A newborn is coming. How will my dog take it?

The birth of a baby is always a great event, which can lead to several relational changes. And dogs are no exception!

Let’s see how to prepare the dog for the baby’s arrival at home, what to do and what to avoid in order not to upset his existence.


How to prepare the dog for the arrival of the newborn


Dogs and babies, in fact, can get along very well. The important thing is that a relationship is built with solid foundations and that, in the moment of socialization, no mistakes are made: “The family is a system that constantly changes”, explains Elena Garoni, veterinary expert in behavior, member of the scientific committee by Kodami.

“You change jobs, there are presences who are leaving and others who are added. The dog is a social animal that adapts to changes in the family group, just as it normally happens in nature. It has a versatility of its own that allows it to easily accept and accommodate the new elements that come to the family. There is a great deal of availability that is associated with the typical social characteristics of the dog “.


So what will he think in front of the little guy?

“Change needs energy to be addressed. It is the same for humans and it is the same for the dog. For this we must be prepared for episodes of canine stress due to a destabilization of an established previous routine. Stress that must be managed correctly, especially if the dog already has critical issues, such as not loving confusion, sudden noises, sudden movements. Often, older dogs or those who have had more or less severe trauma related to children have greater difficulty in adapting. Therefore, if we are aware that our dog does not particularly love children for various reasons, we must prevent and act well before arrival. After all, just as you prepare for the baby’s entry into the family by painting the bedroom and buying a stroller and rompers, if there is a dog you have to prepare yourself anyway “.


Dogs and babies, when to ask for professional support?

Depending on the critical issues, of course, it may also be the case to have a professional intervene.

“Yes, of course. If, for example, there are aggressive predatory behaviors towards the child, then the problem must be managed by experts such as the veterinarian or the instructor. On the contrary, if the problem is a matter of morbidity, of hyper-attachment on the part of the dog towards the mother, in this case, it can be done alone.

If it is a question of making him adapt to the fact that the time dedicated to him by the reference person will be less, you can begin to make internal separations in the house, prepare spaces for the dog only, creating a place of tranquility for him, where he feels safe and at ease “.

Equally essential is to be aware of how much the dog “tolerates” children: «There are many dogs that do not know children. In this case, together with an instructor, an approach to the little ones can be foreseen to teach, for example, not to jump on him. Or there are also practical aids, such as olfactory targets to be included in the life of the animal, always before the baby arrives, such as the blanket for him to smell. If the dog, then, should have particular phobias towards new objects, it is good practice to let him gradually approach the cradle, the high chair, the stroller so as not to let him find them all together with the child already inside”.


Do dogs feel jealousy?

Be careful not to leave them alone with the children Can the dog be jealous of the baby?

“Jealousy in dogs has not been proven, dogs cannot be said to feel jealousy. It is also true, however, that from an intuitive point of view the amount of time and attention with the arrival of another element decreases and therefore it would be appropriate to anticipate a different routine.

Mothers must get help from husbands, companions or other children, not to completely change the dog’s daily habits overnight, but rather create external “human” aids to ensure that the baby is looked after the same and she can take some space to devote herself to the dog. Especially if she was the reference human “. Finally, extremely important, never leave your dog alone with children: «Dogs are not babysitters.

No one, even if you are dealing with the best dog in the world, can predict what will happen. More at the beginning, but also later, it is always essential to monitor the coexistence between the two species. Without anxiety, but always present”.


Dogs and babies: the risks

Are there any particular dog behaviors that should really alarm us?

“The most worrying behavior towards children is when the dog shows a predatory attitude, that is when the dog seems to perceive the child as a prey. When they stare, jump, chase, this is very dangerous behavior.

If, for example, with the crying of the children, the dog becomes alert, activates, becomes aroused and begins to jump, to take the cot blanket, you have to worry. This, as well as when dogs have a high possessive action and, for example, they consider the things left around by children, and therefore when the child returns to take them back the clash arises.

Or again, when the dog rests in its kennel and the crawling child disturbs it and the dog growls. Even if it is a behavior that we can consider as normal, because for the animal that gesture is a threat, as mentioned, it is necessary to always be vigilant. And here we return to what we said at the beginning: it is essential to remember to leave space for the dog only for him where the child cannot reach. Not the other way around. The dog must be safe where he is and we adults are responsible for keeping the little ones away from the dog “


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