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Arrival of a child at home, how to manage the reactions of my dog?

A birth is announced? Congratulations! For a child, growing up with a dog brings many benefits by contributing to his awakening and education. However, your four-legged friend is very attached to his routine and may be disturbed by the upcoming change. Here are some tips on how to prepare your dog for the arrival of a new member of the household.

Before the baby arrives

Mastering your dog's obedience

First and foremost, make sure your dog's obedience is under control. If he's listening, you'll be able to ask him to go to the basket more easily if, for example, you find him too close to the newborn. If your dog has a tendency to jump, it's also important to address this bad habit, which can be risky for your child. Put the prohibitions in place as soon as possible.

Establishing new habits

You'll need to set up the new environment by rearranging the rhythm little by little. To prepare your dog, give him a little less time and attention, but don't neglect him. You need to slowly adopt a schedule that will correspond as closely as possible to the one you will have after the baby arrives. Get him used to this change gradually, while keeping in mind that your dog needs daily exercise outside the garden.

Should you ban the baby's room?

Before your child is born, decide whether or not your dog will be allowed in the baby's room. If you don't want him to, make him understand this prohibition by saying "no" rather than by using an obstacle such as a door, which you might forget to close one day. Remember to reward him when he obeys (with petting or treats). However, be careful not to chase him away systematically when he comes near baby's things, let him sniff to find out.

Where to allow the baby's room?

If you're thinking of allowing him into the room, let him explore the area in your presence and sniff his things. You can also teach your baby to go into the room with you, but don't allow him to go in without you. In any case, he should not leave the room with a toy that does not belong to him.

After the arrival of the baby

Let him smell an infant's clothing

Before the baby comes home, some people recommend that you let the dog smell something the baby wore in the hospital or clinic. Ask your veterinarian first if this is appropriate for your dog's temperament. If so, ask someone close to you to bring home a blanket, cloth or piece of clothing that your child has been wrapped in and have your dog sniff it. This way, he'll already know the scent of his new family member.

Making first contact

On the day you return home, wait for the dog to come to you and greet him as usual, warmly, without pushing him away. Under your close supervision, let him initiate the first contact and allow him to sniff the baby. Depending on his reaction, gently approach your child by presenting his legs or feet, but not his face. In the vast majority of cases, the dog understands very quickly that this new inhabitant is important in the household and will be gentle with him.

Dealing with the baby's cries and screams

Screaming and crying are inevitable. You and your dog, who has a much better sense of hearing than we do, will have to get through this turbulence calmly. When your baby cries, invite the dog to come and see him with you to get him used to it and reassure him. On the other hand, if you observe your pet in a state of stress, offer to move him to another room or to go out in the garden to calm him down. Do not pet your pet as this may reinforce the behavior.

Walking with your child and dog

Bring your dog along when you walk your child in the stroller. He'll get used to the new exercise and won't feel left out. It's important to have taught your child to walk on a leash near you beforehand. If your dog pulls, correct this behavior. If necessary, call an educator or ask your veterinarian to help you with this training. Under no circumstances should you attach the leash to the stroller.

Establish moments of sharing

When you're holding your baby, don't push your dog away because he'll see the new arrival as a nuisance. Try to share pleasant moments together: let him approach and settle down with you. When you give the baby milk, invite your four-legged friend to join you. You can even offer your baby a treat if he or she is standing quietly beside you. In general, pet and reward your dog more when your baby is around. This will help him associate his presence with a positive environment.

Make time for your dog

Choose a time each day when you're just looking after your dog. Continue to give your dog attention by doing activities with him that will stimulate him physically and mentally. Playing games and showing affection will help prevent him from feeling left behind. Preserve your pet's usual places: the location of its basket, its food bowls, a space with its pillow and its favorite toys where it can always take refuge.

Teaching your child respect

It is recommended to educate your child as soon as possible on the behavior to adopt with your dog. You should not allow your baby to see him as a toy to which he will pull his tail, ears or hair. He must respect him and you must never let the child disturb your dog when he is calm in his basket or while he is eating. It is imperative to remain vigilant during the different contacts between them.

Do not leave a child and a dog alone

Never leave a baby with a dog without adult supervision because a young child does not yet have good control over his movements and, as he does not yet know dog language, he will not be able to decipher the signals given by the animal before biting. Always refuse to let your dog growl at your child and if this happens, intervene quickly and firmly, but without being aggressive.

Take care of your child's hygiene

With the arrival of an infant, take hygiene measures. A visit to your veterinarian is necessary to establish a small health check-up of your dog, to treat him against external parasites (fleas and ticks) and to administer a deworming treatment, to be renewed every season for an adult. Since various diseases can be transmitted from a pet to a child, it is recommended to disinfect objects that the baby brings to its mouth and that the doggie may have licked.

Now, all that's left to do is to equip yourself with a camera to immortalize the tender moments to come between your baby and his future best friend.