Before your baby comes along, your furbaby may rule the roost. Just like having a new baby at home is a HUGE adjustment for you, having a new small person at home can be a big adjustment for your dog. Because you want your baby to be safe, and you want your dog to adjust as easily as possible, it’s important to prepare ahead. We have a few tips from Caitlin Ultimo, the Chewy Resident Pet Expert, for introducing your new baby to your furry babies!
1. Brush up on the basics. Ensuring your pet is familiar with basic commands will help you both be more confidant when the baby arrives. Simple commands like sit, stay and down (for a dog) will come in handy if you need to stop your pet from jumping or disturbing the baby while he or she sleeps. If you’ve never been one for obedience training, it may be a good idea to take a training class with your pet or to have a professional trainer visit your home, this way you can both practice in your own environment.
2. Let your pet be a part of the set up. If you keep your pet out of your baby’s nursery while you’re setting up, she may develop negative connotations with the space – and possibly with your baby once they come home to occupy it. Let your pet be with you while you hang up the baby clothes or make up the crib. Give them a few belly rubs, chin scratches or a treat while they keeps you company there. Your pet will have time to acclimate to the changed space and remember positive interactions happen there.
3. Gradually adjust her routine. If your pet will be going out on less walks or being fed at different times then she is used to, start gradually adjusting your routine as the weeks approach your due date. This way there won’t be any abrupt disruptions which will hopefully result in less accidents or bad behaviors.
4. Get her feet wet. If you have a friend or family member with an infant, ask if they’d be comfortable introducing their child to your pet. Getting your pet used to baby sounds, which can be jarring, and habits before your own baby arrives will also give her a leg up when it’s time for her to meet her human sibling.
5. Make the introduction a positive one. When it’s finally time for your new baby to meet your first baby—your pup—set them up for success. The two don’t have to meet right from the moment you walk through the door, as they may see the baby as a foreign object that’s too close to mom or dad for comfort. Consider having a new interactive pet toy on hand that will help entertain your dog or cat while everyone gets situated. Once everyone is settled and calm, let your pet smell your baby’s blanket, bonnet or toy. This will allow them to become familiar with the baby’s scent. If your pet seems comfortable, let her sniff and even lick your baby, and give her positive attention when she does.
Did you have a hard time introducing your kids to your pets when they first came home – have any tips for all of us?