Expecting a New Human Addition: Prep Your Dog Before the Arrival

Tips from the AKC GoodDog! Helpline Trainers

You should prepare your dog for the arrival of a new infant, the same as you would prepare your nursery. Most dogs get along fine with babies but it makes it easier on everyone if the dog had some advance preparation.

Before the Baby Arrives

·         Make sure your dog knows basic obedience commands, like Sit, Down, and Stay. This is a good time to take your dog to a basic obedience class.

·         Bring home a life-size baby doll that cries and moves and carry it around,

·         Purchase a CD with the sounds of infants crying on it and play it occasionally to de-sensitize the dog to that new noise in the house

·         If possible, bring home one of the baby’s blankets from the hospital before the baby comes home and let the dog smell it to get used to the new smell

·         Go ahead and establish the rules for the nursery. If the dog will not be allowed in the room, begin teaching that in a positive manner before the baby comes home. Perhaps install a baby gait in the door way. Always reward and praise the dog for staying outside the room.

When Baby Arrives Home  

·         Make sure the dog still gets plenty of attention and exercise once the baby comes home. Try to be inclusive with dog and baby instead of keeping the dog separate from the baby. Make the dog think the baby is a great addition. Toss the dog treats when you are changing or holding the baby.

·         When Mom first arrives home from the hospital, the dog will probably be very excited to see her and may jump – so make sure you have help and someone else should probably carry the baby for safety purposes. Mom should give the dog a warm welcome to let him or her know she missed them too.

·         Never leave baby alone and unsupervised with the dog

For seven-day-a-week training support for your dog, enroll in the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, staffed by experienced dog trainers who answer your training questions: www.akcgooddoghelpline.org