|Up to now we have treated our dog as our child. The change
will be huge for the dog once baby is born. How can I prevent
any unnecessary stress and jealousy on the dog’s part?
It is a hard transition for many dogs, from surrogate child
to ordinary family pet! It may be a good idea to start changing
the way things are done while you are still pregnant, so
that the dog is used to the new situation by the time the
baby arrives, which will alleviate some of the stress. For
example it may be a good idea to move the dog’s bed
to the kitchen or other area away from where the baby will
sleep, well in advance. A nice dog bed and lots of fuss
can ease the change. If you would prefer the dog not to
go into the baby’s room, then block the room off now
so that it soon becomes a normal situation and not another
adjustment. The dog should be kept away from the cot to
prevent the side being accidentally knocked down.
If your dog is boisterous, this would be a good time to
invest in a dog training course. A well disciplined dog
has better self esteem and so is less likely to get out
of hand. You need to get your dog into a condition in which
you trust him. The dog trainer may also be able to give
you helpful tips concerning this transition.
A really helpful idea is to take your dog for a check up
before the baby’s birth. This not only means that
you won’t have to worry about any latent health problems,
the inoculations will be up to date, and any tick and flea
problems can be dealt with now. You won’t be wanting
to worry about these things once the baby is born.
When you get home from hospital, make sure that you greet
the dog straight away and let the dog have a gentle look
at the baby. Then be sure to include the dog in your life,
chat to him as you always have, and take him with when you
take the baby out in the pram. Make it completely clear
from day one that you still value the dog, but that there
are strict rules about behaviour around the baby. Especially
do not tolerate any aggression by the dog towards the baby.
If, in spite of your best efforts in preparing the dog and
making sure the dog is not completely sidelined, the dog
cannot accept its new position in the family, you may have
to consider the drastic step of re-homing him.