Let us assume that the dog is already prepared for the contact with the child. He has thoroughly mastered the basic commands, knows the child’s often unpleasant sounds, distinguishes between his toys and the child’s toys and knows, that he is not to notice the things around the baby, such as the pram or the cot. The question is, how to introduce these two. Again, I have summarised the steps into several basic points:
1. The dog should take part in the arrival of the baby from the maternity ward
It isn’t advisable to put the dog away for several days. The dog could see the new-born as a stranger in its territory and an undesirable aggression or jealousy could arise on his part.
2. First meeting
Upon the arrival to the apartment, hand the baby over to the father and first greet the dog properly. Then you can let the dog sniff the new family member, be vigilant while doing that, of course. Take care that the dog doesn’t lick the child’s face or that it doesn’t unwillingly hurt it with his paw. While doing that, you can encourage the dog by talking to him or rewarding him. The first contact is important and it should be positive for the dog.
3. Don’t neglect the dog
The dog shouldn’t get the idea, that he is being neglected because of the child. Give him as much attention as possible. If he was used to being in contact with you all the time and you will suddenly start ignoring him, this can lead to jealousy or aggression towards the baby. Even a passing stroke counts. Let him also be present at the baby’s bathing, changing of its diapers and other common activities or take him for walks with the pram. He will have all the less reasons to feel pushed away.
4. Never leave them unattended
Even the most peaceful dog may hurt the baby unwillingly. Therefore, never leave them unattended together, not even for a little while: when you’re going to pick up the phone, to open the door for visitors etc. Always take one of them with you or separate them securely.
5. Ban the dog from licking
Don’t forget that the most bacteria are located precisely in the mouth, that is, in the dog’s muzzle. Therefore, don’t let the dog lick the baby, especially not the face. A lick of the hand or the leg from time to time is ok (you can also wipe the given limb immediately) and it will strengthen the dog’s relation towards the child. This is naturally also true for the child’s toys and everything that could get into the baby’s mouth. This way, you will prevent a possible infection, mainly with gastric flus and rashes.
6. Also protect the dog from the child
Children sometimes have surprising strength and they’re not able to control it that well. That’s the reason why you should rather avoid buying heavy toys or toys with sharper edges. In case that the child would hit the dog with them, he could, even only because of a reflex, lash out or snap at the child. Also be careful so that the child doesn’t pull the dog’s tail or his ears and the like. Even if the dog doesn’t lash out, he will establish a negative relationship with the child associated with unpleasantness or pain.
Do you remember any other tips on how to easily overcome the new situation and provide security for the baby?