As soon as you get Baby home from the hospital, these guidelines should allow for a stress-free introduction to your pet.
1. Greet your pet first
As soon as you get home, the dog should be granted to greet you without the baby present. Just after the pet has calmed down should Dad appear in and present the baby. “Sometimes it’s a good idea to keep the pet and the baby separate for several hours, so the pet can begin to get used to the baby being in the house without actually being close enough to investigate it,” suggests Jonathan Klein, the founder of I Said Sit! Personalized Dog Training Center in Los Angeles.
Watch this video of Boxer puppy, Brutus, meeting his new baby sister, Sophia:
2. Start off small
For the initial introduction, the dog ought to be on a leash in a sit-stay position and rewarded with petting or praise. Progressively, dog and Baby are brought closer together. “As long as the dog is quiet, it should be allowed to remain nearby–close enough to smell the baby, but not close enough to bite,” Klein affirms.
3. Remain calm
In case you are anxious during the introduction, your pet will recognize your anxiousness, says Megan Blake, an animal rescuer and host of the PBS show Animal Attractions TV. “Keep the environment as calm as possible–there shouldn’t be a ton of people around at first,” she points out. “And never yell at the dog or cat if she gets too close for comfort–you can be firm, but don’t raise your voice. It will only frighten the pet and create a negative association with the baby.”
4. Give a lot of praise
In case your dog is behaving properly around the new baby, ensure to point that good behavior out, Blake says. “Offer plenty of praise through words and treats,” she advises. “Positive reinforcement will encourage good behavior.”
5. Don’t exclude your dog
“The most common problem we see is the pet acting up because it’s not getting the same attention it was used to getting,” Klein explains. “So it’s important to remember to include it as much as possible when you’re around the baby and take that extra step to make it feel like it’s part of the family.” Stick with your pet’s normal routines as much as possible, and ensure to spend one on one quality time with your pet every day–it might actually help relax you too!