Bringing home a new baby is an exciting time for most parents. However, it might not be as exciting for your dog. To them, you brought home a strange sounding and smelling creature that is now taking up more of your time. But, this transition period doesn’t have to be rocky. There are some ways to help prepare your dog for his or her new family member.

• Enroll your dog in basic obedience classes. Habits they have now, such as jumping on you when you get home, may cause trouble once you have a baby. Obedience classes can help break some of these habits.

• Lessen the amount of play and attention the dog receives in the weeks leading up to the baby’s arrival. It is tempting to lavish the dog in the few weeks before the baby arrives. Doing this only to stop after the baby comes home can make things worse. This will also cause him or her to associate the lessened attention with the baby.

• Get the dog used to the baby’s smell. This includes getting them used to lotions and baby powder. Before bringing the baby home, present an article of their clothing to the dog so he or she can get used to the baby’s scent.

• Do not leave the dog alone with the baby. Even if your dog is trained, don’t leave him or her alone with the baby. You never know what the baby may do to set off the dog.

• Remember to give the dog attention in the baby’s presence. This way, they don’t begin to associate the baby’s absence with increased attention.

Getting a new baby is a special time in life. With the right planning and attention, this time can also be special for your pet.

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