For many couples, preparing a home for the arrival of a newborn is an exciting time. From preparing the nursery to child proofing the home, many couples eagerly await the arrival of their first child. But, what do you do when there is another family member who may not be so eager to accept the arrival?
Known as the family dog, the welcome of an infant into the family can create an environment of chaos, often leaving the dog to even express some emotions of jealousy and confusion. While the infant is not familiar with the emotions conveyed by the dog, the dog will, invariably, continue to create a difficult situation in your home.
When you bring a new baby home, your dog will feel deprived of the attention he may have once enjoyed. It is important to prepare, in advance, for the allotment of time you will need to spend with your dog to ensure he does not find other ways in which to occupy his time. Chewing and barking are a few of a dog’s favorite past times which, when not given adequate attention, the dog will begin to indulge in these not so appealing activities.
In addition to allocating time for your dog, it is also important to create a bond between your dog and your infant. This is certainly not to say that you should leave your child unattended to play in the dog’s presence. Instead, when the infant is held, fed or played with, teach your dog to sit quietly next to you, offering a doggie treat as an incentive for good behavior. With time, your dog will correlate good behavior and the baby with the doggie treats, thus creating a more positive bond.
Purchasing a dog walker is an excellent way in which to also create a bond between your dog and the new infant. Taking the infant for walks, while allowing the dog to walk along side you, provides for exercise and a way in which to train your dog to work as a team in your childcare adventure.
Another key issue of concern for new parents is the tendency of the dog to pick up the infants toys, diapers and even pacifiers when you are not looking. Should this occur, simply offer the dog a doggie treat as an exchange for the baby’s item. Because the dog can not be expected to understand which items on the floor are the toys and which items are the baby’s possessions, offering treats as an exchange is the most effective way to reclaim the item.
As with any change to the family dynamic, showing love and support to your family dog will ensure he is better adapted to the change and ready to work with you as a team member rather than your adversary. When bringing a new baby home, always protect your infant from any interaction with your dog until such time as the dog has created a bond with your child.