We are expecting a baby, what does the dog think?

Your favourite and most important family member is soon to have a rival. How will he react? Will he like the baby? Will he try to bite? What if he cannot cope with it mentally? Or you? 

With the arrival of a new family member, our head is usually full of questions and concerns. Our furry friend getting along with the newborn can certainly be one of them. It is good to know that the majority of our worries stay only in our head and never become reality. But if you do want to prepare in advance, we have some useful tips for you. 

It is important to note that if your dog is not used to children at all, it would be a good idea to first introduce him to a baby. Neutral surroundings work best in this case - therefore somewhere outside or when visiting someone. After this first "initiation", you should invite some friends with children into your home. The dog will get to meet children in his own home, in his territory. 

The next important step is getting the dog used to the smells. When the baby arrives, ask your family to bring some baby clothes and muslins to the hospital. Dress the baby in the prepared clothes and use the muslins to wipe the little one's mouth during feeding or just as a cover. Then ask someone to take the clothes and the muslins back home and give it to the dog to sniff it. They can give it to the dog to sleep with it in his bed. If possible, send some used clothes home every day during your stay at the hospital. "Emotions work very well through the sense of smell in dogs, so when we can see that the dog growls at the muslin, we can take certain precautions in advance", says a dog psychologist Dr. Alexander Skácel. 

Introduce the baby to the dog (again) in neutral surroundings. When you arrive home with the baby, wait outside with the baby in the car seat and send your partner to bring the dog. Greet the dog, then stroke the baby and let the dog sniff your hand. Let the dog sniff your baby. Give it a few minutes and then go home together. It is important to avoid attracting too much attention, such as "look, what's this" or "there's a baby" etc. Behave as if the baby has always been there, same as in families with more dogs. 

Last but not least we ask you to be cautious because a dog is an animal and children can sometimes be insensitive. Never leave your child alone in a room with any type of pet.

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