Bringing a baby into the world is a beautiful thing. Bringing a baby into your dog's world, however, may not be quite as welcomed. Your dog has been your one and only up until now. But, soon he or she will go from being the baby to living with an actual baby. If that is not a major life change then we don't know what is.
we can help
It's hard having a new baby and a dog and almost impossible to give your dog the attention they still deserve while caring for your baby, all at the same time. Your dog will not understand the sudden shift in attention. They may be curious or nervous about the baby but equally demanding of your time. Their diminishing physical activity will start to manifest in different ways and soon enough your 4-legged child might seem harder to deal with than ever before. We are here to help you not only to avoid any unwanted reactions by your dog, but also to learn how to manage and predict your dog's behavior and help both you and your dog feel safe. Help prepare your dog for a new addition to the family and build a great relationship with your dog and baby as they grow into a toddler and beyond. We'll help you create a list of possible routine changes, physical changes in your home, shifts in the rules, and things your dog should know. We'll break down these changes into a DOABLE month by month training plan leading up to your child's birth that will leave you and your dog feeling ready for the new "adventure" in front of you.*
Baby prep and training services we offer:
- In-Home Set Up and Prep: setting up baby free zones for your dog will be the first step. Many people think the opposite is true, that you need to create safe areas for your child. In reality, both are true and dogs also need their own safe areas. Babies and toddlers are unpredictable, dogs need somewhere to go where they can feel safe. Next, you'll learn how to introduce your dog to the baby free zone so they will learn to love it and not feel isolated from the family.
- Routine Changes: We'll help you slowly shift your dog's routine so that they won't feel off schedule when the baby comes, find new ways to give your dog attention and stimulation that will be doable once the baby comes, and give you both the proper amount of down time too!
- Physical Changes: The layout of your home will change when you have your baby. We'll help you make physical changes in a way that won't cause undue stress to you and your dog. Dog's value their ability to move freely in the house and a stressed dog is a dog closer to their "bite threshold."
- The Rules: Your house rules are likely to change when your baby arrives. Let us help you start instituting some of those rules now so they don’t free like a major shift to your dog when the baby finally arrives. For example, will your dog’s current greeting habits work for when you enter your home holding the baby (hint hint, no one wants a dog jumping on them while they have a baby in their arms)?
- Basic Manners: There are several cues, which are helpful for your dog to know and respond to well before your baby comes. You will feel more in control if you can communicate with your dog even when you need to put 99% of your focus on the baby. Some examples are: Leave it, Go to your bed, Quiet, and Down.
- There is some much more you can do to get your dog ready. Let us help you do it!
- Supervised Baby and Dog Time: Like we said, babies and toddlers are unpredictable. They don't know not to pull on tails or hit their four legged companion. It's our job to teach them. Just like we teach dogs cues, babies can be taught how to be gentle with animals. We can then ask them to do this any time they are round the dog. Our niece was taught that "Be nice" means that she has to be incredibly gentle to whatever she is touching. Now, we can ask her to be nice to the cat, or even a tall glass of water. Whatever it is, she will treat it gently.
- Dog and Baby Socialization: much like the supervised baby and dog time, we want to make sure this time is positive and a good opportunity to socialize the two to each other. We can give you techniques and ideas for how the two can interact, including games they can play and signals to watch for to end play time.
- Baby Trains Dog: training your dog is a great way to strengthen your relationship with your dog. So why not have your child do it too? Once your child is old enough to follow some very simple instructions, we can come up with training games he or she can play with your dog that will be fun for all. This will teach your dog that they can trust your child, strengthen their relationship, stimulate your dog, and AND keep them both entertained all at the same time!
- Reading Your Dog: kids are smart. They can easily learn the signals your dog is giving off. Not only will this help their understanding of animal behavior in your home and in their friends' homes with animals, but it will keep your child safer around all animals and your dog will feel even more understood and safe in your home.
* Please note: This training plan is not for dogs who have already shown aggressive tendencies towards children or have already bitten people. If you are highly concerned that your dog will not be safe around a baby please reach out to us for additional resources.