OK, all you excited parents and grandparents-to-be! This life change ahead of you can be exhilarating, but also a little stressful — especially for your dog. While you are busy happily preparing for your new little human family member, consider preparing your dog as well. It can be a big and confusing event for him. There are several things you can do for your canine, however, to help make this new change in the family dynamic safer and more manageable for everyone.
Here are a few tips for Baby-Training your pooch:
What you’ll need:
- An item irresistible to your dog (food, ball, toy, etc.)
- A Training Can (15 pennies in an empty soda can; sip hole taped over.)
- A 10+ foot long line or light rope
- Doggie treats
- Free phone App of baby sounds
- Receiving blankets from the hospital after baby’s delivery
- You dog in his collar
Teach “Get Back”
(Nice for preventing your dog from getting too close to a baby in your lap)
- Put the irresistible item in your lap
- When your dog comes over to investigate, quietly say “Get Back” as you sweep your training can back and forth in front of him, getting ever closer until he backs away to avoid being in the can’s path.
- Continue this practice until the dog backs away when he hears the command and sees your training can swept back and forth in front of him.
- Finally, your dog should start to respond to “Get Back” with just your sweeping hand movement (no training can.)
- Voila! Trained.
Teach “Leave It—Come”
(To get your dog to back away from the baby’s crib or playpen when you are across the room.)
- Put the long cord or light rope on your dog’s collar.
- Have several treats in your pocket
- Place the irresistible item on a chair, a blanket or table top.
- As your dog goes to investigate, say “Leave It” and pop the long line to prevent him touching the item.
- Quickly call the dog to “Come” and give him a treat for doing so.
- Very soon, you should see your dog starting to respond to just the “Leave It” command and automatically start coming to you (!)
- Side Note: The “Leave It-Come” command will work wonders for everyday distracted recalls outside as well!
Introduce General Baby Sounds
- You can find free Apps of baby sounds to download!
- Put them on your phone and let them play as you spend time with your dog.
Introduce Your New Baby’s Scent
- If time allows, bring home something like a receiving blanket or swaddling from the hospital before the baby comes home.
- Let your dog sleep with this item to instill a sense of “family” with this new scent.
- Your dog should recognize the baby’s scent when they meet for the first time.
Congratulations on your new arrival! With these simple steps, you can make it fun for your canine baby as well.
CAUTION! Never leave a baby unattended with a dog! As sweet as your dog is, he is also a predator by his DNA. I’ll leave it at that.