Dog & Baby – is That Okay?

No, you don’t have to give up a dog when a baby comes. You should only prepare him beforehand for the addition to the family: Therefore, teach your dog now that he has to fit into the pack. If he has learned this beforehand, he will not associate these changes with the baby. Then the baby is no reason for jealousy for him.

The dog is your helper

To introduce the completely normal dog pack order now: you and your husband, you are the pack seniors who say where to go. Your dog is the “adult helper” in the pack: he watches, reports, helps. And for the baby, the completely unrivaled role of the “young animal” remains, which can do whatever it wants … as long as it obeys the instructions of the older animals and helpers. From now on, don’t tolerate any more contradictions. And with dogs that are defending “their” belongings, practice “Give it,” too: you put the bowl in front of him, but the moment he bends over it, you say, “Stop, give it,” and take it to him up again. If he takes it easy, he gets the bowl back after a short “check” by you, with a lot of praise and the request: “Okay, eat now”. However, if he responds by growling or snapping, walk away silently with the bowl. And start the whole procedure again 3 minutes later. Practice the “Give me” several times a day, at every available opportunity: Your dog has something, you go there, put your hand over his snout, squeeze briefly and say: “Give me”. If he does, he gets the thing back after a quick check by you and with praise. If he’s grumbling, you need to get rough… and that’s why I’d recommend for starters: buy yourself a pair of gardening gloves: if you’re not worried, your grip will be a lot more confident and the dog will take notice and comply.

Set up taboo zones for the dog

And distribute the “places” in the house now: baby’s bed, the changing table are absolutely taboo for the dog. Take him to the (still empty) baby room three times a day, do something there, but keep an eye on him: Your dog must now learn that this room is not his territory, that he is only a guest there, that he not allowed to set up there. Now narrow him down a bit and show him that you’re a lot more “possessive” than he is: if he’s on the couch, leave him alone. But five times a day you stand up in front of him and order very harshly: “From there!” If he does, he will be praised briefly. If he doesn’t want to, take your gardening glove (or a water pistol), assert yourself, sit down briefly in the vacated seat without paying attention to him, and then walk away without a word.

Show who’s in charge

If he’s somewhere in the apartment, don’t go around him: you stop, command: “Get out of here!”, support the command with a small foot nudge and only move on when he has stood up. Show him with small gestures of dominance that you are in charge of here: If he comes to cuddle or play, then send him away, but as soon as he trolls, call him over and – instead of cuddling – check his eyes first, his ears, his fur. Also, at least once a day, play the game: “Look me in the eye, kid!” They stare at him, silent and without a smile until he looks away. You know, dogs fight with looks, and whoever looks away first admits that the other is stronger. And “talk” to him a lot in the house with gestures and in the language of the deaf-mute: he then has to keep an eye on you more and will “hear” you better. Your dog must now learn that you are “his adult animal” and he is “only” your adult helper. Now lower his standards and change his world now. Then he will not relate these changes – initially negative for him – to the baby, but rather see the baby as a positive change. Besides, once the baby is here, you won’t have time or nerves for such re-education things anyway… Then show him the baby, in your arms, naked and in diapers, screaming and sleeping. Show him how happy you are and also that you have such a fantastic “helper” at your side who is watching and guarding him. Don’t worry about hygiene: have your dog dewormed as a precaution, and then let him lick the baby: a dog licking a baby only shows that he has “adopted” this pup. Or in short: dogs that lick don’t bite…

Don’t ever leave them alone

But: never leave them unsupervised. In your presence, your helper will, of course, always give priority to you. But as soon as you leave the room, he will take over your role as a matter of course. And what he then experiences as “shocking” or “not so small” and – as your deputy – wants to correct, you should always keep that under control. And: Protect your helper against the attacks of the young animal. When a baby squeaks and grabs a dog’s fur or nose, it’s not “funny” at all for the dog. Help him, protect him … before he has to do it himself … I know the motto still applies in dog circles: A dog is always at the bottom of the family hierarchy and has to put up with everything and let the crawling child take everything away from it. But this motto is life-threatening – for children and for dogs (the children are injured, and the dogs are then put down).

So educate both: Teach your helper that the baby is your cub, that you will take care of it and raise it yourself, and that their only job is to protect this little one from danger on your behalf. But teach your baby, even from day one, that the dog is your respected helper, that it must not be hurt, that it must not “dominate”.

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