secure in the ‘safe’ area. Dogs are naturally denning animals, so they like small spaces such as crates to retreat to when they are scared or stressed. Make sure the dog’s routine is kept as normal as possible, both when you are in the hospital and when you return home with the new baby. This routine should consist of a feeding schedule (never feed the dog around the baby), a walking schedule, and brief play times without the new baby. Prior to bringing the baby home, have someone bring home something that has the baby’s smell on it, like a blanket or clothing, so the dog can become familiar with the baby’s odor. Be sure to devote the same amount of attention to the dog as before. If you go for a walk with the baby, take the dog. Acclimate your dog to the baby stroller before walking your dog next to it with the baby in it. If you can’t handle the dog and the stroller together, have someone go with you to walk the dog. The dog can be allowed the same household freedom as before, with the exception of the baby’s room, as long as it doesn’t cause any unwanted behavior. Use a gate to prevent the dog from entering the baby’s room without you. There are no set guidelines as to when a dog will get used to a baby. It could take a few days or a few weeks. It
should take less time with proper preparation and good management. If, after several weeks, there has been no sign of unwanted behavior, it unlikely that anything serious will happen. It is good to remember that dogs are still animals so their behavior can never be fully guaranteed. All experts agree that you should never leave a dog unattended with a baby under any circumstances. The sudden movement of a baby could startle the dog and cause unwanted behavior such as biting. Most dogs will adjust to a new baby without incident. Observe the dog’s behavior for any signs of unwanted behavior or aggression. That way, you can avoid problems and accidents. If you do observe any behavior that is concerning, call a trainer so the problem can be remedied. When introduced properly, with proper preparation, you can have a smooth introduction of your new baby to your old ‘baby’.
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