room for everyone: how dogs and babies best coexist

there comes a time in many couples lives when they need to explain to their fur-babies, about human babies.  it can be a tough conversation, of which the realities won’t be fully comprehended until 24 hours after the human baby actually arrives in home.  not only does this new baby sister represent a new center of adoration and attention, she also produces very loud, non-barking noises at unpredictable times of day and night.  in sum, this household change can be a lot.  for everyone.  while sleepless nights are inevitable, sibling rivalry is not.  with a little planning and a few tricks, your dog and his new kid sister will be coexisting peacefully from day one.

preparation

long before human baby sister arrives, train and socialize your dog to improve his obedience, comfort with others, and sense of independence.  (if at all possible try not to welcome newborns into a home with an untrained dog, as it is not only challenging but can be unsafe.)  desensitize your dog to baby smells, sounds and routines with role-playing and socialization with friend’s infants and children.  additionally, the humane society of america created ‘preparing fido,’ a CD of baby noises, that will help normalize these new round-the-clock, non-barking noises.

boundaries

also well before the highly anticipated due date, create a den for your dog within the common area — corners being best.  (stop there, what is a ‘den?’)  work with your dog to sleep, play and rest in this space, making it a safe haven that he loves.  when baby girl becomes mobile, work with her to respect this space as “off limits” keeping your dog’s den (and toys) intact.  this can be difficult as a den looks an awful lot like a fort, so it’s up to you to maintain these important boundaries.

cardinal rules

these are non-negotiable, friends.  no matter how truly exceptional your dog and / or baby is.

    • make a non issue of introducing human baby girl to your fur baby.  with him leashed and calm, welcome him to sit by the family +1.  let him observe, in a low-pressure environment, until he feels more comfortable.  do that daily, then slowly graduate to sniffing and closer interaction.
    • create a ‘dog zone’ where he can play and relax and a ‘baby zone’ where she is safe, to use whenever needed.
    • do not leave babies or child alone with dogs.  tiny humans are not able to understand what will provoke even the most docile of dogs, so wait until they are grown for alone time.
    • seek professional help if you have concerns about your dog’s interaction with your children, family members or friends. 

up-cycled gifting

once sweet baby girl has grown out of her crib, let her give her new best friend (and the planet) a gift with the crib-e™, a chic and durable duvet that turns an unused crib mattress into a huge dog bed!

with preparation, clear boundaries and a few rules, you will be on you way to supporting the growing love between your dog and child.

want more?  we’re not experts but victoria stillwell is!

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