Dogs and children usually go well with each other. Pet dogs are mostly gentle and vaccinated and so the chances of causing harm to children are minimal. Moreover, under adult supervision dogs tend to exhibit a more restrained behavior, than otherwise.
Still, if you are expecting a baby in your home, then it is a best practice to follow a few guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone involved.
Introducing your dog to new things in the house
If your first child is on the way, then you might be bringing new things to your home, such as a crib, a rocking chair, a baby stroller etc. Let your dog acquaint itself to these new things by sniffing them. He will be curious to check them out and the best way is to let your dog do this at it’s own pace.
Introducing your dog to new sounds in the house
Since all infants cry and make other sounds, it is a good idea to familiarize your dog to such sounds, so that it does not feel terrified, or exhibit traits of uneasiness.
Using videos and soundtracks is a nice way to desensitize your dog to the sounds of a baby. YouTube has a huge inventory of such videos. The little squeaks, gurgles and cries of babies will probably all be new to your dog. Playing these sounds for a few minutes every day will be sufficient for it. Always remember to reward your dog afterwards for calm behavior.
Train your dog to learn new things
Train your dog to learn new habits so that it behaves appropriately when your baby arrives. For example, it should not jump at you to greet you as you might be holding your baby in your arms. Secondly, train your dog to stay away from the nursery and be in its own bed or crate. Doing this training in advance will prove beneficial to you when your baby has arrived.
Never force your dog to interact with children:
Don’t bring your children or dogs close to each other in a forced manner. Dogs take time to adjust to new people and follow first their scent, then their sounds and lastly their sight. When your dog is tired, it is best left alone.
Don’t forget to groom your dog, or take it out for a walk
Never forget to take your dog out for a walk. If you are busy with your baby, then you can leave your dog at a Doggie Day Care near me for a few days. They will groom your dog properly and take it out for walks. Your dog will be given exercises and meals regularly and will not feel lonely.
Buy your dog only through a reputed breeder, or through references.
A knowledgeable dog breeder will be able to guide you through to the best dog breed and one that is likely to get along best with kids. Puppies get along very well as they are young. In case you are buying a grown-up dog then the breeder would be able to help you select the most appropriate dog. A Doggie Day Care near me can also provide you reference able contacts from where you can buy dogs.
Don’t handle your dog roughly
Whether you or your kids are playing with a puppy or a dog, make it a point never to sit on your dog, catch its tail, or otherwise disturb it while it is eating or sleeping. Dogs tend to be reactive and such situations are best avoided. Demonstrate safe play for the children and the dog. Let them contribute by helping them with simple tasks such as filling the food plate or cleaning up toys.
Teach your children how to greet a strange dog
All dogs are not the same. While some may exhibit aggressive behavior, others might appear calm and friendly. In all such cases, if a dog approaches you or your children, it is a best practice to stay calm and keep your arms by your side.
A little training will go a long way in creating a lasting bond between your dog and your children.