Fur babies meet real babies: A complete guide for pet parents

Are you expecting a baby soon and are worried about how would your furry baby interact with the little human? Don’t fret! Here’s a complete guide to help you with the process.

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Is training an important factor? Can I just choose not to let them interact? Will my pet feel ignored when the baby arrives? These are some common questions I’ve heard from couples as a professional dog trainer. Dogs and babies are two sources of joy but if we are unprepared, it can become a stressful situation.

Let’s go through a few things you can do if you’re expecting or planning to have a baby, for the happy coexistence of both your furry and human baby!

Starting early is key

They say ‘first impression is the last impression’. This stands true even for newborns. Start training your pet to be calm, so that when you introduce your pooch and baby, they have a lovely first interaction. Start early so you have enough time to train your pet as this will increase your chances of success.

Rooting for a routine

Make a routine and stick to it strongly. Keep in mind the time that you would need to dedicate to your baby, and fix your pet’s meals, walks, and play times around that. This will prevent your schedules from interfering. Dogs and babies enjoy structure and thrive on routine, they are calmer when they know what to expect. Repeat the routine until it becomes a habit for your pet and your baby.

Inch towards independence

Creating space in your homes which are for your pet exclusively. In case, when things get overwhelming after the baby comes, your pet can retreat to this space. This should be practiced even before the baby comes. Give him some interactive toys, chews, and puzzles to focus his energy. Encourage your pet to sleep in that place on his own and or take naps to increase familiarity.

Prepping canines for tiny humans

A newborn and baby equipment comes with a lot of new sounds and changes in your home. Setting it up during your second trimester can help socialise your pet to those objects. Bring baby clothes, toys, or even strollers into the house to help your pet realize that a new member will soon be welcomed in the family.

Grow your pack with maternity photoshoot

Photography is a great way of capturing and saving memories forever. By adding sit, down and stay cues in your training, you can get your pet to join your maternity shoot. These precious moments will always bring a smile to your face. And it is no surprise that this can be achieved through training.

In the picture, you can see Jisha, Alistair, and Dexter posing for a precious family photo. You might wonder how an adult Rottweiler can be so friendly. The thing is we started training him as early as when he was 45 days old and worked towards these goals. That includes coming to a photo studio on a hot afternoon and cooperating with everyone to make some memories.

Paws in Motion

Dogs need mental, physical, and emotional stimulation daily. If ignored it all piles up and leads to making him restless. Constructive walks, and physical training for 30-40 days would be enough. Find a daily trail to follow and take your pooch for a long walk to destress and get those steps in.

All hail – hygiene

Maintaining your pet’s hygiene is of utmost importance. Take care of his daily grooming and brush him daily for at least 10 minutes. Keep him and his bedding clean to ensure there is least risk of infections. Dirty dogs cannot meet infants, so start prepping for a clean-up.

It is new for your pet to go through this feeling, so make sure you take it slow and give him time to adjust. With love, affection, and some discipline things will surely fall into place!

(Arpana Keturah – Canine coach at K9 Inc. Dog training, Bengaluru)

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