For the past six years, the baby in our house has been Ginger! I rescued Ginger as a puppy, before Matthew and I even got married. I fell in love with her sweet and calm spirit and knew she would be the best dog. How right I was! Ginger has become a huge part of our family and lives. I used to joke that I carried her in my womb for 9 months! Dogs are the most precious and loving creatures and I honestly feel like my life is so much better with them in it.
When Matthew and I found out we were pregnant, we talked about how this might affect Ginger almost immediately. Ginger is used to getting a lot of attention in our house, plus she’s heard her fair share of baby talk! I’ve been doing some research and asked friends and family members about their advice for preparing your dog for a new baby and I thought the info was really insightful and interesting. Hopefully you’ll find it noteworthy as well, whether you’re preparing your dog for a new baby now, or someday in the future!
PREPARING YOUR DOG FOR A NEW BABY
- Introduce your dog to baby sights, sounds and smells. While Ginger has been around kids, and absolutely loves them, she hasn’t been around many babies. We invited our friends over with their 13-month old baby girl and Ginger got her fill of baby smells and cries for the day. Other ideas we have are the following: playing a recording of a baby crying so that she’s more familiar with the sound, opening baby toys in front of her and allowing her to understand the difference between what’s hers and theirs, and applying baby lotion to our skin so that she’s familiar with the smell.
- Start introducing subtle changes to your routine before the baby arrives. Lately I’ve been waking up during the night multiple times, so hopefully that won’t be a surprise to Ginger when we’re getting up for late night/early morning feedings. I also usually walk her at the same time each day, but I’ve been changing that up a bit so that she’s not always expecting a walk first thing in the morning.
- Make slight changes in your attention. Ginger has been used to getting belly rubs, behind the ear scratches, and loads of kisses around the clock when we’re home. It’s been a slight challenge, but we’ve been working on not overloading her with too much attention, for fear that she’ll feel extremely neglected once the baby arrives. We’re still giving her lots of love, but the sessions are a little shorter and not quite as often.
- Enforce new rules and better behavior. I’m patting myself on the back for not teaching Ginger to jump on furniture, but she does have some other behavioral skills that needs correcting. For one, whenever anyone comes to the door she rushes over, jumps up, and sometimes walks outside to greet them. We’ve started to train her to wait in her dog bed until the person has entered the house, and she’s been allowed to say hi. Introducing these new rules now will hopefully help us when we have visitors come see the baby.
- Bring home your baby’s tee shirt. This a tip from my parents that they found extremely helpful with my older dog brother Sam! They brought my tee shirt home from the hospital, before I arrived, so that Sam could sniff it and become familiar with my unique smells. Matthew and I definitely plan on doing that with Ginger.
If you have any tips for preparing your dog for a new baby, please share them with me below! Also, if you’re interested in other great content about pets, you have to check out The Noseprint! They have so many interesting articles to help bring people and their pets closer together, with articles on wellbeing, activities, and community, as well as real stories and helpful tips. Plus, they also give you lots of pet-friendly places in your city and neighborhood! And if you don’t have a dog but want one, here’s a great article on the 5 Best Family Dogs!
photos by Kimber Brown