Having a baby should be a time of joy for everyone. The people involved will certainly rejoice in the new addition, but your beloved dog may need a little convincing. When your fur baby has to deal with the new baby, tensions can develop. You need to take certain steps to make the transitional period less stressful.
Your dog has known something was up for some time, but they may be particularly anxious when you disappear for a trip to the hospital. Preparing your dog for the baby's homecoming should include bringing home an item that smells like your baby. A simple baby onesie should do the trick. According to experts, you should slowly extend the item toward the dog, letting them sniff it at a distance. You can then give them permission to come closer. That way they will be better prepared for your child's appearance, and they will also know that you are in control of the baby and the baby's stuff. Also, having a little one on one time with you before the baby arrives from the hospital can only be good for your furry pal. Reassure your pet of your continuing affection while letting them get used to the baby's scent.
The biggest moment in the process will be the actual introduction of your dog to the baby. Of course, your primary concern has to be the baby's safety, but you can manage a healthy meeting for both of your loved ones. Pet specialists suggest having someone take the baby into another room when you arrive home so that you can spend some time petting and talking to your pet, both to reassure them and to calm them down. After your pet has burned off some energy, take them into the baby's room and let them sit by the baby.
Of course, you should be right by their side, perhaps with your hand gently around the dog's collar, just in case. Even if your dog welcomes the baby, they might get too affectionate and scare your child. Bring treats along and reward your dog for behaving well. If you feel comfortable, you can let your pet sniff the baby, still keeping your hand on the dog's collar. Try to be positive and encouraging so that your dog sees the baby as something good and not a cause for punishment.
Some dogs adjust quickly, but others will need a few days or weeks to feel comfortable. If your dog doesn't take to the baby over time, consult with your vet for behavior tips. You may want to consider training classes for your dog. Your baby's safety has to come first.
The focus will obviously be on your newborn when they come home, but you need to give your pet plenty of attention each day as well so that they will not feel threatened. Fortunately, many dogs become quite protective of the new addition and, often, their best friend. Carefully managing the meeting can go a long way to making the homecoming go smoothly for everyone.