Many dog owners who are about to become parents are concerned about how their four-legged friend will react to the arrival of the newborn.. Indeed, a child, with its rhythms and needs, upsets the life of the parents and consequently also that of the house dog. Furthermore, the lifestyle of the family tends to change radically and often the dog sees the time dedicated to him drastically reduced: the walks are shorter, the moments of play and interaction are reduced in frequency and duration.
Therefore, in anticipation of the birth of the newborn, it is necessary to ensure that the dog learns about children gradually and correctly, always associating them with positive experiences.
For this reason, a few weeks before giving birth, it is good to bring the pram and cradle into the house, as well as reproduce cries, screams and vocalizations of newborns, thanks to the special CDs that are available on the market..
You can create pleasant situations where you play and cuddle the dog, keeping the sounds of the children in the background (at an initially very low volume, and then gradually increasing it).
When the child arrives home, it is good not to decrease the amount of attention reserved to the dog and always reward (with caresses, prizes in food and games) the four-legged friend when he remains calm.. In this way, a positive association will be created in his mind with the image of the child.
Precisely for this purpose, we avoid punishing the dog in the presence of the child, otherwise there is a risk, on the contrary, of a negative association. In the same way, we avoid pushing away the four-legged friend when he tries to approach the child: we rather try to make the dog stay in the same room with the child, perhaps keeping him busy with some interactive games filled with food (it is a matter of toys that stimulate the mind, smell and chew). On the other hand, if the dog hides or moves away from the baby, let's not force him to be in his presence.
Of course it is always useful to supervise the interactions between dogs and children, because even the quietest four-legged friend, if excessively disturbed, could react aggressively in defense and in any case, even playing, could involuntarily harm the child. When it is not possible to supervise the interactions between dog and child it is preferable to keep them separate: for this purpose you can use small gates to divide the rooms, or you can keep the dog in another room engaging him with a game of "mental activation" (yes deals with toys that develop the ability to solve a problem). It is also good to avoid that the child touches the dog's things, such as the bowl, the kennel and the toys: for this purpose we place the kennel in a quiet area of the house and inaccessible to the child.
- animals and children
- newborn and dog