Your dog has been the center of your world so you need to teach him that being away from you is a good thing before the baby arrives. It is tough after a long day and everyone believes that they will still give the exact same amount of attention to their four-legged child but you need to start giving him some time each evening to get used to losing part of your attention, it will happen. By pairing more alone time with something amazing, it will help your dog better adjust and create positive associations when you are tending to a newborn.
Send your furry friend to another with gate between you or in his crate, he should not be able to get to you but can absolutely be allowed to look and see you. Give him a Kong filled with his food and corked with peanut butter or cheese. Stand near him and if he is focused on the Kong, antler or himalayan chew; slowly go into the other room without saying anything to him. You want him completely focused on the Kong and not you, if he stops eating or races to the gate, don’t go as far next time. Sit down for a minute and then go back. Pick up the Kong and let him out but do not give him a ton of attention. You want to create excitement and anticipation to be AWAY from you.
Once you start to see him get excited to go to that other room, make sure you only give him a Kong when he is being good (no jumping or whining). If your dog is not super pumped about going into the room, you will need to revise what you give him, every dog has their price and some pups LOVE peanut butter so it would be just fine, others kinda like peanut butter so it would not be a good choice. Make it more realistic by getting a toy baby and carrying it around (not bad practice for you either), reward for any behavior you’d like to see again. And, we always recommend mom and dad coming in to greet the dog the first time without the baby. Your pup will be SO. EXCITED. to see you, and if he’s squealing and flailing about while you hold the baby, it’s not safe for the newborn and their relationship starts off in a funky place. You don’t want your dog thinking the baby is the one that made you all of sudden start shouting, “No! Bad dog! No!” all the time.
If your dog is super excited around kids, your role before your new bundle of joy arrives is to teach your pogo-stick pooch to more naturally relax. Put in the work now on your obedience and important cues, like “bed”, “stay” and “wait” before you are juggling dog walking and baby duties. And, just because your dog tries to protect your infant does not mean he LOVES your child, as difficult as that might be to understand. Dog bites so frequently happen in the toddler stage so please, if your dog has ever shown discomfort or stress around yours or any child, your dog needs his very own space so tiny hands don’t grab fur or poke through a gate and cause a terrible situation for everyone. For more information on how to train your dog to love your new baby, check out our in-home consultations. If your dog has never been around children or dislikes kids, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a session.