Friday, November 14, 2008

How To Introduce Your New Baby to Your Dog

I just found out that I am going to be a grandmother for the 3rd time! My daughter and her family have a rescue dog, Shasta, a black lab. Here are some hints to help when bringing home a new baby.

1. If you need to change house rules, change them before the baby arrives, so that your dog doesn't associate changes with baby's arrival.

2. Consider a series of obedience classes before the baby arrives.

3. Have your dog checked by a veterinarian to make sure he doesn't have parasites.

4. Let your dog get used to the sights, smells and sounds of a baby in advance. Let him get used to sounds of rattles and other baby toys.

5. Before bringing your baby home from the hospital, send home a blanket or gown that the baby has been wrapped in. This will get your dog used to the baby's scent.

6. Let Dad or someone else carry the baby inside at the first homecoming, so that Mom is free to greet the dog with open arms. The dog will be less jealous.

7. Praise your dog when you're near the baby so she will think of the child as a positive influence.

8. Reassure your dog, each time your baby cries, and train him not to bark when he hears it. Give the dog a treat or hug for doing the right thing.

9. Spend one-on-one time with your dog while the baby is napping.

10. Be patient because it may take some time before your dog is comfortable around your baby.

Warnings: Never leave your dog alone with your baby, no matter how well-trained and friendly the dog may be. Even the best-behaved dog can become frustrated with a baby's cries.

(The picture is Buddy and his "Baby".)