Preparing for a new baby brings joy, excitement, and nerves. So many things are happening, that we rarely think about how this life change is going to affect our first four-legged baby. New noises, baby equipment, lack of time with their trusted companion, can lead to stress for your dog. To help your dog prepare, the Austin Dog Trainer recommends the following simple tips in the months before you bring baby home.
- Learn to recognize dog body language. Before dogs bark, lunge, and/or growl, they throw out subtle signs of stress like licking their lips, yawning, pacing, panting, and shaking off. Catch these signs early so you can intervene on your dog’s behalf and take him out of stressful situations.
- Pinpoint any behavioral problems early on so you can work through these issues before you bring baby home. Does your dog bark and lunge at people? Does your dog bark at the doorbell? Is your dog scared by loud noises? Consider Austin Dog Behavior Lessons to help you.
- Refresh your dog on his manners. Take an Austin Dog Training Class before baby arrives. Having a dog that reliably responds to your cues helps them cope with new situations as well as get them out of situations that can be hard for them to handle.
- Practice their obedience cues in different baby related scenarios. Think about how you want your dog to handle himself when you are walking with your baby in a stroller or carrier or when your baby is in a swing. Practice these behaviors before baby with an empty stroller or a baby doll in a carrier or swing.
- Prepare your dog for a change in his normal routine and his environment. Walk and feed him at different times. Get him accustom to a kid-free area like a crate that he will use in the future. Instead of that being a place of isolation, create a positive association with this area early by giving him a food dispensing toy and a chew toy to keep him occupied.
Finally, join us at the Austin Dog Training Center for a one-time class, "Babies, Kids, and Dogs" presented by Austin Dog Trainer Tina, our Dogs & Storks instructor. Or consider an A La Carte class focusing on a single topic that specifically targets your training needs.