Dogs and Babies – When Two Worlds Collide – Coping With The Transition

dogs and babies: they are sure to make the cutest photos when they are together. But when dogs and babies meet, things aren’t as simple as you might expect…

here’s a scenario that used to make me sweat in my early years as a dog trainer: “we’re about to have a baby – do you have any tips for introducing our dog to the baby? what do we do if the dog and the new baby don’t get along? here is the problem i had back then. When it came to questions about dogs and babies, I didn’t have a lot of experience or research to rely on.

Reading: When dogs and babies collide

But things have changed. I now have a son of my own, along with two German Shepherds. Plus, there’s a lot more research on dog-baby interactions. I wanted to take the time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about dogs and newborn babies.

Is your dog safe around your baby ? - Advice on dog behaviour from The Labrador Site.Dogs and Babies

If you’re starting to worry about what might happen to your dog when you introduce a new member of the family, you’re already doing a great job as a parent-to-be. the news tends to scare parents with headlines about a child being mauled by dogs or a baby injured by the family pet. it’s a horrible scenario none of us expect to find ourselves in.

Unfortunately, alarmist news reports can distort reality, so let’s look at the statistics to get a clearer picture of the dangers of bringing a child into a home with dogs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dog bites requiring medical treatment in infants could be as low as 0.04%. That said, dog bites were the second most cited reason for emergency room visits among children, as reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The age group most often the victim of dog bites: children ages 5 to 9.

So yes, this is a serious situation to watch out for, and you should continue to monitor the relationship between your pet and child for years to come.

does that mean dogs and babies can’t grow up happily together?

absolutely not. Dogs bring immense joy to our lives, don’t they?

babies are not exempt from experiencing that joy. in fact, babies can quickly fall in love with their furry family members. at the age of 1 year, a study confirmed that older babies showed a greater preference for a live dog than a mechanical dog. Babies in this same study also liked dogs better than cats! take all necessary precautions to avoid bad interactions between your dog and your new baby.

the phases of preparation for dogs and babies

There are three phases to consider:

phase 1: preparing a dog for a baby months before the baby is born.

phase 2: introduce the dog to the baby.

Phase 3: Teach your growing child how to treat the dog.

how to prepare a dog for the baby

train your dog well before the baby arrives. You can find several basic dog training guides here to get you started. provide a comfortable resting place (such as a crate or a bed in another room) where your dog can go to get away from the baby

desensitize your dog to being touched all over his body with varying degrees of pressure and noise levels. desensitize your dog to interactions while he’s eating, even if someone touches his food. caress her while she eats or take away her food bowl. Introduce your dog to the strange new sights, smells, and sounds that come with a new baby. let her see and smell some of the baby’s new clothes, toys, lotions, and various feeding devices.

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Leave a few items around the house and set up new furniture and toys several weeks in advance so your dog gets used to it. Gradually introduce periods of ignoring your dog while paying more attention to a baby doll, another pet, or a friend’s child you could care for. You’ll feel silly walking around your house with a doll while the dog jogs and pets your ankles, but it will help you get an idea of ​​how he’ll react to a real child.

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Take your dog to places where children play, such as a playground, school, or a friend’s house with children. the variety of noises, movements, and behaviors that come from children are unique to the dog.

dogs and babies

introducing the dog to a baby

After the baby is born, have a partner bring home a blanket that the newborn has been wrapped in and leave it for your dog to sniff. i will never forget the picture my mom brought to the hospital of my dog ​​lily lying on the baby’s birth blanket. my mom said “she only sniffed it once, she snuggled up on it and hasn’t left it since.” it was like it was already a familiar scent that lily was excited to finally snuggle up with.

When you bring your new bundle home, take some time to sit on the floor at eye level with your dog while holding the baby. (have a partner available to intercede if there is a problem).

dog meets baby for the first time

The key is to formally introduce the dog to a baby. don’t be scared or too nervous. her dog might react to her behavior accordingly. With every sniff or lick your dog offers the baby, praise him calmly. after a minute or two, get up and hand the baby over to your partner so you can really praise and snuggle your dog.

Repeat these little mini-introductions several times during the first few days so that your dog begins to associate the presence of the baby with calm and happiness.

do not yell or punish your dog near the baby

It’s important that your dog doesn’t think that every time you have him play with the baby, he’s going to be yelled at. Therefore, if your dog just can’t handle calm interactions with the baby or if the dog’s owner ignores him, he should put his dog in a separate spot while he feeds or plays with the baby.

never leave your dog and your baby alone.

No matter how well-trained or generally happy your dog is, it’s not okay to tempt fate. I cringe when I see photos of children lying on their dogs or carrying them under one arm. parents might say, “Fifi will put up with anything with those kids.” things can change in a heartbeat. tolerance can only last so long before a dog playing with the baby snaps.

teaching children to treat dogs

We take our furry friends for granted and forget that there are certain canine behaviors that just don’t go hand in hand with human play. phase 3 of having dogs and children living together is teaching your children how to treat dogs. make sure they know not to play with Fido when he’s eating, not to take a toy out of his mouth or pull on his tail and ears.

Did you know that kids don’t have full control of their grip either? most zoos require children to pet demonstration animals with two fingers extended, rubbing the animal’s back. When young children pet animals with an open hand, there is a chance that they will inadvertently grab or pinch the animal.

