It is fairly common, that couples will start their family off with a furry little addition…..before making the big leap into parenthood! Your four-legged friend is the first baby of the household! So it is important to prepare him for bringing home your new bundle of joy, and smooth the way for change!
Life before baby….
You’re dog is used to being the centre of attention, the baby of the house. His life is about to change dramatically, and you need to prepare for this, for the benefit of the entire family! A newborn baby changes your life dramatically….and your dog’s also. The daily routine of beach walks or couch cuddles, is all about to change. But don’t wait until baby arrives home to start making changes. Here we have a great countdown calendar for prepping your pampered pooch for the arrival of your new baby!
9 Months to due date…..
When all the excitement has settled down of that positive pregnancy test…it’s time to start planning!! If your dog has any disobedient traits, now is the time to knock them on the head. You may even consider an obedience class. You need to consider factors such as jumping up on you…this may be fine now, but what about in 7 or 8 months time when you are heavily pregnant and could easily be knocked over. Or after you have baby, and could lose your balance while holding baby??
Your furry little companion will also need to get exposure to babies and all that comes with them, particularly the noise!! A babies cries can be sudden, loud and lengthy…..dog needs to have some experience of this first hand before the real deal arrives. Try organise a park walk or house visit with a friend who has a baby. Any exposure to the sights and sounds of babies will be hugely beneficial!
Just 3 months to go….
All the prep work you do now….will pay off dividends later!! At this stage, you should try and introduce your dog to any of the new furniture and accessories that will come with baby. Set up the buggy, the crib, the bassinet, the baby bouncer etc. If you set them up now, and let dog investigate them, they won’t be as big a deal when baby is in them.
Smell is a huge part of how dogs learn about their world. So adding some of those new born baby scents such us baby powder, to the buggy or baby seat, will get dog used to the new baby smell early. Another good idea is to get out and about with that new buggy!! Yes, i know baby hasn’t arrived yet, but giving dog practice walking alongside it, will be of great benefit to him and you!!
Just 1 month before your due date…
While you might have your partner, friend or family member on stand by for you to get to the hospital…..who is on standby for your dog?? You should organise someone who is reliable, responsible and familiar with your dog to come and look after him. Remember that you could be in hospital anywhere from a day to a week, depending on how everything goes!! The other alternative is to have doggy day care or kennels organised. But ensure this is somewhere that your precious pooch is comfortable with! He needs to be happy when Mum and baby arrive home.
2 weeks and counting…..
This is when it all starts to get real! Baby could arrive at any moment now, so all those last minute checks and all organisation should be in set in stone. Your dog minder or kennels are organised, you should also have all contact numbers available and ready to hand over. Food should be organised also…..you don’t want to have to make any unexpected shop visits at this stage of pregnancy!! Make sure if you have a minder coming into the house, that they are familiar with where all of dogs accessories are….dog bowls, treats, food, lead etc.
At this stage of pregnancy, your emotions can be fairly heightened, and your dog will very easily pick up on this! To calm both of your nerves, gentle strolls. extra cuddles and TLC is as good for you as it is for your pooch!!
THE BIG DAY AT LAST……
So…..baby has finally made an appearance!! And all your prep work is going to pay off handsomely, but there are still some things you need to do!! Before coming home, you should send your partner, friend or family member home with one of your new arrivals WORN baby grows. This will give dog a chance to become used to baby’s new scent that will soon be arriving in the house, and baby’s home coming won’t be as much of a shock.
Day 1 at home…..
While you may be feeling sensitive after the whole birthing experience, dog will not be aware of that…..so get ready for a fiercely loving welcome home, he will have missed you! Extra licks and kisses are coming your way!! Let your dog settle, its an exciting time, but he will calm himself. Once he has calmed, this is the time to introduce baby. Let him gently sniff to get introduced to your new little bundle. Make sure you have an extra pair of hands with you initially, just to be on the safe side in case dog gets a bit too excited.
You should also feed baby in front of dog as soon as you can. He should be exposed to this and a little treat will help to associate this a positive time, but only when he is calm. Feeding time should be a relaxing time for Mum, baby and dog!!
Also, even though you are home now, you simply may not be ready to get out for walks yet! Recovery can take time. Make sure you have your partner, friend, dog walker or sitter organised to take dog for his daily stroll, until you are ready to take over the lead again!!
Over the next few weeks….
Don’t forget, that while you are adjusting to new family life, so is your dog! And just like a child would do, he may act out!! Do your best to be patient and understanding. If dog is constantly getting into trouble, the whole experience can be very negative. Try and turn any misbehaviour into a positive. If dog is being a bit overly demanding….a new chew toy (particularly treat dispensing toys, that can entertain dog for longer!), can be a great help! He may just need the reminder of the positive….
It is also important to include dog with your babies activities….after all, they are going to be the very best of buddies (eventually!!). While talking to your baby, include dog in the conversation, he is part of the family too. And hopefully, with all that prep work….baby and pooch will “live happily ever after” as firm friends for life.