Being a new parent is thrilling, scary, joyous, and presents a massive change within your life. You want everything to be perfect for those tiny little fingers and toes. You paint the room, put the furniture together, bring home gifts from the shower but yet one thing weighs heavily on your mind. How will the dog react? If you’re like me, my dogs are my world, my best friends, they’re the ones I reach for when I want to hide away and cry after a rough day. Before I became a human mother, they were my one and only babies. I feared for the worst. I worried that they would become neglected, feel less loved, and possibly take that out on my new bundle of love. I can tell you this: that didn’t happen in my home. Sure, their lives changed, but for the better - I mean they even get fed by a baby who giggles when they lick his fingers. Take it from me, they’re as much in love with our son as we are! I don’t believe that there’s an exact way to introduce a baby to your furry kids because every dog is different but I can tell you what we did and hope that you can use my tips as tools to help you, your pups, and your babe adjust.
Let the Pupper Hang in the Nursery
Before babe arrives, you’ll be spending lots of time in the nursery. You’ll paint, set up decor, hang clothes, put diapers away, and maybe even find yourself rocking in the rocking chair as you hum tunes to your growing bump. I HIGHLY suggest that you allow your pup to be with you in these moments, too. If your pups are like mine, they follow me wherever I go and would struggle with not being able to understand why I would shut them out of a new space that I was spending time in. Let them become familiar with the space, just as you are. Your home is their home and to intertwine their lives with you new bundle, you need to make them feel at ease with every moment of your tiny one.
The Intro - Be Calm Yet Prepared
I suggest having someone bring items of the baby in before the babe comes inside so your pup can pick up the scent of the new bundle. Let them greet and play and be loved on, their lives are about to drastically change. You need to be precious with this moment, it is their last moment before things are rocked to the core for them. If you have multiple dogs, let them meet the baby one and a time, they deserve this intimate moment. We did one on one meetings and then one final group meeting - we actually have a video of the final group meeting on our instagram.
In these meetings, pay attention to your pup’s body language, you know them best so I am sure that you can tell when they’re becoming uncomfy or anxious. If anything alarming occurs with their body language, stand up and walk away with the baby. It may take time for your pup to happily adjust, be patient and continuous while being aware of the vibe that pup is giving off.
Be Attentive to Pupper’s Needs
It’s going to be a rough road, it won’t be easy. A loud, and needy thing will quickly be brought home...into their home and they won’t really know what’s going on and will be curious. Know when to give babe space and when to need your pup space - along with attention. We had one small instance where our one pup was showing signs of possessiveness toward our son’s things before he was even born. We considered keeping him from all things baby but then realized that while that may be a quick fix, it wasn’t productive in the long run. Instead, we told him no when he seemed to claim babe’s things and ensured that he still felt loved and important to us. We didn’t want to keep him from any of the baby things because we knew soon, our entire home would be surrounded by those things and like I said above, our home is our pups’ home and we needed to ensure that it stayed that way.
We still do have to remind the dogs to not overly love our seven month old because they’d lick him to death, if they could (and he would giggle the entire time). We also do have to tell our son “no” from time to time when his curious little hands explore their bodies. It’s a two way street, they need to respect him and he in turn needs to learn how to respect him. We keep their toys from him just as we want them to stay away from his toys. We would never allow him to “ride” them just as we would never allow them encroach into his space.
When our son was sleeping, and as EXHAUSTED as we were, we made sure to spend time with the pups, loving on them, playing with them, and sometimes just having a cuddle fest.
Let Their Days be Spent Together
I think the worst thing that you can do when the baby comes home and continues to grow is to shut the pup away from your baby. In my opinion, that will create the resentment that you fear will happen in the first place. Our pups go on walks with babe, babe goes to the vet with pups, we play outside together, and we even let them snuggle down together. We however, never let them be together alone. I don’t think for one second that our pups would hurt our son but it is better to be overly cautious. Every interaction that they have is closely monitored.
This relationship won’t happen overnight but as a dog parent and a human parent, it’s up to you to help foster that. It is possible to love your pups and babe - I’ve heard MANY horror stories about how dogs are rehomed or crated all day because parents don’t have time for the dog anymore. The thing is, you make time. Your the most important thing in your dog’s world and if you do it right, you can introduce a new best friend to your pup - someone extra for them to love!
Just One More Thing
If you’re looking for something to provide your newborn even more comfort, we suggest checking out Happy Little Camper diapers and wipes. Their products are pure cotton - think of clouds on your baby’s buns and totally chemical free. This spiked our dog-friendly home interest because we have a dog that suffers with severe allergies and knowing that we were able to bring a new thing into our home that won’t mess with our pup allowed us to easily fall in love with Happy Little Camper. Check them out, give them a try - they have a cost-effective trial pack, no commitment required! Tell them that Pack of Jacks sent you!
Pups and Kisses,
Chelle + Clint