Introducing Dog to Baby

Preparing Your Dog for the Arrival of a New Baby

| April 8, 2022

Congratulations! You’re about to add a new baby to your family. No doubt this will be a huge transition for everyone in the home—especially if your dog is the only “child” at home. Because your attention will have to be divided, it’s important to prepare your pup so that they’re also ready to welcome the new bundle of joy. 

Beverley McKee, Program Manager of Public Training Services and Support at Toronto Humane Society, joined Hayley Zimak of Growing Up: Baby, a podcast for new moms, to share tips on how you can prepare your pooch for the arrival of their new family member. Here are three tips from the podcast. 

Plan Ahead

While you will be anticipating a lot of change, think about the change in your pet’s routine as well. Will their feeding times change? Will they no longer be allowed on the furniture or in a certain area of the home? Will you be getting a dog walker? Make a list and start to slowly implement changes in their routines at least 3 months before your baby’s arrival.  

Build a History of Reinforcement

While you’re slowly implementing changes in their routine, you’ll also want to train your dog to understand simple cues such as “sit” and “down”. Teaching them a cue for when you pick up the baby, such as going to their mat, and rewarding them with a special treat, will also be helpful once baby is home.  

This history of reinforcement needs to be built ahead of time. If you don’t, and you’re constantly discouraging the dog when the baby is around, the dog is going to associate the baby with getting in trouble.  

Introducing New Sights, Sounds and Smells

There will be a lot of new sights, sounds, and smells once the baby is home. You can prepare your dog ahead of time to get used to these too. 

You can introduce smells such as baby lotion, baby powder, etc. with special treats so that when your pet smells it, they pair it with something positive.  

You can find baby sounds, such as crying, laughing, and gurgling, on YouTube. Introduce these sounds with special treats to create a positive association as well. 

Need More Advice?

Preparation is key when bringing your new baby home.  Enlist help from Toronto Humane Society’s trainers. We are passionate about advocating for, and educating pet owners about humane, compassionate, and trust building training practices. We pledge our commitment to providing you and your best friend with a constructive, supportive, and inspiring environment for strengthening the human-animal bond! Book a class today.