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What New Moms Should Know About Dogs and Kids

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If you’re like me and have a multi-pet household, you know all about sibling rivalry. The moment one pet gets any attention you find another one trying to climb up onto your lap or nudge your hand over to his face. So, you can imagine what it would be like if you were bringing a new baby into the home. Hands down, the infant will win when it comes to receiving immediate and total attention on command. Its loud, its smelly and still it gets the cuddles that used to come the way of your pet. So how do you prepare both yourself and your pooch for that new little addition? Here are six tips for ensuring Rover is down with the new kid on the block:

  1. Prior to actually bringing home baby, try a little role play. Carry a baby doll around the house and treat it as you would an infant. No jumping up on your lap when you’re holding it, no pawing at your legs, and waiting his turn for attention. This can de-sensitize your pet and help him get used to this sudden invasion into his one-on-one time with you.
  • Cool it on the doggy cuddles and indulgences while you’re pregnant. It only makes him miss it more when it suddenly stops when baby enters the picture. Slowly wean him away from being the top dog in your life by not responding instantly to his demands for attention and need to be with you 24/7.
  • If your pooch just doesn’t do kids, it’s time to have a little party… or three. Get him used to having people in the house; the noise, the new faces, and the focus not being entirely on him. This is what it’s going to be like for him as babies become kids. Loud, confusion with playmates running around his yard. He’ll learn to love it.
  • Bring out the gear. Yes, all that baby paraphilia can be unusual and confusing to a pet. If it’s going to have to take up some of his personal space (such as a crib, playpen or highchair), get him used to that before the baby arrives home and he has even more to contend with.
  • If your pet is a piddler, you may want not want to leave items (e.g. blankets, clothing, pads) laying around. Look for the reason – have his walks been cut back or even eliminated because of the baby? That’s a more likely cause than him scheming a little pay-back. Try to maintain his normal routine as best you can.
  • A crying baby is no fun for anyone, including the dog. Prior to baby’s arrival, desensitize him to the sound by playing a recording of babies crying. Similar to what you would do if a dog was frightened of thunder or fireworks. Gradual exposure to the offending sound minimizes its effect. And like all new parents, dogs need a safe space to retreat to. Make sure your pet’s crate or bed are still available to him.

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