Ways to Prepare Dogs for a New Baby: Part 2
Now that our baby is due to arrive in just a few short months, I thought I’d check back in with an update on our progress in preparing our dogs for the baby’s arrival. Here are a few of the methods we’ve employed (some more successfully than than others!) to ready our pets for this big life change that is about to happen.
Tactics for Preparing Pets for a New Baby
Baby Doll. In preparation for a real baby, we’ve gotten in the habit of carrying a baby doll around the house to get the dogs used to the idea. Our young, energetic pup, Luna, is still intrigued by this doll, especially when it “cries” (we hide a phone underneath it playing some video clips of babies crying), but doesn’t jump or get in the way when we are carrying her.
More crying. Also, in terms of crying – we were recently at a family gathering with Luna in tow and there was a two-year old boy running circles around the house. She didn’t seem to care, at least not as much as he did – he loved the four dogs that were there for him to chase and play with. And when the boy cried (on just a couple occasions through the night – he was a trooper!), my husband and I took note that it didn’t seem to bother Luna one bit. Of course, she was distracted by her three fellow pups and the numerous guests, so we won’t take that as a true win yet. But definitely a good sign.
Baby Gear. We recently set up our brand new glider chair. We thought the actual gliding motion might be too much for Luna as she tends to be skittish with certain new things, especially when they move or can move on their own. It was set up and remained in our living room for a week – first, because it was super comfy and I found myself napping in it on occasion in front of the TV, and second, because we wanted Luna to get used to it. We’ll leave it in our bedroom for a few months before it makes its way to the nursery. It’ll be interesting to see what happens as we get more gear for baby – especially any gadgets that are motorized or make noises. A noise machine is actually one thing I’m hoping both Luna and the baby will appreciate equally. We had a noise machine before Luna and decided it best to use it during the night since she would stir from a car door slamming on our street. She sleeps fine without it as well, but at least when we use it for the baby, it won’t be a foreign sound she’ll have to get accustomed to.
Off-Limits Nursery. Our nursery is well on its way to being complete, and rather than keeping the door shut as we normally do, we’ve decided to block off the door so Luna can see and smell everything inside but can’t get in. We’d like to keep the nursery off limits so that no matter what noises or smells are coming from the nursery, Luna will know that she’s not allowed to come in. Eventually, after the baby is born and a bit older, this may change, but for now it should hopefully make things easier on us. Now, we are able to leave the door open when we are in the nursery and Luna knows to park herself right outside the door. She can watch and sleep there while we’re inside, but she typically doesn’t try to enter or will stop once we take note of her inching her way in. Of course, when we’re not around or if baby is asleep in there, we’ll plan to keep the door closed.
House. Luna’s gotten a lot better with the command, “house” – which when said, indicates that she must go to her bed and lay down. She’s at least associating the word with her bed, which is great. Next, we’ll have to make sure she can stick to it with distractions around.
Toy Distinction. We’ll also have to make sure there’s a distinction between the baby’s toys and rattles and Luna’s toys. Especially as we begin to collect some rattles and teethers for the baby, Luna seems extremely eager as we remove any packaging and wash the toys. We heard a tip from another couple in our childbirth class not to give any new toys to your dog for awhile. I think mostly this will require some close monitoring, but I would love any tips on how to help make that distinction, especially once baby arrives and I’m sure plenty of toys will be scattered around the house!
The Real Introduction. Somewhere between welcoming our baby into the world and taking care of the dogs, my husband knows one of his tasks will be to bring a blanket or clothing item that has baby’s scent on it home from the hospital. He’ll introduce it to Luna after she calms down (she still gets pretty excited when dad comes home!). And she can gently sniff it, but she absolutely can’t get too excited – no jumping, barking, snatching or playing with this item. This way, when we do bring baby home, she’ll be familiar with the smell and hopefully won’t go berserk as if it were strangers coming into the house. She should react just the same as when just me or my husband come home – excited and happy to see us, but quiet and calm (for the most part). We’ve also heard that upon bringing baby home, we should have Luna lay down calmly and while holding baby securely, bring her just over Luna’s back. This way, baby will be physically above Luna showing her ranking in our pack, or that she’s the alpha – coming before Luna.
Do you have any more tips for ways I can prepare my dogs for the new baby? I’d love to hear your suggestions.
I’m an expectant first-time mom, employee of Bright Horizons and a foodie who loves to cook, travel and laugh. In my free time, I like to pretend I know how to use my DSLR like a pro and do basically all things creative (major DIY-er here). I’m excited to share some of the ups-and-downs of my journey to parenthood as my husband, two dogs and I gear up for our new addition to the family!
- Preparing Pets for a Baby: Jessie shares her tips for getting your furry friends ready for baby
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Preparing Pets for a New Baby
- E-family news: Are Cats & Dogs Good for Your Child’s Health?
- Read more posts about pets and posts about pregnancy from the Family Room bloggers