Today’s topic has actually come requested from a few clients.
Before I start I would like to point out that there is no one approach and what I have written is purely from my own experience.
For a lot of people they will have a dog before they get their first child.
The dog is, of course, their first baby and will have been treated as such. Lavished with attention and praise there is always potential for a reaction from the dog when your baby arrives.
In most cases your dog has become used to undivided attention and play. And whilst we all do our best to ensure that our pups are still well looked after, we can of course not give them as much attention as previously.
This can lead to jealousy and on occasion regression of things such as toilet habits and destructive chewing. In more extreme cases it can lead to jealousy and aggressive behavior if not dealt with.
Before introducing your new baby to your dog it is a good idea for one of the owners to arrive with a cloth or item of baby clothing which smells of the newborn.
A dog’s sense of smell is between 30,000 and 100,000 times better than the average human, therefore they will pick up the smell of both parents even from the newborn.
Over the first few months depending on the energy levels and reactions of your dog it is a good idea to encourage them to keep whatever distance they feel comfortable with the new baby.
Both with newborns and any small children (family, friends or strangers in the street) NEVER hold a dog in place and encourage small children to pat or touch it.
There is absolutely no need to put the dog in this situation and test it in what might be a stressful situation.
If your dog is excited around the baby or small child then sit on the floor between the dog and the child so that there is no possibility of claws inflicting injuries.
Ensure that your dog has some safe spaces where it can retreat to, where your baby or children are simply not allowed to disturb it. Two very important areas where your dog should not be disturbed are its bed and where it eats and drinks.
We have for example enforced a two metre exclusion zone around Minttu’s food and water area and her bed at home. If my children enter this area and are not listening, I simply scoop them up and remind them that it is Minttu’s space.
There is a school of thought which argues that your dog should tolerate your children going up to its food bowl whilst it is eating. I absolutely do not agree with this. Do not unnecessarily test your dog. The ramifications of it failing a test can be life-changing, regardless of how kind and patient they may seem.
Dog body language is extremely complex and a wagging tail is not always the sign of a happy dog.
Do not leave your baby and dog unattended together in the same room on the floor. This becomes even more important when your baby can crawl.
In summary I would state that every dog is unique and you will need to adapt your approach as both dog and child develop their bond. Give your dog the time and space it needs, whilst reassuring it and ensuring that it is getting enough physical and mental stimuli.
I am more than happy to share more of my own experiences. If anyone has any questions, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Doggies: Banipal, Punky, Tesla and Poopy
Doggies: Sara and Ilex
Doggies: Zappa, Lucille, Fant, Wilma and Arya
Doggies: Ronja, Kvikk, Vali and Ferd
Doggies: Twist, Hedda, Pippi and Sunny
Doggies: Nansen, Smula, Haraka, Lucy and Lottie
Doggies: Mari, Nola, Tex, Bella and Lykke
Have a lovely evening with your doggies and we are back again in the morning for more dogwalking in Oslo nature.
Christina, Karianne, Linn, Veronica, Alex and Matt