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How To Safely Introduce A Dog To Your Children

baby with a dog

When you have a fur baby, bringing home a human baby can be a huge transition. Dogs can get very used to being the only object of your attention, and then this baby comes along, and suddenly the dog is no longer the center of your attention. Additionally, a new baby can be very confusing for a dog; they look like a human, but it doesn't smell, sound, or move like anything they've seen before.

When you're getting ready to bring home baby, you'll want to make sure to prepare your dog for this new little person's arrival. Taking these extra steps can insure that your dog and baby get off on the right foot (or paw!).

Gradually change your dog's routine

If you know the dog will be sleeping in a new spot, or want to adjust their walking schedule to fit the baby's expected routine, start making those changes before baby comes home. If you wait to completely change up the dog's routine until the baby is already home, they may associate the disruption with the baby.

Cut back on the amount of attention you give the dog as your due date gets closer

new baby with dog and siblings
Credit: iStock / ChristinLola

We know it sounds harsh, but again, if your dog gets all of your attention right up until the baby comes home, it can be difficult for them to adjust to the sudden lack of interest or attention. Obviously, we encourage tons of pets and lots of snuggles, but try to set some boundaries before they baby arrives, so your dog doesn't get super jealous when the baby comes home and they see you devoting all your time and attention to this new little creature.

PREVIOUSLY: Why Every Kid Should Grow Up With Dogs

Get your dog used to the smells and sounds of a new baby before baby comes home

Allow them to sniff the baby's room, clothes, blankets, and lotions. Play baby sounds like crying, cooing, and yes, even screaming, so these new sounds don't startle the dog. Once the baby is born, have someone bring a blanket from the hospital to the home, so your dog can get used to your baby's particular scent.

When baby comes home, make sure to greet your dog without the baby first

new baby and a dog
Credit: iStock / DNF-Style

They've missed you and have been worried about you, and are probably super excited to see you. Make sure you give your dog a hearty hello when you get home, and do it without holding the baby. You should make the dog your focus in that moment.

Allow the dog to sniff and smell the baby in a controlled environment

baby and a dog
Credit: iStock / RomanovaAnn

NEVER leave even the most trusted dog alone with a baby. Allow the dog to get close enough to sniff and smell your new little one, but keep them on a leash at first so you can easily diffuse the situation. Make sure to pet the dog and praise their curious sniffs! They're just feeling out their new brother and sister. Remember, bringing home baby is a huge adjustment for everyone, but especially your dogs!

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