Dogs & Babies: How To Introduce A Furry Friend Into Your Family

Whether you’re thinking of welcoming a new baby or adopting a dog into your family, it’s best to make sure all involved are prepared for the change. Many people dream of their new child and pup — which, let’s be honest, is your fur baby — having marvellous adventures together, but introducing a new family member requires careful planning. Fortunately, with only a few simple steps, your child and dog can become the best of friends!

 

Introducing A Baby To Your Family Dog

Ideally, it’s best to ready your pooch for your new baby sooner rather than later. Starting early in your pregnancy will spare you the stress of having to juggle both the dog’s transition and your new baby’s needs at the same time.

Don’t panic that you’ve missed out on your chance to prepare your dog if your baby has already arrived. Here are a few tips to help ease the process so that your new dog reacts positively to the strange hairless puppy in the house.

If your dog doesn’t already have his or her own private corner in your home, set one up with their food and water, toys and somewhere comfortable to sleep. It’s important for them to have somewhere special to retreat to when things get too hectic or unfamiliar.

Small children can be curious and even rough with pets, so gently get your pup used to this kind of treatment, using treats as positive reinforcement. If your dog is naturally more boisterous, not responding to your efforts or has changed behaviour since you became pregnant, you may want to engage a professional trainer to help your dog adjust to changes in the family home. Your vet may be able to recommend a reputable trainer in your area.

 

Introducing A Dog To Your Young Family

Having a newborn and puppy grow up together can be wonderful, but requires careful consideration. For one thing, you don’t want to overload yourself with too many commitments — and expenses — especially if you’re a first-time parent.

Consider waiting until your child is a little older before you get a puppy, so that they will understand the appropriate behaviours and be less likely to accidentally upset the dog. Read our previous posts on bringing a new puppy home (part 1, 2 and 3) to make sure you’ve got all the basics right!

If you must have a pooch right away and you have a young child at home or a baby on the way, consider adopting an adult rescue dog. This will save you the stress of a new puppy at the same time as a new baby, and give an older dog an opportunity for a new life.

No matter the age of your new furry friend, the best way to welcome them into your family is to enter them into puppy school or obedience classes. This well set your dog up for success in their new home. You might also benefit from having a professional dog trainer come to your home to give you personalised advice to ensure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible for the whole family.