Updated: Sep 14, 2020
Do all dogs have to love kids? No
Can you prepare your dog to be tolerant of kids? Yes
Here are our TOP TIPS on getting your dog desensitized to babies and children
When expecting a baby, you typically have a couple of months to prepare your house and the occupants (including your dog) on the new addition.
Think about how your household would change; sights, smells, sounds. Start introducing these new items to your dog.
For example: baby powder, baby sounds (YouTube is a great source), baby objects like strollers & baby carriers.
Practice walking your dog alongside an empty stroller or whilst you have the baby carrier strapped on, just so they can get used to it before the baby arrives.
Once the baby is born, take a cloth that the baby has been sleeping in, bring it home, and allow the dog to sniff the cloth, allowing the dog to get used to the scent of the new family member.
Walk your dog and settle down at parks where there are kids playing. This enables your dog to observe and acclimatize to the energy and surroundings of kids of different ages.
Ensure that there are consistent boundaries for your dog. Before the baby arrives, instill useful lifestyle habits like a strong place command. This is important to ensure that your dog isn’t hovering by the dinner table expecting food from your child (or gets fed anything that may be poisonous for a dog).
Dog toys and baby toys are often interchangeable. A good place command means that your dog would understand to settle on its own spot when your child is playing on the baby mat with their human toys.
Do not hesitate to ask for help.
For any new parent, this can be an overwhelming time. You will be surprised how supportive and helpful your extended family can be during these times. If you are unable to rely on your extended family and friends, find a recommended doula that offers postpartum support. Empowa is an example of such services.
Anticipating that you may get too busy settling into the new routine of the additional human in the house, you need to ensure that your dog gets sufficient mental and physical stimulation. You can always plan ahead for your dog to be put into daycare, join pack walks, or even send your dog for a staycation for a couple of days whilst you settle into your new routine.
Here are our favourite people that we send our own dogs to:
3dogs.sg : Packwalks, daycare, boarding
Waggingpaws : Packwalks
Mibobim : Boarding, house visits
The real success of baby-proofing your dog is preparation and consistency. Even if you are not planning to have a child in the near future, it’s important to desensitize your dog to humans of all ages, shapes, and sizes.
Remember, at the end of the day. Your dog is what it is, a dog. Be safe, be responsible, and never leave your child unattended with any dog, no matter how well trained it may be.