Are you ready to prepare your pooch for a new baby? Make sure you know the myths from the facts when it comes to dogs and babies. 

Dog and Baby Myth #1: Bring a blanket home for Fido to sniff.

Many experts advise letting your dog smell a blanket that your baby has been wrapped in at the hospital before he comes home. Chances are you don’t let your dog sniff the belongings of other house guests before they come over for the first time, so why would you do this with your new baby? It’s not the smell of the baby that will upset or intrigue your dog, it’s all the other things that go along with it. A better option is to introduce your dog to the sights, sounds and smells of baby’s stuff, like the vibrating bouncy seat, the moving swing with lights, jingling plush toys and scented baby lotions. This way your pet can get acquainted with these objects before the newborn’s arrival.

Dog and Baby Myth #2: The training begins when Baby comes home.

Ideally, you should start prepping your dog for baby when you find out you are pregnant. Even the most obedient dogs could use a brush up on behavior to ensure they respond well to basic commands like, “Sit”, “Down”, “Leave It,” and “To Your Place.” You should also try mixing up your pet’s routine, as it will likely be a challenge to follow Fido’s regular schedule once the baby comes! And, while it may be harder for you than your dog, giving your pooch less attention in the months leading up to your new addition’s arrival can help prepare him for the inevitable drop in attention later. 

Dog and Baby Myth #3: You shouldn’t let your dog get close to your baby.

People often think animals and babies shouldn’t be close to one another and in turn, will have a tendency to push the dog away, but you should never shoo pets away. Pushing pets away can make them feel unwanted around the baby and this can create other behavior problems. It’s better to let pets safely be involved with you and the baby. Doing fun activities with your dog in the presence of baby and encouraging positive interactions will help to foster a healthy relationship.

Dog and Baby Myth #4: The hardest part is when Baby first arrives.

A lot of people spend time focusing on baby’s arrival, but it’s important to develop a healthy relationship later too. The most strained time for families is typically during the toddler phase, when your baby turns 6 months old, he’ll set his eyes on the dog and many moms take the opportunity to encourage him to explore the pet. Dogs and babies should simply coexist and focus on parallel play rather than touching. You can’t expect that your baby will always be gentle with the dog, and you can’t expect your dog to handle having his ears and tail tugged.

Dog and Baby Myth #5: If your dog seems comfortable with your baby, it’s safe to leave them alone.

No matter how much you love and trust your pet, you must remember that dogs are animals and you can’t always predict their behavior. Pets and babies should never be alone in the same room unsupervised. If you have to leave the room, even just to go to the bathroom, separate dog and baby with a physical barrier. You should also be sure to stress to babysitters and other caregivers that they must have the same diligence about not leaving baby and dog alone together.

If you or someone you know is expecting a baby. Manners for Mutts can help ease the transition from pet parent to baby parent with a pet. We are Licensed Family Paws Parent Educators.