A surprised or injured animal is an animal that will potentially bite. This also applies to your family pets, so teach your children how to properly pet their pets calmly and gently. now let’s look at some additional frequently asked questions about dogs and babies

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signs that the dog is jealous of the baby

If your dog starts behaving differently, or worse, aggressively, after changes in the house, you might think these are signs that the dog is jealous of the baby. Now that your dog’s home life has completely changed, keep an eye out for problem dog behavior with a new baby, such as if your dog:

● stops eating or only eats when no one is around ● sneaks out of the room whenever your child comes in ● growls or yells at your child

Is my dog ​​jealous of my baby?

Hard to say exactly, but the most important FAQ is:

what to do if my dog ​​growls at the baby?

Dogs often give many cues that they are uncomfortable: downturned ears, averting or moving their eyes, panting, trying to physically move away, curling their lips, and growling. As soon as you see any of these warning signs from your dog that he’s getting uncomfortable, separate the dog and the baby.

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Your job as a parent is to always pay attention to your dog’s mood. you must learn to interrupt before the dog growls. take the baby out of the room or ask your dog to go to his quiet place.

Once your child is old enough, it’s important to tell them when it’s time to walk away from the rover. Rover doesn’t always have to be the one to get rid of, and your child needs to learn when to leave an animal alone. It’s always a good idea to consult a veterinarian, certified dog behaviorist, and/or certified trainer if your dog begins to show signs of aggression.

what about my newborn baby and dog hair?

Is dog hair bad for babies? There is no single answer to this question. but there is some really interesting research worth considering. evidence suggests that having dogs around babies might boost their overall immune system.

a study reviewed by the journal of pediatrics revealed that children exposed to dogs weekly during the first year of their life had fewer respiratory and ear infections than those who were not. another study showed that children with dogs as pets in the home also had fewer colds.

However, there are hereditary diseases such as allergies or asthma that are significantly worsened in children when they are exposed to dog hair or dander. It’s important to note that the study looked specifically at children who were raised with dogs during the first year of their lives, without adding a dog later.

what about big dogs and babies?

Large dogs may get a bad rap for being more dangerous around babies than smaller breeds, but let’s take a look at the cdc stats. Dog bites are just as common among small breeds as they are among large ones. Dachshunds, West Highland Terriers, and Cocker Spaniels top the list of offenders along with Labradors, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Pit Bulls.

You should be aware that a larger dog can potentially cause more physical harm just because of its size. but you should also keep in mind that a small dog like a Pomeranian has its mouth right at the eye level of a small child, so your first hit could do significant damage to the child’s face.

Are certain breeds of dogs good with babies?

Have you seen those heartwarming videos online of dogs taking care of babies or a dog taking care of a baby? Wondering if there are certain dogs that are naturally better with children? my husband grew up with a large newfoundland, a breed known as “nature’s nannies” for being incredibly gentle and protective of children.

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On the other hand, my parents got sideways glances from people when they said they were raising Dalmatians in the house with the five of us. Apparently, Dalmatians have long had a bad reputation for being aggressive towards children. my parents never had any problems and, in fact, they had many stories of how the dogs got between us, the children, and the visitors to our house.

My two-year-old son was brought into a home with two German Shepherds. lily, my older dog, had to be separated from him regularly. she never properly socialized with children and quickly became uncomfortable with a screeching toddler. she may have been one of the best-trained dogs in town, but even she would take a bite out of a child.

on the other hand, our youngest german shepherd, luca, had a lot of socialization coming with me to work for years before our son came on the scene. he enjoys our little boy, and is one of those dogs that shows no sign of stress when my little one inadvertently gets a handful of tail hair on his sticky fingers (before he gets a hold of it, even the fussiest of parents attentive may not be there 24/7 to prevent accidents, can we?)

Everyone has a story about their perfect childhood dog, but the truth is, there is no scientifically backed breed choice for baby-friendly dogs. the best dogs around babies are those that are well-trained, calm, and well-socialized.

what about the dog sleeping with the baby?

dogs and babies sharing a bed is a strict no from me. do we need to refer back to dog bite statistics regarding the occurrence of bites when children were unsupervised? the number of bites that happen with family pets? Not to mention the possibility of a large dog with long fur inadvertently rolling over and choking or suffocating a sleeping child. Personally, I can’t even trust myself not to punch my husband in the face in the middle of a dream, so don’t take chances with a dog sleeping with a baby.

dog and baby safety

Let’s be optimistic that if you follow the precautions for dogs meeting babies outlined in the article, you’ll have no problem bringing the baby home with the dog. Unfortunately, every dog, child, and home is different. it is important that you try these various tips, as well as stay informed and get help when you need it. there is no substitute for professional help, and there is no substitute for the safety of dogs and babies.

liz london is a certified dog trainer through the certification council for professional dog trainers (cpdt-ka) & The Karen Pryor Academy (Dog Trainer Foundations Certification) with regular continuing education courses from top animal trainers from around the world, including Michele Pouliot, Director of Training for Guide Dogs for the Blind. she has trained zoo animals, search & she rescued canines, hunting dogs, and helped people raise happy, healthy, well-behaved canine companions for over ten years.

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  • incidence of dog bite injuries treated in emergency departments. never. 1998
  • Reactions of infants and young children to live and toy animals. psychological reports. 1987.
  • Respiratory tract diseases during the first year of life: effect of contacts between dogs and cats. pediatrics. 2012.
  • Factors associated with acute respiratory illnesses in daycare children. scan j infect dis. 2010
  • Development of motor planning throughout the ages. journal of experimental child psychology. 2010
  • cdc childhood injury report: patterns of unintentional injuries among children ages 0-19 in the united states, 2000 – 2006. centers for disease control and prevention. 2008.

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