How to Ensure a Strong Bond Between Dog and Baby
In the past, it was unimaginable that babies live in the same home as dogs. People thought dogs were dangerous to the child, and kids were introduced to pets only once they got older. But, it’s the 21st century and we know how important it is for young children to have animal friends. And if you ensure your child and your dog have a healthy relationship, they will become best of friends in no time.
The First Meeting
Dogs think of you and your family as their pack, and when a new baby arrives at the household, dogs will see them as a new pack member. However, in dog’s world, every pack member has to earn their position and respect, so you must be careful how you introduce the baby to the dog. Make it a fun, stress-free and positive experience for both parties.
Canine psychology experts recommend you bring a piece of baby’s clothing, a blanket or even a diaper for your dog to sniff. Animals rely on their sense of smell all the time and this can make your baby more familiar to the dog. Once you bring the baby home, don’t ignore or banish the dog outside, since this will make the dog perceive the baby as a threat to its position in the pack. Let your dog lightly sniff the newcomer (while on the leash) and let them spend some time in the same room as the baby. If everything goes well, you can prolong the time spent together, but always be present in the room. During that time, take your dog for frequent walks, play with them and make them feel loved.
Dogs can get very jealous and oftentimes don’t like to share their owner’s attention. This can lead to aggressive behavior towards the baby, but not very often. However, if your dog is growling at the baby and showing teeth, has raised hair, ears pinned back and downward pointing tail, this means the dog is stressed and unhappy. If you see such behavior, remove the dog from the room.
Let New Friends Bond
If everything seems to be going well after a few weeks, allow your dog to be a part of your daily activities around the baby, like feeding and changing (use the leash if necessary). Try to give attention to your dog when the baby is around or give them their favorite treats while you’re feeding the baby. You can also take your dog when going for a stroll with the baby. All of these will create positive associations with the baby and make the dog feel happy and comfortable in its presence. When the baby starts to crawl, teach them to be gentle, to avoid animal’s eyes and mouth and not to scream at them. Additionally, since your dog will be spending a lot of time with your baby, make sure they’re healthy and clean. Feed them with good food such as high-quality Advance dog food, give them frequent baths and cut their nails regularly.
When Things Don’t Work Out
If your dog and baby can’t develop a bond and a healthy relationship, you might want to ask for the help of a professional dog trainer who will point out the problems and make a bonding plan. The tension between the baby and the animal can cause a lot of stress to the whole family, so don’t hesitate to seek help. Also, keep in mind that every dog and every breed is different and need different amounts of patience and time to get used to the new member of the pack.
If you’ve always dreamed of your dog and your baby having an amazing relationship, you must be patient. Developing a bond takes time, but once it’s there, it will last forever.
Check out our Holiday Product Guide!