One’s On The Way: Getting Your Dog Ready for Baby

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There are lots of preparations before baby gets here.
 
If you have a dog, there are things you should do before baby gets here to prepare them for the big change.
 
Veterinarian Dr. Eric Cunningham with Live Oak Animal Hospital says the best thing you can do is desensitize the dogs to everything ‘baby.’
 
Put the toys out and swing out.
 
And when they’re curious around them, give your dog a treat to make it a positive experience.
 
With kids, the dog is going to be poked and proded.
 
So give them a little pinch or poke and after you do, give them a treat.
 
This way they can get used to being handled a different way and still see it as positive.
 
It’s also never a good idea to leave the dog alone in a room with the child.
 
Dr. Cunningham says it can take a long time to build up a trust level where you think that would be ok.
 
And notice that behaviors are going to change with age.
 
“Newborns are one thing but toddlers are where they can really get into trouble because the toddler is crawling after the dog and that can be a threatening thing for your dog,” explains Dr. Cunningham. “I had a dog personally that I thought would never show any type of aggression but my son was crawling towards him and he was in a corner and my dog growled at him and I was shocked. So I say if my dog could do that which I know he never would, any dog could. You can never be too careful and always put the safety of the child first of course.”
 
Dr. Cunningham also suggests to take a baby blanket with you to the hospital and have someone bring it home and have your dogs smell it.
 
But have them sit before they can smell it. 
 
This sets up a level of discipline with that new smell and they know there are boundaries around that smell.
 
If you’re still worried, take a video of how the dog is acting around the child and take it to your vet to see what they think about this type of behavior.

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