Congratulations! What adventure you are in for. Your life is about to change (and for the better). Here are some ways to help your fur baby get used to the idea of your human baby.
My dog, Bailey, and I took some obedience training classes while I was pregnant. I will tell you I think I learned that I was misbehaving much more than Bailey was. I was not communicating clearly with my dog and was confusing him with mixed signals. For example, I expected him not to jump on visitors, but when I came home I wanted an exciting greeting filled with dog kisses and a wagging tail. I cannot emphasize enough how helpful it was for us to get in sync with new training techniques and words, but it also gave us some one on one time to make him feel special (which will be VERY important for your pet once your baby comes).
As baby items started to trickle in, I would let Bailey smell the items and I would emphasize that these “toys” were not his. The trainer also advised me to hold a doll and practice commands like gentle and easy. This step made me feel pretty silly, but I was glad my dog recognized the commands once we brought our little girl home. I also recommend training your dog to leave something alone. This is helpful when they are getting a little too friendly with your baby or if you drop chocolate on the ground. If you want your pet to stay out of the nursery start this training as early as possible. It will be VERY difficult for you to train your pet and juggle a newborn at the same time.
Get your pets used to the sounds of a baby. There are plenty of YouTube videos of babies crying (kind of strange I know), but I played the noise frequently to prepare Bailey for nights filled with this very sound. He still is not used to it. When my daughter cries in the night, he gets out of his bed in our room, looks at me and walks out. Heaven forbid his puppy beauty sleep is interrupted.
Invite a (patient) friend over who has small children, and who does not mind you “practicing” with your pet. I was lucky to have very easygoing friends (who also had pets, so understood) who would come over and I could practice introducing Bailey too and teaching him to be gentle and calm.
Have a loved one or family member bring home a blanket or onesie that your new baby has worn so that they can get used to the baby’s smell before they come home. We had a baby blanket in my dog’s bed during my pregnancy and then washed it and brought it to the hospital for the baby to come home in. We introduced the baby and Bailey in the driveway, with her wrapped up in the blanket that also had his smell on it.
How did your pet react to your pregnancy and new baby? I cannot wait to see the relationship between my baby and Bailey to grow, I know they will be future best friends!
Additional information on introducing your pets to a new baby:
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