Why Does Your Dog Go Crazy Around Babies?

Most expectant parents have a lot of time to adjust to the thought of having a new baby, but how do we help our dogs prepare? Humans have months to get ready emotionally and practically to all the impending changes, but often don’t realise it’s a big adjustment for the dog as well.

The best way to help a dog adjust to having a new baby in the house is to gradually get them used to the new sights, sounds and smells they’ll be encountering. Setting up equipment and letting your dog explore, playing sounds associated with babies, and even using a bit of your baby’s lotions and powders can make all the difference.

Why Your Dog Goes Crazy Around Babies

Some dogs are good natured, been trained and socialized well and can handle new people and new situations with relative ease. Others who may not have had such a good start are often anxious, and that can manifest as aggression. A small unfamiliar creature that’s crying, smells different and crawls around can be frightening. Add to that the possibility of resource guarding, meaning guarding resources they consider valuable, and you have your hands full and a load of potential trouble.

Don’t worry because there is good news! Keep reading for lots of helpful tips on getting your dog to relax around your baby.

Signs Your Dog is Anxious Around Babies

Growling, snarling, snapping and barking are all signs your dog is uncomfortable. Don’t “force” your dog to stay, thinking it’s the way to get him used to the baby, it will only lead to a higher level of anxiety and a possible incident. Also, please never leave your dog and baby together unattended.

Never Punish a Dog Afraid of a Baby

It is not your dog’s fault, so never punish him for being fearful or anxious around a baby. As you’ve just read above, your dog will show you he’s uncomfortable, so it’s important to listen.

Why does your dog go crazy around babies

How to Prepare Your Dog for a New Baby

• If you haven’t already, teach your dog basic obedience such as sit/stay/come/leave it/drop it and walking nicely on a leash. It’s always important to have a well-behaved dog, but with kids in the house it’s all the more critical.

• As you set up things like a baby gym, high chair, play pen or stroller, let your dog investigate each item at his own pace. Build positive associations by giving him favorite treats as he calmly sniffs.

• Add baby gates to restrict access to certain areas, and teach him it’s okay to be on the other side of that gate. Treating him to a stuffed Kong or delicious chew will help.

• Find sounds typically associated with babies, like crying for example, and start playing them for your dog. Start off at a very low volume, gradually increasing it over the course of weeks or months. Playing them when your dog is doing something he enjoys or getting treats, will create positive associations. If at any point your dog looks up at the source of the sounds, it means you’ve probably increased the volume too quickly. Turn it back down to the point where your dog ignored it and go slower.

• Help your dog get comfortable with the new smells that will soon be in the air, by using a bit of your baby’s lotions and powders on yourself.

• Think about how your dog’s routine may change, and gradually make those changes as much in advance as you can.

• When you’re unable to pay attention to your dog, make sure you give him something to do (Kong, puzzle toy…).

• A dog that has little or no physical exercise or outlet for pent up energy, will develop behavior problems. Ask family, friends or neighbors for help walking the dog, hire a dog walker or put him in doggie daycare…at least for the first few weeks until you settle into your own new routine with the baby.

• Carry and interact with a life like baby doll so your dog can see you holding and talking to a “baby.” If he jumps up on you, use this as a training opportunity to teach him it’s not acceptable. There are a few ways to deal with this.

One – ask him to sit, because if he’s sitting, he can’t jump.

Two – don’t pay him attention when he’s jumping, but do reward him when all four paws are on the ground.

Three – drop treats on the floor whenever you pick up the doll. Do this enough times, and your dog will immediately sniff the ground for treats every time you pick up the doll.

• Before the baby arrives, practice walking your dog while pushing a stroller. He may be apprehensive at first so start slowly, perhaps just walking around your living room or down the hallway. When he’s doing well move to the backyard and finally onto the sidewalks. Have treats handy to help make the experience positive.

• Create a safe space for your dog to get away to. It could be a comfy bed in the corner, or a crate with the door open. Covering the crate partially (if it’s not hot in the room) can create more of a den like feel.

• Your dog can’t be expected to tell the difference between his toys and the baby’s toys so no getting angry!! You may want to put your dog’s toys away after playing, so he’ll learn play only happens when you take them out. It will also stop your baby from picking them up.

• Bring your dog with you on walks once the baby has arrived. It will get him used to being a part of the baby’s life, and will ensure he gets the exercise he needs.

Are you expecting a baby? What have you been doing to prepare your dog? Sharing helps others, so leave your helpful tips below.

Need help putting together a plan to prepare your dog? Do you already have a baby and having trouble with your dog adapting? Get in touch now to book your FREE, 15 minute no obligation session. It will give you the chance to let me know what’s going on, and I can explain how I’ll help.

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