Below you will find some basic suggestions will help you to prepare your puppy for the arrival of a new baby. Most puppies take this in their stride, others do struggle to adjust; taking the time to prepare will make the transition much easier for all concerned.
- Take your puppy to your veterinarian for a routine health check and necessary vaccinations.
- Consult with a veterinarian and paediatrician if the thought of your new-born interacting with the family puppy makes you uncomfortable. By working with these experts before your baby is born, you can resolve problems early and put your mind at ease.
- If your puppy’s behaviour includes gentle nibbling, pouncing, or paw swatting at you and others, redirect that behaviour to appropriate objects.
- Train your puppy to remain on the floor beside you until you invite him/her on your lap, which will soon cradle a new-born.
- Ignore any contact from your puppy that could be construed as attention seeking. This needs to stop before you need to resolve with and care for your new-born at the same time.
- Encourage friends with infants to visit your home to accustom your puppy to babies. Supervise all puppy and infant interactions.
- Accustom your puppy to baby-related noises months before the baby is expected. For example, play recordings of a baby crying, turn on the mechanical infant swing and use the rocking chair. Make these positive experiences for your puppy by offering a treat or playtime.
- Give yourself some time apart from your puppy before the baby is born, so that he/she does not experience a sudden exclusion.
- The baby’s room should be off-limits to your puppy, so install a sturdy barrier such as a removable gate (available at puppy/dog or baby supply stores) or, for jumpers, even a screen door. Because these barriers still allow your puppy to see and hear what’s happening in the room, he/she will feel less isolated from the family and more comfortable with the new baby noises.
- Limit your puppy’s access to your bedroom, particularly if it is currently sleeping there at night. Take the opportunity to allow your puppy to sleep in a separate area of your home, such as the kitchen. Use a crate if possible, it will provide your puppy with a safe and secure place to go to when necessary, as well as a portable kennel if your puppy needs to stay with others during the birthing period.
- Talk to your puppy about the baby, using the baby’s name if you have selected one.
- Sprinkle baby powder or baby oil on your skin so your puppy/dog becomes familiar with the new smells.
- If your puppy shows a reluctance to be near you at any time during your pregnancy, do not force the issue, be aware that you will smell completely differently to your puppy than you did prior to pregnancy. Let your puppy have some space and accept that this is common and is not you being rejected in any way.
- Finally, plan ahead to make sure your puppy gets proper care at the time of the birth.
Information from various sources.