If you’ve had a puppy for sometime now, then you probably realize just how much he loves being the center of attention. Unfortunately, when a family suddenly gives birth to a new baby, this may create a problem of jealousy with your puppy. Your dog may display bad behavior such as barking, pawing, as well as destructive tendencies towards household belongings.
To help prepare for this scenario, the following steps will help you avoid potential problems when faced with a jealous puppy and a newborn baby:
1. When you bring home a new baby, you need to have the dog used to having the baby around, so that he does not mistake it for a toy. You can start preparing ahead of time before your baby is born by going through your daily routine with a toy doll. Take time each day to pretend to change the doll’s diaper as if it were a real baby so that you can practice teaching your dog commands in front of the “baby” such as sit and stay. Also, place the doll lying down as if you were going to give it a nap each day (like you will have your baby do) and allow your dog to be in the same room, but make sure he obeys you and stays away.
2. Get your puppy used to being around toddlers and children by taking him to a playground or other public area that has children visiting often. Be sure to keep him on a leash, but allow enough room to walk around, at least 6 feet. Kindly let the other children pet your dog slowly so that he can understand that the kids are friendly. This will help to reduce any tension or aggression your puppy might feel when you bring home the baby.
3. If you are making an attempt to socialize your puppy with small children as suggested in step two above, but he is showing aggression, then you should contact a professional who specializes in dog behavior. Some dogs may need a some specialized dog training techniques to relieve this tension that is caused by young toddlers and children.
4. Several weeks before the baby is due, prepare the baby’s room with all of the baby furniture and accessories that will remain in the house, especially the baby’s crib. Allow your puppy to be in and out of the room under your supervision and be sure that he sniffs all of the items that you are bringing into the house for the baby. Watch him closely as he sniffs at the crib. Should the puppy try to paw at the crib then be sure to say “NO!” and teach them to back away and respect your command.