Oh, Baby!

Help your dog adjust to a new family member.

By | Posted: Tue Mar 29 00:00:00 PST 2005

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3. Shryock advocates providing your dog with a safe and quiet place, such as a crate, that she can adjourn to when the household hubbub gets too intense. Establish this place as a positive one before the baby arrives, and never use it for punishment.

4. Carry a blanket-wrapped doll around the house. It allows the dog to see you do something you don't normally do, Shain says. Also, take the doll with you in a stroller on walks to help your dog get used to the equipment.

5. Use baby lotions and soaps to perfume the air with new scents.

6. Turn on the infant swing, wind up music boxes, play CDs resonating with the cries of newborns, and set up the crib. All help desensitize your dog to new sights and sounds.

7. Don't go overboard and spend every moment with your dog before the baby is born, thinking it will tide her over. All it will do is confuse her, possibly making her associate the sudden lack of attention with the infant, Shain says.

8. Arrange for safe, comfortable care for your dog during your hospital stay.

9. The most important thing you can do? Praise extensively, every time your dog behaves properly around babies and their stuff. When she gently sniffs your friend's newborn, pull out a high-value treat or favorite toy. Show her in words and actions that you approve of her behavior, even if she's just lying quietly by your feet as you fold laundry. You want to let them know they're doing the right thing, Shain says.

10. Let your dog sniff your belly, and talk to her about the baby.

11. Don't forget to visit your veterinarian before the baby arrives, making sure your dog is in tip-top shape and current on all vaccinations. Throw in a trip to the groomer for a haircut and nail trim.

12. Before you come home, have someone bring your dog an article of clothing that smells like the hospital and praise and reward her as she sniffs it.

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