Bringing home your new baby should be one of the most joyous days of your life but for many who owned a dog before the baby was born it can be an anxious and stressful time (scroll down for tips).

Parenting on Female First

Parenting on Female First

Worrying about how your dog will react to a new baby in the house is extremely common and it certainly pays to plan beforehand, says the UK Registry of Canine Behaviourists (UKRCB).

Lisa Graham, Press Officer for the UKRCB, says: "Your dog needs programming to accept a new baby into the house. Remember, up until now, your dog has had a major share in the focus of your attention.

“You need to plan in advance before the baby comes home to help the dog over this transition period and to accept the new baby as part of what the dog perceives as the pack.”

Many childless dog owners have treated their pet as a child and the dog has understandably grown accustomed to this level of attention.

Disruptions in a dog’s routine after the baby is brought home is a potential source of conflict as dogs like and find comfort in routines. Since they cannot understand why changes in their routines occur, many may find such changes stressful.

A dog who had never heard a baby cry, smelled a baby or seen a baby move may well wonder what it is. A crying, squirming baby may remind a dog of a small animal in distress.

Some tips to help your dog adjust:

1. Before the baby arrives, carry a doll around the house so the time spent with the doll and away from the dog eventually become part of the dog’s routine.

2. Play a tape of babies crying to get the dog used to the high pitched squeal of newborns.

3. Borrow a pushchair to get your dog used to walking next to one. Some dogs panic if they have to walk close to wheels.

4. Bring home in advance the baby’s cap from the hospital to get the dog used to the baby’s smell.

5. Be sure your dog gets quality time from you after the baby has arrived. Praising the dog lavishly and often when the dog is in the presence of the baby should help with jealously of the attention the baby is getting.

6. NEVER, ever, leave a dog and baby alone unsupervised.

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