It is a very good idea to think about introducing your dog to your baby and to commence preparations so that the experience can be as enjoyable as possible for all involved.
Most dogs happily welcome new additions to the family but precautions must nevertheless be taken to ensure that the introduction goes as smoothly as possible. Start by ensuring that your dog is well trained (ie. will sit, stay, lie and come on command). You may wish to take your dog to training and socialising classes to learn the best way to train your dog. It is vital that your dog consistently responds to all cues for desired behaviour. Several websites suggest that in the last few months of your pregnancy, you carry a doll around the house so your dog can get used to the idea of sharing your attention.
When you first bring your baby home try not to upset your dog’s routine too much. Continue to greet your pet and reward them for their good behaviour. You may wish to save their favourite toys for the day you bring your baby home as a way of distracting them. Allow the excitement of your new arrival to quieten down before gradually introducing them to one another. Always make sure your dog is being well behaved (ie sitting and staying rather than jumping up and pawing) during introductions and remember to reward them for good behaviour. It is a good idea to try and involve both your baby and dog in fun activities such as walks so your pet relates your baby to positive experiences. Introducing your dog to your new baby will be a gradual process requiring patience and consistency but it will be well worth it. Remember, NEVER LEAVE YOUR BABY AND DOG TOGETHER UNSUPERVISED, even if you trust your dog. As your child grows up you will have to continue to supervise interactions with your dog since many attacks occur against children that do not realise that they are irritating or threatening animals.
It is a good idea to contact Kidsafe to find out their recommendations:
Kidsafe NSW Inc
c/ Children’s Hospital at Westmead
Locked Bag 4001
Ph: (02) 9845 0890
Fax: (02) 9845 0895
Electronic mail: firstname.lastname@example.org