Help your dog know what to expect when you are expecting

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 13, 2010

As we are entering our second trimester of pregnancy, we are starting now to prepare our pack for our upcoming arrival.

Our dogs have always been our only children, so this will be quite a shock if we do not prepare early. You should take the same care and attention when preparing your dog as you would a child to understand a new sibling.

Many times parents over look the necessary changes that will need to be made well before the baby arrives. Dogs must make some of the biggest sacrifices of everyone in the family during this time of transition.

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If you know that you will no longer allow your dog on the furniture after the baby arrives, make the change now. If you wait until the baby is home, your dog will associate not being allowed on the furniture with your new bundle of joy. This will cause resentment and that will lead to severe behavior problems.

You will also want to fine tune their obedience skills ahead of time, because once the baby arrives you will not have the extra time. If your dog has free rein of the house, educate him that he will have some new boundaries. Once you decide on a room for the baby, it is a good idea not to let them in the baby’s room alone with the baby. So you will want to train them that this room is off limits when you are not present.

Try keeping the door shut or use a baby gate to keep Fido out.

There will be some amount of jealousy no matter how much preparing you do.

With all the new noises, smells, and attention a new baby brings it is only natural for your dog to feel left out.

They will want to show dominance over the new pack member.

If you make your new baby completely off limits, the dog will try sneaky ways to see the baby. When you first come home with your baby, let your dog sniff around and get used to the new scents.

Of course, closely supervise your dogs and keep them at a safe distance.

If your dogs show any sign of aggression, immediately remove him and try the introduction at a later time. More likely than not, they will only be curious.

Before your baby comes home, let your dog explore the baby’s room. Let them sniff and check everything out. That will satisfy their curiosity and will give you time to sanitize anything the dog licks before your baby is home.

It will take a while for your dog to realize that their role and rank in the pack has changed.

If you keep your dog in the loop every step of the way, they should have no problem accepting the newest addition, but instead will want to care for and protect it.

Don’t forget to give your dog some one-on-one time.

This will help your dog to become well adjusted and accepting of the new pack member.

Remember, every dog deserves to be treated like a show dog.

Tony Barker, The BARKer Shop