How to Introduce Your Dog to a New Baby

Effective steps to calmly prepare and introduce your precious pooch to your new addition to the family

Your furry members of the family are incredibly connected to your emotions and the changes that take place in your life that have an impact on their lives. During your pregnancy, your dog already knows that something is going on with you and that you are preparing for a change in your household.

Although he might not know exactly what this new change will be, trust us when we say, your dog might already be a little anxious in anticipation of this change. You want to make sure your dog does not feel neglected when your little one arrives, which can prove difficult, especially during the first few months. But something to help with the introduction of this new member of the family is properly introducing your dog in a calm and loving way to your baby.

Here are some tips from Cesar’s Way on how to introduce your dog to a new baby

Before your baby is born

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Make sure your dog knows that you are the pack leader

If your dog sees you as a pushover now, there will be little to no time for discipline when your baby arrives. It might help to get assistance from an animal behaviour expert to help in training your dog and teaching him or her good manners. The last thing you want is for your dog to be an ill-behaved dog bounding around while you are trying to breastfeed and care for your little one.

Pay attention to your emotions and your energy

Your pregnancy is likely to affect the vibe of your entire household. If you are feeling anxious, worried or scared, then Bruno is likely to pick up on your emotions.

Throughout your pregnancy, try to stay as calm and as peaceful as you can. You can do this by practising deep breathing, yoga and meditation.

Make the nursery off-limits to your dog (at first)

This also ties into setting healthy boundaries. You need to condition your dog to know that the nursery is off-limits. When you feel more comfortable, you can allow your dog to come inside and explore the smells of the room, with your permission to do so. Then you can decide when your dog needs to leave.

Repeat this “boundary-setting” activity a couple of times before your baby arrives home.

Discover: Puppy Socialisation: 7 Simple Steps to Doing it the Pawfect Way

After your baby is born

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Before you bring your baby home, you need to claim his or her scent

Now, this might seem a little tricky to do, but you could get your partner to help you out. Basically, before you bring your baby home, you need to bring home an item such as a burp cloth or item of clothing that contains your little one’s scent. This exercise helps you to set clear boundaries with your dog.

Challenge your dog to sniff the item from a distance while you hold it. This helps you to communicate to your dog that the item belongs to you and you are giving your dog permission to sniff it. This will also help start the process of respectful boundaries.

Take control of the introduction

Before the big introduction takes place, take your dog for a long walk to allow him to get rid of some of his energy. Before you come through the front door, make sure Bruno is calm and submissive before you invite him in.

When entering, your dog will know there is a new scent in the home. If you have already introduced him to your baby’s scent, then this smell will be familiar. Whoever is holding the baby needs to be completely calm. Allow your dog to sniff your baby from a respectful distance. During the first introduction, make sure you do not bring the baby too close to your dog. In time, you can allow your dog to get closer.

Teach your little one to respect your dog

Do not allow your child to yank your dog’s tail, pull on his mouth or ears or try to ride him like a horse (if you have a big dog). You need to ensure you supervise all the initial interactions to teach your child about respectful boundaries.

Many parents make the mistake of allowing their kids to interact as they please with their dogs. This leads to your dog getting annoyed and acting out and potentially hurting your child as your dog is trying to teach your child about boundaries himself.

Don’t forget about your dog

This is a big lesson. Do not forget to still give your dog love and attention. Although your routine might have changed a little bit, the most important thing you can do is ensure your dog’s routine stays the same. Daily walks, regular meal times are all ways you can help your dog to feel secure and allow him to embrace and accept the new member of the family.

Get pet insurance

Although it would be wonderful if our fur babies and human babies could get along immediately, the unfortunate reality is that our pets can sometimes act out when we bring a new baby home.

This could lead to unexpected accidents or other issues in your pet that could become problematic if not treated. That’s why it’s a good idea to get pet insurance to make sure your pet is covered in these situations.

Our partner, Oneplan Pet Insurance, is a great option because they offer a range of plans to suit every budget, and they pay you BEFORE you see the vet (you can also keep your favourite vet as they have no networks).

The best part is that you get to spoil your precious pooch with yummy food, fun toys, and a wide variety of other pet care products at up to 25% DISCOUNT* – which makes it so much easier to remind your fur baby that they’re still the apple of your eye!

You can click here to get an obligation-free quote in minutes.


*Discounts tiered & excludes Accident Plan.

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