Preparing your dog for a baby In the excitement of planning for your new baby don't forget to get your dog ready as well. There is no doubt that not only are your lives going to change dramatically with the new arrival but so will your dogs so start planning early.
Your dogs routine will change, they will have to accept that their walks might not be on time, their feeding might be a little off the mark and that your attention will be elsewhere a lot more.
There are several things that you can do to help your dog get ready:-
Start to change their routine early, I know as many people work this might be difficult but vary the length of their walks and the destination.
Start cutting down on attention to your dog, that doesn't mean ignore them for hours on end but get them used to a little more 'alone time'. So much of your energy has been poured into dog walking and keeping them happy, they need to get used to this changing.
Ensure that your dogs basic obedience skills such as sit and lie down, stay and come are all in place and reliable. If not then get them into an obedience class as soon as possible to polish their skills.
Make sure they have a good routine with visitors as when the baby arrives you will have more than usual.
Expose your dog to baby noises. Many dogs will find the crying of a new born baby distressing so download the noises off the internet or record friends children and play it to the dog.
If you have friends with babies, invite them over and teach the dog to go to a specified area and lay quietly. This doesn't need to be too far away and nor should it be used as a punishment. Reward the dog for going there and build up the time they are happy to stay there.
If your dog is really high energy and too keen to be involved you might want to consider crate training.
Get your dog used to you carrying a baby. A quick visit to a charity shop and the purchase of a doll will help. You can carry the doll around, lay it on the sofa, etc and start teaching your dog the rules about behaving around a baby.
Deal with any behavioural issues as soon as possible, be it barking or aggression to other dogs you will notice this so much more when the baby arrives. If in any doubt seek professional help. We are always happy to answer and questions.