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I’m Pregnant… How Do I Tell My Dog?

        
          

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Dogs and babies aren’t incompatible. On the contrary, when a child has the opportunity to grow next to a doggy friend, the benefits are immense. Living with a pet can help children develop their nurturing skills, responsibility, empathy and communication skills; they can also learn how to be empathetic and kind. Some studies have shown that dogs can help kids develop their self-esteem, create and maintain healthier social relationships and also exercise more regularly (which decreases the incidence of obesity and weight problems). They can also contribute to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Unfortunately, things may not go as smooth as desired once the baby arrives. This is why you should invest on preparing your dog to accept the presence of the baby. Here are a few tips on how to do it:

  • Go to the internet and search for baby sounds. There are plenty of videos with babies crying, screaming and talking. Play them several times during the day; if the dog reacts to them, you may need to lower the volume and start playing the videos when he’s doing something enjoyable (such as eating, playing…).
  • Buy a baby doll and pretend it’s a real baby. Carry it on your arms, sit on the couch and pretend your feeding it, change its diapers… Simply put, you should rehearse the things you’ll be doing with the real baby, so your dog gets used to them.
  • Teach your dog to remain calm and sit when he’s in the presence of the baby. When you’re carrying the doll, ask your dog to sit or to lie down and reward him for exhibiting calm and controlled behaviors.
  • Do any of your friends have small children? If they do, ask them for a used diaper. It may sound gross but babies have their own particular set of smells and it’s important that you get your dog used to them.
  • Teach your dog the “quiet!” cue. If the dog starts barking and your baby is asleep, you need to make sure you can stop the barking. To make things easier for the dog, you can also teach him to bark on cue. Make it fun!
  • Simulate real life situations. Your baby will probably wake up and start crying in the middle of the night. You don’t want your dog to get startled and scared! To do this, you’ll need to play the sound of a crying baby during the night. If the dog doesn’t react to much to the sound, you should reward him. If he does, lower the volume and try again.

This may seem like lots of work. However, it will save lots of stress and unpleasant situations later. Dogs can be perfect companions for children, so make sure you do your best to help him out. Remember: dogs don’t see babies as little humans; they look, act, move and smell funny. It’s our job as parents to prevent accidents from happening. If you need any help, don’t hesitate and contact a positive dog trainer or a certified animal behaviorist.

If you want more tips on this subject, check out our article named The Dog & New Baby; Introducing Your Dog To A New Baby

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Marilia Domingos

Marilia Domingos

I have a huge passion for animals and so I chose to work with them. I am a Veterinary Nurse and a Positive Dog Trainer.
Marilia Domingos

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