Dog. Man and woman’s best friend. Your slobbery ride or die. But what happens when your current BFF has to make way for baby? That’s right, your newborn is coming to town and when dog and baby meet, the shift in your family dynamic may change. So, how can you best prepare Fido and familia for this HUGE transition?
About two years ago, I was just like you.
My miniature schnauzer, Luke, and I had been through it all- undergraduate and graduate school, the start of my career, the introduction and marriage to my husband, and way too many moves to count. He was my one and only child for 9 years!
I always describe him as a special kind of dog. Rescued at 9 months old, this puppy was afraid of his own shadow. Through lots of training, love, and patience, he has become a little less anxious and a lot more social, but still hides under beds when company arrives.
So, when we found out we were having a baby a couple of years ago, I had no idea how Luke would react to a tiny little human who would cry, poop, drool, and eventually take over every nook of the entire house.
I wanted to make this change as smooth as possible for him, as well as myself and our new addition. After the introduction of many tactics, our dog and baby not only coexist with one another, they have developed a true friendship. Heart melting.
Of course, we also had to think past the initial meet and greet with dog and baby to ensure we maintained a happy household. As a result, I want to point out various products and services that can help families find a harmonious balance as both dog and baby will have needs that must be met.
Below is a list of tips, tricks, and products that you can use with your dog in order to maintain a smooth transition from fur mom to real-time mom (pun intended!).
Just like you have time to warm up to the idea of a new addition, your pup needs times to get used to the idea as well. Here are a couple things you can do to prepare him for the hurricane that is your newborn baby!
Cry of the Wild
Newborn cries are gnarly. Shrill, loud, and happens often during those first months of life.
You know who’s not going to like it?—your dog! The pitch can be upsetting for them, especially if they tend to be an anxious pup.
Months before baby arrives, find YouTube videos of newborn cries and give your dog a listen. These sounds will not be exactly like the real thing but will help introduce them to the sounds that lie in their future.
Maybe you’ve noticed your dog acting differently since you’ve become pregnant? I know ours did. Dogs don’t really like change all that much, and he knew something was up, especially when we started to piece together our future baby nursery.
Take the time to show your dog the nursery and include him/her in the changes you’re making. Start with them on a leash to restrict their freedom and loosen the reins as you see fit. Let them sniff around and hang out in there, but only when you’re present. Give them boundaries if needed. Eliminate the mystery, but make sure they know you are the boss of that room, not them!
Bringing Baby Home
Baby is finally here! So fun and exciting, but we can’t forget Fido. Find out what you can do to help him with his official introduction to your newborn.
The Scent of Baby
So baby has arrived, and more than likely you are spending a couple days at a hospital or birthing center. While there, have someone bring by blankets and/or clothing with your newborn’s scent. This way, your dog can be introduced to the smell and have some time to get used to it prior to baby being brought home.
It will be a great way to familiarize him with your baby’s scent, so they aren’t a complete stranger!
Figure Out Who Dog Prefers
This next part may be tough to figure out, but vital to bringing baby home. Whoever your dog prefers, make sure to have them come into the house first to greet your dog before baby enters.
Sniff it Out
Depending on your level of trust with your dog, let him give baby a sniff (and after being greeted by the person they prefer). This is your dog’s time to connect the smells he was introduced to before, with the little person that’s actually in front of him– living and breathing!
It’s probably a good idea to have him/her on a leash in order to assert as much control over the situation as possible. Speak sweetly to make everyone comfortable.
Just the Family
Try to make time for just the family to bond. Although we had our parents in town helping us, we had them out of the house often to make it “business as usual” (as much as we could) with baby aboard. It will be a little less freaky for your dog.
Life With Dog and Baby
There are several products and services you may want to consider before and after baby, so you can be proactive in making this transition easy for everyone. The following are items I would suggest to make new mom life easier for you, baby, and dog.
