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I am going to be a mother and I have a dog. How do I get my dog to accept my baby?

For a few years we have been hearing the term multispecies family . This concept refers to a diverse family, which includes not only the humans that make it up, but also their pets. 

Companion animals ceased to be considered “things” to be considered beings endowed with feeling. This fact recognized their value as members of the family and  expanded their rights. For example, the concept of joint custody for pets appeared, something that until then was only contemplated in the case of children. 

The life expectancy of dogs and cats today has increased thanks to the veterinary care and good nutrition we provide them. 

In an average time of life of a dog, which ranges between 10-17  years, anything can happen. Changes of house or moves, new relationships, commitments and also an increase in the family.

increased stress

  • By emotional contagion of our own nerves : When a baby is on the way, we start a countdown to prepare for its arrival in the best possible way. This period of nerves is easily absorbed by our dog, who not only watches and listens to us but also smells our state of stress . 
  • Due to the appearance of new elements : A lot of new elements for the dog, such as his crib, cart, changing table, diapers, etc. they come home Our dog sees their space invaded with elements that they are not used to. Not only visually, but also olfactory. Some dogs may urine mark the presence of new scents and objects.
  • Due to a neglect of their needs, schedules and changes in routine: The lack of time during the time of pregnancy or in the days of delivery, can cause us to neglect the schedules and routines of our dog, so that it remains altered and full of stress.

jealousy appears

That dogs feel emotions similar to ours is something we know.

Among these emotions , dogs can feel jealous, and jealousy can lead to behavioral problems and difficulties in coexistence.

  • Marking to attract attention: your dog could start urinating in the house when he did not do it before. This could be due to the change, as we have mentioned when talking about stress,  but also a behavior generated to get your attention.
  • Changes in behavior: changes in behavior due to jealousy can be very varied. Since your dog approaches you, gets in the way when you interact with the baby constantly, or on the contrary, moves away from you. Destructive, anxious or even aggressive behaviors could also appear.

Don’t neglect the dog

You must ensure that your dog maintains its routines. Especially when it comes to walks and food. 

Whether you’re busy preparing for the baby’s arrival, or when you’re away from the hospital. 

Getting used to changes beforehand

Take time for your dog to get used to the new baby accessories. Stroller, furniture and other accessories. 

The noises of children crying and babbling are also a point to work on. You can find audios of children crying on the internet, and use them as a soundtrack while your dog eats with enough time before the arrival of the real “noise bag”.

Create a positive association with the presence of the baby

It is important that you know your dog to individualize at the time of the presentation with the baby. 

In general, try to be natural, be calm and be inclusive with your dog when you introduce the new member of the family. Something important is never to scold the dog in the presence of the baby. Be for whatever reason. 

Dogs are extremely good at making associations and scolding with the baby present could end up with a negative association between our anger and the presence of the little one.

Understand that everything changes as the baby grows

It is important to be aware that in the eyes of a dog, a newborn baby who only makes noises, eats and cries is not the same as a two-year-old child who chases him and throws things. Children go through different stages in their development, which pose new challenges for living with the dog. To avoid problems, we must consider for example:

  • Educate the child: As important as educating the dog. Children tend to explore the objects that are around them, and your dog could be one of them. Take time to show him the limits that he should not cross in his relationship with the dog, such as invading his space, disturbing him while he rests, or touching him while he eats.  Teach him to respect him and play with him appropriately. These actions will promote good understanding between both and peaceful coexistence.
  • Never neglect supervision: Under no circumstances leave a dog and a child unattended. Although everything seems to be going wonderfully between the two of you, you just have to look away for a second for him to hook up. 

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