You’ve prepared your home and your car but what about your dog? It’s very common for a dog to be jealous of your newborn. It doesn’t come as a surprise as dogs can be quite territorial. Even though they know you and your partner. They don’t know the baby.
Is it really that bad if the dog is jealous of your baby? What’s the worst that can happen? A jealous dog can be problematic. It can vary from simply going to the bathroom indoors, to serious aggression.
Signs your dog is jealous:
Dogs are very intelligent animals, they can sense change and reciprocate depending on how they process the situation. A new baby can be interpreted as a threat. A baby can cry a lot that can fluster the dog if he is not used to loud noises.
So how can you tell if your dog is mildly annoyed with your new baby or if it is a more serious matter that requires intervention?
- If your dog barks at the newborn even after being introduced to her scent.
- If your dog tries to physically come in between you and the baby.
- If the dog shows his teeth to the baby.
If your dog is displaying the above signs, it means that your dog is definitely feeling jealous of the baby. This is neither good for you nor the dog. In such cases, you must change the dynamic.
Even if you think that your dog is really sweet and docile, it can change. Sometimes as tired new parents several dog owners resort to sending their dog away to catch a breath. The last thing you want to do is make knee jerk reactions instead of solving the problem. So how do you cure a dog of jealousy?
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. This is the best way to go about preparing your pet for a new baby. Understanding the psychology of your furry friend will help their anxiety. Dogs have a pack mentality, you have to make the new baby a part of the pack and not an intruder.
Introduce to Baby’s things:
Gently prepare your dog for the introduction of your new family member by introducing it to the baby’s scents. It cannot physically meet the baby till the birth but it can smell the baby’s belonging to familiarize itself. This way it will know what to expect for the new baby.
- Making the dog sniff the clothes and baby blanket that will be for the baby
- Taking the dog to the baby’s nursery for it to familiarize itself
- Even things such as the car seat can be introduced to the dog.
- Playing a recording of a baby’s cry is a good idea if your house is usually quiet
If you have put off training your dog to follow simple commands. It makes sense to get your dog trained before the arrival of the baby. Dog’s follow leadership well, this is your time to show that you are the boss of the house. It also helps to set up a line of communication with your dog.
The three areas of training to focus on are:
- To sit or wait.
- Stay off the furniture.
- Follow a command.
Get used to lack of attention:
This may seem rude but try to ignore your pet before the arrival of your baby. Encourage them to entertain themselves. Pets have a tendency to seek attention and affection from their owners and dogs are not any different. However, once your baby arrives you won’t have the luxury to play with your dog as you’ll have to take care of the baby’s needs. This way the dog won’t be offended by the sudden change of affection towards him.
After having the baby:
The preparations can continue even after the baby has arrived. In fact, immediately after the baby has arrived send some of the clothes or blankets the baby has worn in the hospital to your dog sitter so that they can introduce the smell of your new baby to the dog.
Some other things that you can do are:
- Hold the baby and allow the dog to sniff the baby.
- Create a space for the dog to play by himself using gates or barricade.
- Give the dog attention when possible so it doesn’t feel left out
Rewarding good behavior from your dog will help it understand what behavior is desirable around the baby. These rewards can be in the form of treats or toys. Dog’s don’t really know what’s right and wrong so encouraging desirable behavior will be beneficial.
Do breeds matter?
There is a general consensus that breeds do not matter when it comes to getting jealous. As mentioned dogs are territorial and hence when they notice a new member they can interpret that as an intruder instead of a part of the pact.
That being said, it’s clear that each breed has its own characteristics, while some are more laid back others can be a bit more enthusiastic. An owner knows its dog best.
However, no matter how docile your dog maybe it is never advised to leave your dog alone with the baby.
If you’ve never had a baby and a dog, it can be quite a daunting task to understand their dynamics. You can get your hand on some amazing books that help empathize with your dog. Packed full of helpful advice these books will help you navigate the first few months with your baby and dog. You will learn how to evaluate your dog and resolve common problems.
Childproofing Your Dog by Brian Kilcommons
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Please Don’t Bite the Baby (and Please Don’t Chase the Dogs) by Lisa Edwards
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What Not to do:
If you do find your dog is aggressive towards your baby you should not punish the dog. Either by putting him away or maybe using force. This will only increase your dog’s jealousy towards the baby.
A dog acting out towards the baby could also be a sign that the dog is trying to seek your attention. Sometimes parents can see this as hostile behavior and give the dog away for a few days. This knee jerk reaction can deeply damage your bond.
Don’t try to rush or force the relationship between the dog and the baby. You may not see the bond right away on the first day or maybe the first month. Let the dog take its time to get used to having the baby around. With time their bond will strengthen.
The Perfect family:
The perfect family is not made in a day or even in a week. Having a baby is hard enough for the parents, lack of sleep can lead to moodiness. This can all be sensed by your dog. Your dog doesn’t understand how to process all this change. If you lead your dog, then they will know what is expected of them. If you give everyone enough time you will see that you will soon find the perfect dynamic between everyone in the family.
Can you share your own bonding experience between your dog and your baby?
Share in the comments below!