Toddler and dog playing

The arrival of a new family member is a big change in your lives. There are a number of steps that you can take before bringing your baby home that will help your dog to make a smooth transition. 

Get your dog accustomed to the new sounds that he will hear by playing a recording of a baby crying at different times throughout the day and in all rooms of the house. 

Introduce your dog to your new actions by pretending to care for a baby-sized doll. Let your dog see you feeding, changing and carrying the "baby" around and praise your dog for behaving calmly while you are doing so. If she tries to jump on you or the "baby" you will have time to help her understand how to behave in that situation before you are tired from also caring for a newborn.

Your dog may have difficulty distinguishing his toys from the baby’s items. As you begin to gather items for the baby familiarize your dog with any small items that may cause confusion such as stuffed animals, pacifiers or booties and help him to understand that you do not want him to chew on these items. Praise him when he chooses to chew on his toys and ignores the baby's items. 

If you are going to give your dog any new rules once the baby arrives, begin to teach your dog the rules before you bring your baby home. Also use this time to review all of your dog's obedience commands because these commands will help you to let your dog know what you would like her to do in all the different situations that she will soon face.

Dog kissing little girl

Once your baby is born but before he/she comes home from the hospital bring an item with the baby's scent such as a blanket or cap to your dog so that she can become accustomed to the scent. 

When you do introduce your dog to your baby have the dog on a leash. Praise your dog for sniffing the baby and behaving calmly and use the leash to control any unwanted behaviors. Make sure that all interactions between the dog and the baby are closely supervised.

Having a new baby is time-consuming and exhausting but try your best to ensure that once you bring your baby home your dog still receives his normal amount of exercise. A dog who suddenly is not getting his accustomed level of exercise will become stressed and will have a lot of excess energy, which often leads the dog to get into mischief. 

Read what our clients have to say about Best Behaved Dogs

I asked Janet to help me with my older miniature schnauzer, Sigfried.  As a puppy he had exasperated me because he had behavior problems that I did not know how to manage nor understand. 

Janet recognized Siegfried's behavior immediately as fear-aggression.  Her knowledge about Siegfried's behavior helped change my feelings of frustration to compassion and the suggestions she made are making Sigfried a better behaved dog.  

Audrey, Arlington, VA