Looking back it seems Norman, our Miniature Schnauzer, had an idea that something was up when I was just a few months pregnant. As we began to set up the nursery, Norman would wander in there looking around. Eventually, it became a nightly routine. He would go into the baby’s room, coming right back out, and we would say: “Is there a baby in there yet?”
Norman has always been a very gentle dog. He is timid and has never shown aggression. Still, I was unsure of how he would react when we first brought our daughter home from the hospital.
For the first several months of our daughter’s life, Norman kept his distance. Now, he is warming up to her and she is learning to pet him, instead of grabbing his beard. Currently her favorite thing (and his) is when she gives him his nightly milk bone.
There is a plethora of info out there on how to introduce a new baby to a fur baby. Here are a few things that worked for us:
- Make sure the dog has an area that is only his, where the baby doesn’t go. It could be an area in the basement or even a foyer or enclosed porch. A fenced-in yard is also a great option when the weather is nice.
- Don’t ignore the dog. While a new parent’s attention will certainly center on the baby, do not forget the dog still needs affection. Some dogs act out when they suddenly have to compete for attention.
- When you first bring the newborn into the house, introduce the dog right away. Let the dog sniff around the baby carrier for a bit, but do not be pushy. Allow the dog time to adapt to having the new family member around.
- Don’t make any sudden rule changes. If the dog has always been allowed on the couch, don’t suddenly change that rule when the baby arrives. If you plan to make any major changes, begin easing the dog into them several months prior to bring the new baby home.
- Be prepared to admit defeat. If a dog is aggressive and unsafe to have around the baby, it might be time to look for a different home for Fido.
A dog and his baby sister (or brother) can live in harmony. Just make sure to give them both the love and attention they need and deserve.
By Katie Wiederholt