Expecting a new baby?

Expecting a new baby in your household?

Prepare your dog for the homecoming with these 8 tips before the baby arrives


1. Start taking your dog to obedience school as soon as possible before the baby arrives. Consider a "refresher course" if your dog has already been to school.

2. Have friends with small children and infants visit to see how your dog reacts. Don't force interaction, but let your dog approach at his/her own pace. Praise and treat your dog every time he/she behaves properly around babies and children, especially if they are quietly lying down. Remember: Never leave dogs and children alone together unsupervised.

3. Start using baby products (soap, lotion, etc.) to get your dog used to the new scents. Also turn on the infant swing and wind up toys to desensitize your dog to the new sights and sounds.

4. Try to imitate the new schedule you will have with the baby so your dog gets used to the new routines. Start implementing a "doggy time" of 20 min or more at a certain time each day of undivided attention for your dog. Keep this routine in place after the baby arrives so that your dog will still feel like a valued member of the family.

5. Make sure you have your dog visit the veterinarian to make sure he/she is healthy and current on all vaccines.

6. Before the baby comes home, bring an article of clothing that smells like the hospital (or the baby) for your dog to get acquainted with.

7. Your dog will be very excited to see mom when she comes home from the hospital. Have someone else hold the baby to allow mom to calmly greet the dog. Keep meetings with the baby short and positive, sniffing the baby's feet is usually a good place for a first hello.

8. Always keep your dogs crate door open to allow a place for your dog to go rest when household hubbub gets too intense.