The arrival of a baby is always a unique and new event for all family members, including the pet. New smells, sounds and objects will occur in the family nucleus and will involve considerable changes in the day to day, therefore, it is advisable to follow a process of adaptation both in the months before birth and in the months after.
Be aware of the changes that the arrival of the baby will make in the usual routine. These changes, on a day-to-day basis, can be introduced months before birth so that the animal gets accustomed. Do not do it abruptly. Analyze your day to day with the animal and think what it will be like when the baby is at home, make a quadrant of schedules and gradually introduce new routines. We are not talking about eliminating behaviors like games or physical activities, we talk about adapting them as much as possible to make the time you will dedicate to the baby compatible with the time you will dedicate to the dog.
Sudden changes in your behavior towards the dog are not convenient. If you consider that initially the physical activity of the dog will be drastically reduced, it would be convenient for you to consider hiring the services of a dog walker. Specially in the first days. A dog walker can be the ideal option to maintain the optimal activity level in the dog, if you are not going to be able to satisfy its exercise needs.
The children's world It may be that the dog has had contact with children and babies since puppy and is already used to its smell or its sounds, however, if not, the animal can find really surprising many of the stimuli related to the baby and therefore we advise to follow these steps:
- Show the animal the baby’s things, before presenting the baby to the dog, show him the baby's room, his things, the diaper changing area, etc. so that he becomes familiar with the new stimuli.
- Set limits It is best that we establish the limits before the baby arrives. You have to teach the dog that there is an invisible barrier in the room of the baby that is forbidden to cross unless permission is given, as time goes by we can let the dog explore and sniff some of the things that are in the baby's room but always supervising it and deciding when it has to be removed.
We have to repeat this exercise several times before the arrival of the baby so that the dog knows that he has to respect that room. Show it the baby’s smell When the baby is born, take home clothes that have been used to teach the smell of the dog. This way you can become familiar with the new smells.
Some recommendations for the presentation:
· It may be a good idea to take the dog for a long walk, just before the presentation. This way we can be sure the animal has little energy and is quiet. When we get home with the baby, we have to be sure that the dog is in a state of tranquility and submission.
· When we enter the house, the dog will perceive the new smell which will already be something familiar because of the baby clothes that we have previously shown him. The person holding the baby will have to be completely calm and allow the dog to smell the baby.
· If the animal shows shy or scared, caress and talk him softly. Encourage him to approach but do not force him.
· Remember that you should always supervise the baby or small children when they are with a dog or other pets. It is not advisable to leave them alone because the animals, curious by nature can try to get up where the baby is and hurt her with their legs without wanting to.
· Also remember that you have to teach children to respect animals and not bother them. The moments of food and rest of the animal are sacred. And also assuming responsibilities proportional to their possibilities and age can be a very valuable learning: collaborate in serving the food or take them for a walk or to the vet. Living with animals is always a very enriching experience.