Throughout my nine months of pregnancy, I've had lots of people give me lots of tips on how to introduce a dog to a new baby. The most common tip I hear seems to revolve around bringing something baby-scented home from the hospital in advance of the little one, and letting the dogs sniff it while making it clear that it belongs to you. Assuming you're the clear leader of your pack and your dogs see you that way, that would definitely appear to be good advice. I've used a similar strategy before when introducing new fosters or visiting dogs to my two, and when it's made clear to them that the new dog is "mine" and they'll only be allowed to sniff when I say so, it seems to make initial greetings go much better.
But beyond initial greetings, I haven't had much advice on how to actually acclimate my basenji babies to day-to-day life with a human one. So of course I went in search of information on the internet, and I actually found an article on the ASPCA's website that was quite helpful: Introducing Your Dog to Your New Baby. In the article, there were a lot of great tips on how to teach the pups right away to associate the baby with good things:
"Keep a dog bed or comfy mat in the room where you usually feed the baby. When it’s time to nurse or give him a bottle, provide something tasty for your dog, too."And tips on how to prevent the dogs from feeling jealous about the new baby:
"Try to give your dog lots of attention when the baby is present. Teach her that when he’s around, she gets treats, petting, playing—and anything else she likes. When you feed the baby, you can feed your dog, too. When you walk your dog, do your best to take the baby along. (Baby “backpacks” and slings are great for dog parents.) This strategy, though it requires some skillful multitasking on your part, teaches your dog a valuable lesson. She’ll learn to love it when the baby is awake and active because that’s when good things happen for her."Hopefully I'll be able to follow these and other recommendations in the article to ensure that my two basenji babies learn to love their new human brother from the very start, so that we can avoid any problems down the road. Now if I could only figure out how to teach them how to leave the baby's toys alone, THAT would truly be a miracle!
|Reef investigates the new baby's play gym.|