Building the Bond Between Your Baby & Your Pet

Building a bond between your baby and your pet is one of the most important things you can do when bringing home your baby. Making sure your baby and your pet are both safe and cared for is everyone’s goal, and with a bit of planning and preparation, you can help ensure a smooth transition for everyone in the household.

Create Routines

If you are a dog owner, you know that dogs are creatures of habit and thrive off of routines. They learn when you feed them, when you take them outside to potty or play, and become comfortable with the schedules. Establishing a routine gives your dog structure and confidence, leading to a happier and healthier dog overall.

With a new baby, there will be a lot of lifestyle changes that will likely upset your fur baby’s routine. Introducing something new into your dog’s daily life is usually best done gradually so they can adjust and learn what is expected of them. Instead of changing your dog’s routine instantly when the baby comes, try gradually changing routines a few months beforehand, switching up the routine to what you think will work better for you and your baby. Maybe you will want to change their feeding time to later in the day or walks to a different day of the week. If you make these changes before the baby comes, then it won’t be something you have to work on while also learning how to handle life with a newborn.

Establish Boundaries

Work on establishing boundaries with your dog in places you don’t want them to be. This could be a new place like the nursery or one where they might have been allowed before like the couch. Establishing boundaries takes time and patience, so it is best done before the baby arrives. It may be beneficial to teach your dog first that the nursery is entirely off-limits and then gradually teach them to enter with your permission and supervision and leave when you tell them. This will teach your dog that you are the leader of that room and that this space is something they need to respect.

Prepare for Baby’s Touch

Babies, as we are sure you can imagine, will not know the proper way to touch and interact with your dog. For this reason, it is always a good idea to help your dog prepare for a baby’s touch. Certain ways to do this are to practice certain poking and pushing movements on your dog and teaching them that good things happen from those touches. Try poking your dog in different areas and giving them a treat afterward. Other touches and movements that are good to practice are putting your head on them and crawling around them. As your baby grows, don’t forget to teach them how to be gentle and kind with your pet as well so that you can ensure happiness and safety for both of them!

Work on Your Energy

Dogs mirror the energy that you put off. When you are stressed, they feel stressed. When you are worried, they pick up on that and act upon it in a similar fashion. If you haven’t already mastered this, practice recognizing your energy around your dogs and noting how they behave. If you can learn to stay calm and be a stable leader for your dog, they will feel calm and comfortable with you and the new people in your life.

For more information on building the bond between your baby and your pet check out this article from American Kennel Club. If this isn’t your first time bringing a baby home to a pet, what is something you did that was extremely helpful in building that special bond?