If you’ll soon be introducing your four-legged pal to a new two-legged sibling, follow these tips from Heidi Ganahl, CEO and founder of Camp Bow Wow, to ensure a smooth and safe transition.
Sign your dog up for a refresher course if it’s been a while since she was last in training. “There are many commands that will be extremely helpful when the baby arrives,” says Ganahl. “You’ll want to ensure your dog is able to understand your requests and respond in a timely manner.”
Get set up
Go ahead and purchase the gear you’ll be using once baby arrives, such as a bouncer, highchair or safety gate, so your pet gets used to navigating around it. “It’s also a good idea to get a CD of a crying baby and baby noises,” advises Ganahl, which can help your pup grow accustomed to the unusual sounds.
“Dogs have a very keen sense of smell, so it’s important to bring in items that are going to be used on the baby,” says Ganahl. Purchase baby products with a distinct scent, like baby powder and diapers, before your newborn arrives. And prior to bringing your newborn home, consider letting your pet sniff a blanket that baby used at the hospital, so she’s familiar with the scent.
When you return to the house after giving birth, have your partner keep your baby outside while you cheerfully greet your wagging-tailed dog. She’ll be excited to see you and less resentful when your arms are free and able to pet her rather than occupied by baby.