Introducing your pet and your child can be a tiny bit frightening for many first time parents. Even if your children are older, you always have that worry in the back of your mind that your pet won’t like your child or vice versa. Here are a few tips to keep it smooth sailing when introducing your pet and your child! I’ve written this post with a dog in mind, but these tips will work for other types of pets too.
1. Start with Training
The key to introducing your pet and your child starts with the proper training. You must train your dog to be calm, obedient, and well behaved on command. If obedience school is an option, then give it a try! Having your pet house trained, and able to respond to and obey simple commands will make your life much easier and less stressful after bringing your new baby home.
2. Bring Home Baby’s Scent First
Dogs rely largely on their sense of smell and they can recognize and remember a host of scents! Start by getting your dog familiar with your new baby’s scent. Bring home a piece of clothing that the baby has worn or a blanket that your baby has used and let your pup sniff it. Allow him to familiarize himself with the scent so that he can remember and recognize it when the newest family member comes home.
3. Claim Your Baby’s Scent
While allowing your dog to sniff the item with your baby’s scent on it, you must also ‘claim’ your baby’s scent. This will teach the dog that the baby is yours and he doesn’t own it. Hold the item with baby’s scent out and allow your pup to sniff it from a distance. Never give it to him or drop it on the floor. Keep it with you, and only allow pup to come closer on your terms.
4. Establish Boundaries
Once you bring baby home, it’s a good idea to establish boundaries. Teach the dog that the baby’s room/stuff is off limits. Over time, you can allow the dog to come closer to the baby and come into the nursery. Establishing those boundaries right away will help immensely.
5. Don’t Neglect Your Pet
Neglecting your pet will only result in your pet acting out to get attention! Make sure you still take care of your pet's basic needs and allow some time each week to play and give attention to your pet. Go on a trip to the park together or go for a long walk. Your pet should be walked often if he/she isn’t able to get outside other than for bathroom breaks!
6. Avoid Stressing over Breed
If your dog is trained and cared for properly, breed shouldn’t be an issue. An adopted dog might be harder to trust since you don’t know the entire history of the dog’s disposition or treatment, but in general, don’t let a breed be the reason you get rid of or buy/rehome a certain dog. The disposition and personality of the animal is what counts the most!
7. Teach Your Child How to Play with Your Pet
In the same way that you should train your pet to know how to behave around a baby, you should teach your baby and children how to be gentle with your pet! Pets don’t like having their tails/ears and fur constantly pulled on. Show your kids by example how to be easy with their pets so you don’t have to worry about a pet snapping because of one tail pull too many!
8. Stress Immediate Obedience
It’s important to teach your pet immediate obedience, as well as your child! There may be cases where you need to command your pet or child to “stop right now” in order to prevent a serious injury for one of them or both of them! Immediate obedience can be taught; it just takes time and patience!
9. Cultivate a Gentle Environment
A gentle environment promotes peace. If your home is a place where living gently is a way of life, then you will be able to have better peace of mind for your pet and your child!
I hope that these ideas have given you a little peace of mind for introducing your pet and your child! Have any of our readers ever experienced bringing home a new baby from the hospital to a family pet waiting at home? Please do share your experiences below! Thanks for reading and have a fabulous day!