Having a new baby to your family means a lot of adjustment. Not just for you but also for your first baby – your dog. They will no longer have your undivided attention. And they’ll have to deal with weird new human baby stuff. Soon enough, he will be craving for the long walks you usually have and wonder why they have become shorter.
So while you’re pregnant, start introducing changes to your dog so he can slowly adjust to the new family arrangement.
As soon as you learn you are pregnant, this is the time to start your dog with new baby training. Check his behavior first. Does he listen to your instructions and obey? He can still go to a disobedient class just to brush up on the basics.
Start walking him alongside other kids with moms in a park for him to slowly observe and notice the sight and sound of small kids.
On the sixth month of pregnancy, start getting your dog baby-ready. Get an infant doll and pretend it’s a baby. Set up the baby furniture and use that doll for him to be familiarized with your actions with a baby, his new “sibling“. Get him acquainted with baby fragrances, the lotions, the powder, the works.
Practice walking your dog with a baby stroller in tow.
On the seventh to the eighth month of pregnancy, you should already have a backup sitter for your dog as you will be gone for a few days during delivery. The sitter must be starting to get familiarized with your dog by this time.
Prepare your dog’s food for seven days just in case you’ll have to leave for delivery anytime soon. Stock-up on goodies and treats for your dog in advance as he may get anxious during your absence.
You have so much going on in the house and your hormones on the week before your delivery date. Your dog knows something is up and he may get restless in your restlessness too. Try to go for a short walk with him if you are up to it. This will be an icebreaker for the two of you and some sort of assurance of your relationship even when the baby arrives.
On delivery day, your partner or a family member will call the sitter to take care of your dog. At the same time, while you are recovering in the hospital, ask your partner to take home baby’s first clothes or blanket for your dog to sniff while you’re not yet home. Once you arrive home with the baby, your dog would have been familiarized with the new family’s scent.
Arriving home should be a well-planned activity too. Let your partner carry your baby as you enter while your dog excitedly welcomes you home. Once he chills down, sit down with the baby and let your dog check him out.
Do not forget that your dog needs exercise during the times when he acts up seeking attention.
In the first few weeks, it will be a big adjustment for everyone. But soon enough, they’ll be officially siblings.