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Dog and baby, in harmony

You’re having a baby! - Part 2

animals, culture,

Wednesday 13 July 2016, 01:58PM

Dog and baby, in harmony

by Russell Distance Russell

In our previous article (you can read it here) we looked at some of the things we need to consider before the newborn arrives. When baby finally arrives home our primary instinct is to forget everything else and focus on them. It is really important not to forget about your dog, or to act differently with them. Maintain your status quo, continue with your normal feeding and walking routines and incorporate them into your new ones.

By being involved with you and the newbie you’re preventing a build up of any frustration or anxiety in your dog. Your dog will no doubt be curious of the new sounds and smells associated with your baby, but will not understand how delicate he or she is.
Obviously, you will want to supervise all interactions between baby and dog. Your dog might be awesome with them, but that doesn’t mean he won’t snap if awoken suddenly by a baby yanking on his whiskers.

Having your dog under some level of obedience control will clearly help, but you can also look to other management techniques such as baby gates or using a crate (for your dog, or the baby!).
The humane treatment of all animals is an important lesson for children of any age, as is the awareness and respect of a healthy set of canine teeth. Having a pet in the house is by far the best way for your child to learn about how to properly handle a dog, or other animal. Having them involved in walking, bathing, feeding or even training your dog will have immense benefits to them personally, as well as the added benefits to your dog.


1. Make sure your dog has a basic understanding of good behaviour. Brush up on his training so that he will lie quietly for short periods, won’t jump up, can walk on the lead without pulling and will come when called. This will make both your lives much easier.

2. If your dog is an “only” pet, it is quite likely he is used to being the “baby” in your family. Help him get used to being less important, by ignoring him and leaving him alone for short periods of time every day with a tasty long-lasting chew.

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3. If you are planning to keep your dog out of certain rooms or areas of the house once the baby arrives, then start doing this as soon as possible.

4. Bring new items of furniture such as playpens, carry cots and highchairs into the house, so that your dog can get used to them. Take the push chair with you on walks, so your dog gets used to it.

5. Try to teach your dog the difference between his toys and those that will belong to the baby.

6. Develop a routine that you intend to follow when the new baby arrives and stick to it, to help your dog cope with the changes in the home.

If you’d like some more advice on how to best prepare your dog for an imminent arrival, then please feel free to get in touch. We’d be more than happy to answer your questions and give you
some pointers. Drop us an email to, call 091 654 1960 or go online to



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