Here’s a question from our Ask a Dog Trainer section.
“We are about to have our first baby. Our dog gets so much attention from us right now. What would you recommend doing now or later to help our dog adapt to our baby?”
- Read “Introducing Your Pet and New Baby” by the Humane Society.
- “Two of the most helpful tips I give clients who are welcoming a new baby is: get good solid training for your dog so he knows what you expect of him in all situations and try and set up your home in advance. Put the swing in the living room and turn it on. Set up the changing table. Teach your dog to stay out of the nursery (if that’s your wish) BEFORE the baby comes. Dogs get stressed out when everything changes all at once. For more read the full article at http://superpawsk9.com/imported-20110119201141/” (Dr. Mary Travers-Smith, Superpaws Dog Training, email@example.com, www.superpawsk9.com, 212-781-7197)
- “Train your dog to be able to be separate from you when you ask. Practice “in-home” separations, where you ask him to go to his bed; leave him with a “long reward” like a bully stick while you relax in the other room, take a shower, cook, etc. After the baby arrives it is just as important as ever to continue giving your dog at least three long walks a day, and daily offleash social play at the dog park. Exercise, socialization, and daily obedience work…and your dog should love contributing to your family unit.” (Anthony Newman, Calm Energy Dog Training, www.calmenergydogtraining.com, www.calmenergy.blogspot.com, (646) 942-1979)
- “I would begin adjusting your schedule before the baby comes. If your dog is getting constant attention now it will be a big shock when the baby comes. Start by ignoring your dog for 15 minutes 2x/day. Then ignore your dog for 30 minutes 2x/day. I would also recommend purchasing your stroller ahead of time and teaching your dog to walk calmly on a loose leash next to the stroller. The last thing I would do is find baby sound effects on youtube and play them during your dogs mealtimes.” (Lauren Wojcik – owner/trainer, Laurens Leash, www.laurensleash.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 917-261-1128)
- “make attention active; dog is asked to ‘do’ something to earn attention, toys and food” (Elisabeth Weiss, DogRelations, http://www.dogrelationsnyc.com)
- “Are there incidents that can be attributed to having a baby after owning your puppy or dog? Yes, there is, however, Dedicated Dog Training believes this gets too much attention. Again, this is our opinion. You should definitely attempt to spend as much time as you can with your dog; the ideal thing would be for you to spend the same amount of time with your dog as you did prior to the baby.” (James Colella Dedicated Dog Training (888) 370-7477 www.DedicatedDogTraining.com)
(NOTE: We do not endorse any particular trainer or their training ideas – this is here to give you perspectives from different trainers for training issues. Please do your research before hiring a trainer and avoid any that use methods that seem abusive. Here are some additional resources to read on why and how to train: ASPCA Guide to Training, APDT How to Select a Trainer, LiveScience on Training)Ask a Trainer: New baby and a dog,