It’s simple things that can make a huge difference! Here are a few things I tried and a few things I wish I had done differently!
1. If you have to get rid of some stuff of your dogs, do it well before the baby gets there. You don’t want them to associate the baby with losing their stuff/space. We had to get rid of a queen guest bed that our dog Nala had dubbed “her bed” to make room for the nursery. We got rid of it months before baby was due so she never associated it with the baby taking over her spot.
2. Work on any behavior issues early on (like jumping up, licking, nipping, barking nonstop) If you haven’t taken a basic obedience class, now is the time! Work on commands like sit, stay, and back. Your pup will have to learn to be careful around the baby and give them space.
3. Start turning on toys and let your dog become familiar with the noises and new stuff in the house. Push the stroller around the house. Our dog was very skittish around the bigger baby gear. A skittish, timid dog is unpredictable. That’s the last thing you want. Prepare them.
4. Practice pushing your stroller with your dog. Our dog always runs into our daughter’s stroller and has multiple times almost tipped it over chasing a squirrel. Looking back, I wish I had practiced with her before having a precious little one in the stroller.
5. Have someone your dog is familiar with watch them when you are in the hospital. You don’t want them to be freaking out right before you bring home your baby.
6. Have one of your family members or friends bring home something that smells like your baby to get them used to the smell. It will help them recognize the smell and accept your new bundle of joy!
7. Have dad bring the baby in while you make sure to give your pup lots of loving when you get home. My dog was very worried about me when I came home. She must have sensed what I had gone through! (Crazy how smart dogs are) After petting her, she seemed much better and calmed down after her excited greeting. She missed us
8. In the beginning, offer your dog treats when you nurse, bottle feed or change diapers. It’s all about positive reinforcement!