You’re headed home from the hospital with your baby, when you suddenly feel this pang of anxiety about introducing your baby to your dog.
- Will they get along?
- Will your dog accept the baby as part of the family?
- Will your dog be jealous of the new addition?
These are all valid feelings for this life changing time in yours, and your dog’s life. When I found out I was pregnant I was instantly worried about how my dog would react to having a new human brother.
My dog Cletus naturally seemed drawn to my growing belly, always resting his head on or near my baby bump. I figured this must be a good sign.
As the time grew near we decided it would be better to have all the new baby gear out for him to adjust to. We put out the playpen, set up the nursery and had everything situated for Cletus so that he had time to adjust to all the new items that come along with having a baby in the house.
I also bought a few special baby blankets so that my husband could bring home our babies scent to introduce to Cletus before we even left the hospital. When my son Carter arrived, I wrapped him in one of the special blankets I had purchased, and that night when my husband went home to tend to Cletus he brought that blanket and placed it in Cletus’ crate where he loves to hang out. Each time my husband returned home from the hospital, he brought Cletus a new special blanket covered in Carters scent. When the time came to leave the hospital and bring Carter home, we decided on a short introduction where Cletus would be allowed to smell Carter while he was in his car seat and not be forced to interact further.
The next day we allowed Cletus to smell baby Carter while he was out of the carseat, I read his signals and we went slow allowing short positive periods of time together. If Cletus was doing well we would allow him to see and smell the baby more and more, and eventually he was resting his head in my lap right beside little Carter.
We followed Cletus’ body language and energy level and made sure that his introduction to Carter was slow and and always supervised. A baby should never be left alone with a dog no matter how friendly the dog. This slow and steady introduction really helped my dog be able to adjust to our baby, and accept him as his little brother. Each situation is different and every dog is different, hopefully my experience can help you on your journey with bringing home your new bundle of joy.