Adding a family member is a serious adjustment for everyone involved. Whether a new pet or a new person, everyone must make room for and accept the challenges and changes that come along with the new arrival. One of the biggest transitions a family can have is the addition of a newborn baby. Schedules shift, and sounds, smells and atmospheres change; usually the pets are left baffled and confused about what happened. Instead of letting life just fall into place haphazardly, stay ahead of the curve ball and get everyone and everything in order for the new baby’s move-in day. Here are some helpful tips about preparing your dog for a new baby.

Preparing Your Dog For a Baby

Focus on obedience training. If the pooch is lax on commands, now is the time to tighten up his skill set. When patience is running low, the last thing you will want to handle is an unruly dog. If you don’t have the time, invest in a professional dog trainer to help your dog solidify his obedience training.

Socialize your dog with small children. If you have friends with infants or toddlers, see if you can visit and acquaint your dog with them. This will help give the pup something familiar to reference when he meets your new baby; that way she won’t be completely foreign to him.

Introduce your dog to the baby related objects. Start by introducing your dog to everything the baby will use, like blankets, toys, bottles, diapers, etc. Let the dog come into the baby room and sniff around, getting used to all the furniture and fixtures of this new place. Using the baby wipes, lotions and powers around the dog so he will be familiar with them. Decide if this space will be off-limits to the dog when the baby arrives, and stick to whatever rule you institute so that your pup will not be confused.

Mimic activities with a fake baby. This might sound unorthodox, but even wearing a baby doll in a carrier around the house will help a dog more easily adjust to the presence of an actual baby. Using the baby lotion, rubbing it on the changing table, the baby carrier, and future baby toys so as to familiarize him with the smells of the future newborn. This might sound strange for us, but scent is a dog’s tried-and-true frame of reference, and this will help him register with the child as something homey, and related to his family.

Arrange for a trustworthy dog sitter. Before the big day comes, secure a good dog sitter that your furry pal is comfortable around. Make sure lots of special treats are available while you are away so that the dog will have positives associations instead of negative ones. When in doubt, keep a calming collar handy, in case the separation anxiety is too severe! When you and your baby arrive back home, your dog will be happy to see you and excited to meet the new addition to the family.