and have someone play it for your dog before you bring the baby home. Then it may not come as such a shock when the real baby arrives.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 7Bullet1
    • Alternatively, if you don't have time to make a recording of your own baby, you can find a Youtube video or recording of any baby and play it for your dog.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 7Bullet2
  3. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 8
    3
    Practice good behaviors with a doll. Try to get a convincing doll that looks like a real baby and makes noises like a real baby. Allow the dog to sniff the doll and teach him to back off when you change it, bathe it or feed it. This will teach him what behavior you expect from him around your real baby. Be sure to praise any good behaviors.
    • Don't leave the doll lying around anywhere that the dog could grab it or chew it. Treat the doll as you would a real baby, so the dog learns to respect it and knows that it is not a toy.
  4. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 9
    4
    Get the dog used to new forms of physical contact. Gently touch the dog at all those places that the baby is likely to grab on to once she grows a bit older - tail, paws, mouth, ears, inside the ears.
    • Do this at least 5 times a day for a few minutes. Do this when your dog is engaged in his favorite activity, like playing or eating, so he learns to connect this type of touch with something pleasant.
  5. 5
    Consult with a specialist if your dog isn't good around children. If your dog has never been exposed to children before, bring him for a walk to the local playground (keeping him on a tight leash). If he reacts aggressively and noisily around the children, you will know for sure that further action is required.
    • In this situation, it is best to consult with a dog training specialist. The specialist can work on your dogs negative behaviors and walk you through the process of introducing your baby to your dog in a safe, successful way.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 10Bullet1
    • If the dog cannot learn to behave in an obedient, safe manner around children, you will need to take more extreme measures, like keeping your dog in a penned off area outside, or even getting rid of him. At this point, the safety of your baby is more important.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 10Bullet2

Part 3
Introducing Your Baby

  1. 1
    Enlist the help of an assistant. Right before you bring the baby home from the hospital, enlist the help of a friend to bring the dog out for a long, tiring walk.
    • This will allow him to release any excess energy and make him calmer and more quiet when the baby finally arrives.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 11Bullet1
    • Ask your friend to play fetch with him or any sort of game that involves a lot of running. The more worn out the dog is, the better.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 11Bullet2
  2. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 12
    2
    Bring the baby home when the dog is out of the house. It is best to bring your baby home when the dog is not there. This will give you a chance to get settled and plan out the introduction thoroughly before it happens.
    • When the dog arrives home, stay calm and talk to him in a calm tone - don't introduce the baby just yet. Although he has already experienced the smell of a baby, he will probably still be startled by the presence of the new arrival.
  3. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 13
    3
    Let the dog greet mom first. He probably hasn't seen her for several days while she's been at the hospital, so he'll be excited to see her and want to jump up to greet her.
    • This could be dangerous if she is holding the baby, so it's best to allow mother and dog to have a moment together first before the baby is introduced.
  4. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 14
    4
    Carefully introduce your baby. Sit quietly, hold your baby and let someone else hold the dog. Talk to the dog while someone walks with him around the baby. His leash should be short but loose, he doesn't need to feel the tension.
    • Allow the dog to sniff the baby's feet feet, but do not let him approach too close. Praise him if he calmly responds to the baby.
  5. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 15
    5
    Do not punish the dog for bad behavior. If the dog barks at the baby and he's nervous about it, do not scold or punish him. Throw him a treat, a few steps away, and then try again to introduce him to the baby. This is important because the dog will then connect the presence of the baby with a treat.
    • Tell him how to behave - rather than expecting that the dog sniff the baby and sit quietly, let him know what you expect from him. When he sniffs the baby with the tip of his nose, give him the command to stand or sit. Praise and reward good behavior.

Part 4
Encouraging a Good Relationship Between the Dog and Baby

  1. 1
    Give the dog attention while the baby is awake. While you will probably have the most time for your dog when the baby is asleep, it is best to pay attention to him when she's awake.
    • If you feed your baby, feed the dog at the same time, talk to the dog while carrying the baby around and bring the dog and the baby for a walk together.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 16Bullet1
    • In this way, the dog will not perceive the baby as a threat.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 16Bullet2
  2. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 17
    2
    Ignore the dog while the baby is asleep. When the baby sleeps, give the dog as little attention as possible. Attend to his immediate needs, like going outside and feeding him, but refrain from playing with him or talking to him too much. In this way, the dog will look forward to the arrival of the baby.
  3. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 18
    3
    Maintain the dog's usual schedule as much as possible. Dogs are not demanding - they just need to be walked and fed according to their usual routine. Avoid changing the dog's routine because of the baby, otherwise the dog could become aggressive towards her.
  4. Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 19
    4
    Get the dog used to the sound of the baby's crying. Many dogs can get nervous when the baby cries, therefore it's important to get him used to the sound. If you notice nervousness, give him food when the baby is crying. In this way, the dog will connect the baby's crying with an enjoyable experience.
  5. 5
    Teach the dog to give you space while you take care of the baby. If your dog is always at your feet while caring for the baby, train him to leave on command.
    • Give him a command to stand while you show him the treat, then throw the treat a few feet away from you and give the command to move.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 20Bullet1
    • Practice this several times, throwing the food farther and using shooing hand gestures. When the dog moves to the food, praise him so he knows that he has behaved well.
      Image titled Introduce Your Baby to Your Dog Step 20Bullet2

Article Info

Categories: Dogs | Babies and Infants