Nothing is worse than a baby that’s taking a nap and a dog that barks. Nothing. Get an anti-bark device now and use it to train your dog prior to baby’s arrival. If baby is already here, it’s definitely not too late.
We use a machine that emits a noise only our dog can hear, each time he barks. It works perfectly at keeping our dog quiet and is easy to pack in a bag for travel.
Just like babies, all dogs are different! You may have to buy a citronella collar or a similar device to use on your dog.
Here’s the one we purchased.
Of course, as quiet as you make your house, you never know what kind of noise may wake baby. Don’t forget to buy a white noise machine to help drown out sounds and positively transition your baby from life outside the womb.
We love our Munchkin White Noise Machine as it works well and has a little blue light that helps for middle of the night diaper changes. A noise machine is beneficial for both dog and baby, as baby gets more ZZZs and you won’t be mad at your dog for waking baby up!
For more information on baby sleep products we recommend, visit our post here.
Once again, when baby’s napping, you’re very entuned to the littlest noise, living in a constant fear that they may wake up! Breathing even seems loud.
You know what else we realized was super noisy after our child arrived– dog collars!
If you cosleep like we did for several months, that dog collar and tag can sound similar to jets flying by in the sky. Our dog shaking himself, scratching himself, hell, just literally any movement seemed so incredibly loud and led to terrible nights of sleep for everyone.
Clinky, Clanky, Clinky Clanky… like nails on a chalkboard to me now!
Rather than go the route of no collar (in case your dog got out of the house!) see if these cool collars work for your family. They can be personalized however you would like, but the necessary information for returning your dog in case they got loose can be printed directly on the collar. No loud tag necessary!
You may need to crate your dog sometimes. As I mentioned before, (as recommended by the AAP) we coslept, and our room seemed like a full house each night. We didn’t want our dog to roam around and possibly wake-up anyone, as sleeping hours (more like minutes) were few and far between.
Lots of crates are made of metal, and not conducive to a quiet room. Not to mention, they kind of look like a jail!
We purchased this crate, and LOVE it. It’s way more cozy for our dog and a lot less noisy. It even comes with a soft pad with a cover you can zip off when you want to wash it.
Going on walks for fresh air with your baby is important for the both of you, but you know who also needs a stroll around the block? Your furry friend.
The Toogli Hook has been an awesome stroller accessory for both shopping and walking our dog. I just clip his leash to the hook that secured on the handlebars of my stroller, so I don’t have to worry about wrangling him and the stroller at the same time.
Who wouldn’t want to make walking your dog, baby, and yourself easier?
For our other favorite on-the-go stroller accessories, check out our list here!
Mobile Pet Grooming Services
How much do you hate taking your dog to the groomer? I feel like I miss an entire day, waiting on pins and needles for them to call me to say he’s all set.
Well, after baby, my hatred for heading to the dog groomer’s turned to straight-up loathing. I really despise being on someone else’s schedule, since now I’m always on baby’s schedule!
One of the best services I ever started to use was a mobile pet groomer! So millennial, I know, but for a slightly extra charge, I don’t have to leave my home with dog and baby in tow, juggling each as we head inside the groomers, or dedicate an entire Saturday to getting my dog washed.
Total modern mom style!
We use Aussie Pet Groomer, but there are many different kinds available. Check out Yelp reviews prior to hiring, to see what others have to say about the service before making your choice.
Hire an Expert
As I said previously, all dogs are different, and you know yours best. If you feel a third party should be involved in helping with dog training and socialization, please hire an expert. There are tons of options available. Although they can be a little costly, no price is worth the risk of your child’s happiness.
Dog and Baby In a Nutshell
Making the change from being a dog mom to a baby mom takes some finessing. Dog and baby living together in a happy and harmonious household is always the desired goal, but if they became BFFLs wouldn’t that be even better?!
Working together with your dog to ease into the idea of a newborn and preparing yourself with the proper products can definitely create a long-lasting friendship between these two members of your family.
Is there anything we missed? Comment below with some added tips, tricks, and accessories that help with this transition.