The Embark family just got bigger!
We’re delighted to announce that our amazing founders have just welcomed a new member to the team.
The wonderful news got us thinking about what a life-changing event a new baby is for dogs as well as for new parents. Going from being the center of mom and dad’s world to having to share the love with a tiny human is bound to have a big impact on your pup and can cause him to feel jealous and left out. Sadly, this may lead to some nasty behavior that could put your baby’s safety at risk. The good news is this doesn’t have to be the case.
If you’re expecting and wondering how you can help your human and canine dependents become BFFs, taking the following actions will make the transition to life with a new pack member as smooth possible.
Before the new arrival
- Brush up on obedience
When you’ve got your hands full with your new bundle of joy, the last thing you want is to be dealing with a naughty pup. Before the baby comes, spend some time training your dog and making sure that he responds properly to all the basic commands such as “sit”, “stay”, “come” and especially “no”. Future, sleep-deprived you will be thankful that you did.
- Establish a new routine
A new baby means waving bye-bye to your old routine, and this is bound to affect your pup. Constant attention and early morning walks are unlikely to be possible when you’re grappling with constant feeds and nappy changes. To stop your pooch from associating any disruptions to his routine with the baby, try giving him the amount of attention you think you will be able to devote to him when the baby comes in the months leading up to the birth. Get him used to going for walkies at a time that you think may be more convenient and make sure he is happy being left alone for short periods of time. If you think it may be necessary for your dog to be kept in a crate or behind a baby gate at times, you should also practice this with him, encouraging him with treats and helping to understand that he hasn’t done anything wrong. This will make for less of an upheaval when the baby arrives.
- Introduce him to new objects
They may be small, but babies come with a serious amount of stuff. It’s a good idea to help your pup to familiarize himself with the new additions to your home. Practice walking alongside the pram and do some training to teach him that the new toys aren’t his to play with. This may require some good distraction tactics.
- Establish boundaries
Once the baby arrives, some areas of your home may become off limits to four-legged inhabitants. Start teaching your pup where he can and can’t go well in advance of the baby’s arrival to avoid any upsets.
- Check in with the vet
Stop your dog from bringing and nasties into your home by making sure his vaccinations and worming and flea treatments are up to date.
When the baby comes
- Nail the all-important first meeting
We’re sure that this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but it’s important to handle the first meeting with care. Mum and dad can make sure it goes smoothly by:
- Introducing their pup to the baby’s scent before the two meet
- Making sure he has been out for some exercise before you come home to keep him calm
- Each greeting the dog separately and settling him down before bringing the baby into the room
- Putting their dog on a leash for the initial meetings
- Asking their pup to approach the baby calmly and rewarding him for the correct behavior
- Being patient and calm, even if he gets it wrong
- Keep your dog busy
There will undoubtedly be times when your pup is craving attention that you just can’t give. This is where a strategically deployed treat comes in handy. A peanut butter filled kong is guaranteed to keep him amused when you have your hands full.
- Never leave dog and baby unattended
Even if they seem to be getting along swimmingly it’s extremely important that your pup and baby are always supervised when together. Always keep an eye on your dog’s body language when he is around your baby and separate them immediately if you notice any signs of aggression.
- Give your pup attention when the baby is awake
Baby’s naptime may seem like the perfect opportunity to lavish some affection on your pooch, but this may lead to problems down the line. Paying him as much attention as you can while the baby is awake will help him to feel more positive towards the new family member and less likely to associate his new sibling with being ignored.
- Teach your baby to play nice
Just as you taught your pooch to behave around the baby, you’ll need to show your baby how to interact with your dog as he or she becomes more mobile. Having its tail pulled or being ridden like a pony may provoke even the most docile dog so the sooner you teach your baby the art of a good belly rub the better.
A tiny two-legged addition to the household will take some getting used to for your pup but with a bit of guidance and a lot of patience we’re sure that he and his new pack mate will enjoy many happy adventures together.