They say dogs can sense when something is about to change. It’s true! If we’re packing for a trip, our Silky Terrier (Jax) goes to stand next to his leash. If I place his food by the door, he knows he’s going to doggy daycare. If I’m sick, he cuddles with me. He’s truly man’s best friend.
Before I found out I was pregnant, I’m sure Jax already sensed the baby growing in my belly. He went back to doing things he used to do when he was a puppy like marking his territory in the house, chewing up toilet paper, and wanting tons of attention. He even started sleeping next to my belly…until he felt that first kick!
As a dog mom, I was nervous about how my fur baby would get along with his new little brother. How would I go about introducing them? Would he be jealous of all the attention surrounding the new baby? How would I separate the toys? There were so many questions. I researched the topic and talked to friends and they gave me some great advice that I’ll share with you if you’re worried about introducing your dog to your new baby.
5 Tips for Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby
- See how your dog reacts to baby noises. It may sound silly, but I played youtube videos of babies crying to see how Jax reacted. At first, he looked at me with confusion but after a while, he seemed to be unbothered. He’d been around babies before so he was familiar with the sounds but I wanted to make sure that if he heard them often, he wouldn’t be frazzled. I played the sounds at least once a week during the final month of pregnancy. Now, when my son cries Jax is often the first to go check on him to make sure he’s ok. It’s absolutely adorable!
- Familiarize your dog with the baby’s scent. Family came to town to help us prepare for the baby’s arrival. During the hospital stay after the baby was born, they went back and forth to walk and feed Jax. One of our friends recommended that we bring home a blanket that the baby had been swaddled in to let Jax sniff before we brought the baby home. My boyfriend’s mom says when she first brought the blanket home, Jax sniffed it once and left it alone. By the next day, he’d moved it into his spot on the couch and was snuggled in it. I guess it was a good sign that he didn’t rip it to shreds.
- Don’t yell at your dog for something involving the baby. One thing you don’t want for your dog to do is to associate the new baby with the reason you’re being mean to them. If you’re always yelling at your dog, telling them to leave the baby alone, and chastising them, they may associate this behavior with the new baby. We made sure to remain firm with our dog but we didn’t yell at him for things like sniffing or licking the baby. In fact, every morning Jax has a routine where he sniffs behinds the baby’s ears and licks the bottom of the baby’s feet.
- Keep the toys separate as early as possible. Before, every stuffed animal or toy with a squeaker that came into the house belonged to Jax. Now, we have to differentiate between toys for the baby and toys for the dog. When decorating the nursery, there were a few stuffed animals that Jax whined for but we made sure he knew they were off limits. He was able to understand more once the baby arrived and coated all of his toys in his drool. Jax knew that if it smelled like the baby, it wasn’t to be touched. We made sure not to yell at Jax but instead tell him to bring us one of his doggy toys for a game of fetch. I’m not sure how long this will last but it seems to be working out just fine. I’m actually more concerned with keeping Jax’s toys away from a newly mobile baby. We’ve already had to move Jax’s food bowl to higher ground.
- Remain consistent. If you usually spent 15 minutes on your walks with the dog, do your best to keep it up. Bring the baby if you can. If you played fetch at least three times a day, do your best to still give your dog the attention they need. It’s understandable that there will be things that you have to change to accommodate the baby but remaining as consistent as possible will make the transition for your dog a lot smoother if they don’t feel left out or abandoned now that the baby is here.
Baby’s Best Friend
Even though Jax is approaching five, he still has tons of energy and I’m excited to see my fur baby and his human brother grow and play together for years to come. Jax has been giving the baby his space lately. I think he’s trying to get used to him being on all fours with him. But you better believe he’s right under his highchair during mealtime, catching all of the mess—which I don’t mind at all!